From the “doesn’t just saying it make it true?” department:
I was reading the March 2008 issue of Maximum PC (I love my Maximum PC), and while I like the real dirt and the attitude, I just don’t understand the extent of their hatred of UAC. Their Editor in Chief writes, “UAC is the worst feature ever. In fact, it’s so annoying that most users turn it off after mere moments.” (p.94)
Now, I’m a huge fan of running as a standard user. I ran as a standard user on Windows XP (which I could never have done without MakeMeAdmin). UAC makes that easier. For those who want to run as admin, yeah – you give something up. You are no longer an admin all the time. Well, let me correct that. You are still an admin on your computer. It’s just that your word processor isn’t an admin on your computer. Your web browser isn’t an admin on your computer. Every web site on the planet isn’t an admin on your computer. And so forth. And I would assert that this is good. So clearly, I don’t go into this with the same attitude towards the feature.
But it doesn’t matter. This is an assertion of fact, so why don’t we look at the real data?
We looked at data from 9 million user sessions. We stripped out all data from computers joined to a Microsoft domain, and non-RTM builds. (Us ‘Softies are a wacky bunch.) And we looked at the results. This is from the October – December 2007 data collection period.
What did we find?
UAC is enabled on 88% of consumer sessions. And that number is increasing, up from 84%.
What else did we find? Well, I didn’t get permission to share all that, so I’ll talk in vague generalities. 🙂 We’re looking at which applications are prompting the most frequently, and seeing what we can do to fix that. (We have more than our fair share, trust me.) But this is definitely a “long tail” problem. I spend a significant portion of my life shimming up applications so they no longer require admin rights, and teaching others how to do the same. I do the same thing for developers writing code. Because, in an ideal world, you would be prompted exactly one time for each time you wanted to change the global state of your machine or some other user. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting better.
I’m really happy that the numbers are that high. And Maximum PC, you’re still tied for 1st place in my list of favorite magazines (well, I also love my PC Gamer), even if your hatred blinds you sometimes. Time to let my non-admin blog editor publish this post…