What do the colors in the elevation dialog mean?


On Windows Vista with User Account Control enabled, when you right-click a program and select Run as Administrator, the elevation prompt contains a particular snippet of warning text and a corresponding color-coding. Here are what the four colors mean.

Windows needs your permission to continue
A blue-green banner indicates that the program is a Windows operating system component. Remain calm.
A program needs your permission to continue
A gray banner indicates that the program has been signed but is not part of Windows. Be cautious.
An unidentified program wants access to your computer
A yellow banner indicates that the program's identity cannot be digitally confirmed. Be suspicious.
This program has been blocked
A red banner indicates that the program has been blocked from running. Run away.

You can learn about the philosophy behind UAC in this Channel9 interview.

Pre-emptive snarky comment: "UAC sucks!"

The purpose of this entry is not to discuss whether UAC is a good idea or not. I'm just trying to help by providing information on what the colors mean. This is one of the entries that I was afraid to write. On its own, it's useful information, but I anticipate a torrent of nasty comments from people who see it as an opportunity to start flaming. I have other tips and stories related to controversial topics; this is a trial balloon entry. If I get a bad experience from this entry, I'll delete the others. Just like how I deleted all my stories about Bob.

Update: Okay, just to make it clear (since I'm told that people don't read other comments before posting their own). I did not work on UAC. If you ask me a question about its design or how it works, the answer will be "I don't know." That's why I included a link to a talk from the people who actually know something about it.

Comments (73)
  1. C Gomez says:

    I hate to be cynical, but I suppose this means we can expect not to get more useful tips like this.  It’s too bad, because it’s nice that you volunteer your time as a free resource.

    Instead, complete morons out there would rather squash the sharing of information like this.  That way, we can all suffer equally.  When it comes to developers, this is especially awful, since it means we’ll now be less informed… keep writing crap… and you morons get to try and run it.

  2. ac says:

    This is not a flame, but if you run as LUA with UAC off, right click on a program and choose Run as admin, NOTHING happens, not even the old XP runas dialog

  3. Neal says:

    Sigh, I really liked that story about Bob.  I’m sorry to hear you deleted your others.

  4. Would I be correct in assuming that these colours are fixed, in that they can’t be modifed by themes or registry hacking or whatever?

    Also, do they remain the same despite i18n? I believe that, for example, red is considered a lucky colour in China, so would red be appropriate for the strongest warning in that locale?

  5. richard says:

    It seems trivial enough to understand – though I am not running Vista at the moment.

    The main complaint I can see being raised is it that it is biased against non-Microsoft products, since they will never receive the highest level of permission.

    Although, the cynic in me would say that this was a feature pushed in by marketing to be reminiscent of your homeland security warning levels (though, using a different colour scheme), to give Joe Consumer that warm and fuzzy feeling that the people in charge are watching over him (or maybe just watching him).

  6. @Richard: Even a Microsoft product  can’t get the highest level of permission (or, to be accurate, the lowest level of warning). MS Office, for example, is "a program", not "a Windows operating system component", so it would get the same grey banner as any other signed application.

    (I would assume that this also applies to bundled applications like Notepad and Minesweeper – they aren’t components of the OS.)

  7. jachymko says:

    richard: what do you mean by 3rd party products not receiving the highest level of permissions? AFAIK there are basically three levels of "permissions":

    • the limited user, with admin groups&privileges disabled in the token
    • limited + UIAccess, which is able to mock about other processes’ windows

    • the full admininstrator

    there is no difference between MS and 3rd party programs in the permission set they get; only the UAC dialog is different.

    BTW, there is a little issue with this, an application can fake being part of Windows (ie., get the nice blue dialog) using the RunLegacyCPLElevated.exe which is signed by Microsoft…

  8. Gabe says:

    Does anybody know what makes a red banner come up?

  9. The main complaint I can see being raised is it that it is biased against non-Microsoft products, since they will never receive the highest level of permission.

    Richard, that’s to differentiate between "A part of Windows that’s trying to do its job" (for instance if you try to change the time of the computer) and "some 3rd party needs to act as an administrator". Personally I think that there should be a different level of trust applied for the components that shipped in the OS and the components that a 3rd party deployed on top of the OS.

  10. Adrian says:

    I never noticed the different colors.  I did notice the wording was always different, so I was never sure when I was looking at a UAC dialog, or one put up by Explorer, or IE7, or something else.  I’ll have to pay more attention to the color.

  11. Brain says:

    First time poster, long time reader, exiting lurk mode:

    I wish you would rethink your position on these trial balloons.  I’d disappointed to hear about Bob, since I was anticipating the next chapter.  I would rather read a controversial story and not have an option to comment than miss the story entirely.

    [That doesn’t work. When an article closes comments, people just post their comments to other articles. -Raymond]
  12. Dave says:

    This reminds me of the terror alert level. It will probably be as effective. (Note: I am not being snarky about Microsoft here, but about user behavior in the face of subtle hints like color schemes.)

  13. Paul Hill says:

    Awesome information, thanks!  How does UAC identify a red program from a yellow program?  

  14. Ben says:

    I rarely comment because I feel I have more to learn from this blog than to contribute, but I must express my support for continuing to post whatever you feel like.

    Maybe if the thousands (?) of people who read this blog every day and love it took a more active role in defending the posts, and calling out the morons, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    This blog is one of the most popular MS blogs for a reason and (unfair as it may be) it is thus going to attract a certain share of unintelligent comments.

    I think by removing controversial topics, you may insulate yourself from criticism (hey, nobody likes to be criticized for what they’re passionate about, or things that are irrelevant–I totally understand), but the rest of us who are the silent majority will lose out.

    One option is to disable commenting on controversial topics, but I think most of  your readers would really not enjoy that. Commenting is part of the blog experience–the good with the bad. There wil always be morons in the world. The grateful, good guys just need to stand up and be counted more often.

    Maybe my opinion will carry more weight if I said I bought  your book? :) (I bought your book). Maybe everybody else who bought the book can similarly share their opinion.

  15. Lukas Beeler says:

    It’s nice to see useful information such as this.

    I’ve been an avid reader for the past half your, even though i’m not a developer.

    Of course topics such as UAC may create flamewars, but you shouldn’t let yourself by discouraged by them.

  16. - says:

    One question, I hope not off-topic:

    I’ve hit the case where Vista wanted to run an app with elevated privileges and I was 100% positive said app didn’t need them (I guess it was detected with heuristics, such as file name or something like that). If Windows somehow determines that a program has to be run as admin, is there any way to prevent that (and always start automatically unprivileged)?

    Also, some installers rightfully will request it, but I know from XP that they can be installed without admin privileges if the user can write to the destination folder, so it’d be useful to be able to force them run unprivileged.

  17. Pierre B. says:

    This is not a complain, but it would be interesting to know how Windows determine the name of the entity being warned against.

    I’m suggesting this as a topic because having clear name helps the end-user and legitimate program won’t mind following guidelines for this.

    I’m asking, because I got a UAC prompt with a UUID as the program name, which was almost completely useless. I could have digged in the registry, but I had just installed flash and it appear when I loaded a web page with flash. I believed it was the flash browser plugin.

    Documenting this would help the culprit fix their install to provide meaningful names.

  18. John says:

    Is it possible for any of those colors to look identical to color-blind people?  I would assume that Microsoft would have researched this beforehand, but I’m just curious.

  19. Chris says:

    You should always assume that the colors look identical, because (a) any number of things can interfere with color presentation and (b) there are people who are more colorblind than simple red/green. If meaning is important, don’t use different colors to express it.

  20. GregM says:

    Chris, I’d reword that last sentence as:

    If meaning is important, don’t use ONLY different colors to express it.

    Since the different colors are also paired with different text, this shouldn’t be a problem.  The color is there as an aid, but isn’t the only way the information is conveyed.

  21. Don says:

    Hi Raymond,  

    Thanks for the article, it was very interesting.  I really like to hear about  Microsoft’s history & interesting stories about the employees.  If people are going to be a menace and act like this is a slashdot comment board then please disable the comments and keep the great articles coming.

  22. SM says:

    Raymond, thanks for the information. I certainly hope to hear the rest of those tips and stories!

  23. Chris says:

    GregM: you betcha. Color as an additional cue is fine. I gather that it does add emphasis here, though, which is iffy, in my opinion. Better to have an icon primarily carrying that additional emphasis.

  24. I will echo the request of a few others; I’m curious exactly what factors would result in the red (blocked) scenario…

  25. codekaizen says:

    About the red color…

    It means it was blocked by administrative group policy.

    From Technet:

    • Red background and red shield icon: The application is from a blocked publisher or is blocked by Group Policy.

    It’s about 1/3 of the way down on this page:

    http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/00d04415-2b2f-422c-b70e-b18ff918c2811033.mspx?mfr=true

  26. brian says:

    It would be nice if Adobe and Apple signed all of thier stuff.  I like knowing what caused an error.  Last i checked itunes wasn’t signed.  Makes me wonder why.

  27. Good Point says:

    I know that no readers of this blog have seen any of the Apple ‘PC guy / Mac guy’ commercials, but the one mocking the User Account Control in Vista is the funniest in my opinion.

  28. @Nick Fitzsimons:  Notepad is a part of the OS, so you do get the blue color on the elevation dialog.

    In addition to the color, there is also a different icon for each of these dialogs.

    Finally (and very importantly):  the color and icons are intended only to be guidelines – not strict security recommendations.  See the following:

    http://blogs.technet.com/robert_hensing/archive/2007/02/22/the-great-uac-debacle.aspx

    and

    http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2007/02/12/638372.aspx

  29. eikonos says:

    Raymond, I don’t always agree with you, but I do always learn something so please keep posting interesting things.

  30. "Is it possible for any of those colors to look identical to color-blind people?"

    Certainly; given the colours shown, the first two look identical to me except for darkness.  Without having them side-by-side I’d struggle to identify them.  Strange, as it’s usually the red-brown-green-yellow colours I have trouble with.

    Unfortunately I had to roll my Vista installation back to XP, so can’t try them out "in situ".  But IIRC, and as others say, the text makes the level of caution explicit.

  31. Nick says:

    I don’t think your efforts to eliminate discussion about Bob were very good.  In a comment, you said you would delete additional stories about Bob if people didn’t stop speculating with actual names.  First of all, not everyone reads all the comments and the person-who-killed-all-the-stories-about-Bob may have inflicted the punishment down on the rest of us without even knowingly done so, because he or she commented without having read your admonition.

    Second, even if that person knowingly and maliciously did so, why should one bad apple spoil the bunch?  You’re in charge here. This is your weblog and you have better things to do that roll through the comments looking for violation of Microsoft HR policy.  If you have reason to believe that will happen, just turn off comments.  I’m sure the remaining 99.999% of your readers will understand and for those that don’t, there is the rest of the web out there for their reading (and trashing) pleasure.

    [Is it unreasonable to ask that people read the existing comments before adding a new one? No wonder people keep asking the same questions over and over again. One bad apple spoils the bunch because one bad apple can get me fired. But I said I wouldn’t talk about that. -Raymond]
  32. Raymond,

    I was surprized to read the comments today, noticing that a good number of people were calling for you to return to your old ways of blogging.  In other words, to not care so much about what others think.

    I was surprized, because I thought I was the only one that noticed how your style has changed, for the worse, in the past few months.

    You blog as if you are scared.  Granted, the “pre-emptive snarky comment” is humorous, but the effort you go into describing why you did it screams that you don’t have confidence in what you are blogging about.  I can only imagine the strain that it is putting on you in trying to account for every possible jab that might be taken at you.

    I remember when I first started reading your blog, it was because there was amazing insight into many of the things in Windows that we forget about over time, but are still incredibly important.  Your blog still does that, but I don’t feel the passion behind it, I don’t feel the authority (and I don’t mean the knowledge of the subject matter, I mean the strength of your convictions).

    I encourage you to go back to the old Raymond.  Why are you letting the few dictate to you what you should be doing with YOUR blog?

    [I’ve learned that if I express my opinions, people flame me for it. So now I keep them mostly to myself. I don’t need this grief. -Raymond]
  33. mikeb says:

    FWIW (which I suppose is nothing), I’d agree with Brain: "I would rather read a … story and not have an option to comment than miss the story entirely"

    Though, I imagine that whatever grief you’d get for turning off comments is probably more than you want to wade through as well…

  34. alexis says:

    Please Raymond ignore the trolls. They may talk the loudest but some of us just like to *know*.

  35. Mark Sowul says:

    Personally, I’d rather you turn off commenting and blog about what you want, rather than you stop blogging about what you want because of imbeciles in the comments.  

  36. MadQ says:

    I have a suggestion, though it’s just a kernel of an idea (heh. I can plagiarize with the best of them.)

    I have no idea whether it would actually work, but it might be worth an experiment. Also, it would obviously have to be supported by the software.

    The basic premise is that I trust you to decide the merit of any and all comments on your blog. Please feel free to mark any comment you deem to be so as inappropriate. Then, let the user decide whether or not to filter out said comments by having the web browser collapse them by default.

    Yeah, it would mean a little extra work on your side, but some friends you trust could be your delegates (whoops, I think that’s my pun quota for today.)

    In other words, empower both yourself and your readers. Empower yourself by weeding out the irrelevant, the obnoxious, etc. Empower your readers by giving them a choice.

  37. Jorge Coelho says:

    Raymond, I happen to agree with Nicholas and I think he expressed his (and mine) feelings very well, much better than I could ever do it.

    When anyone, anywhere, expresses his opinion, there will ALWAYS be someone, somewhere, with a different point of view who will contest/flame him. Such is life – the trick is to develop a thick skin and NOT to take everything as a personal attack.

    Also, all this ‘be careful with what you say’  makes me feel like I’m walking on eggs all the time here and I, for one, don’t like that very much. I like to freely express my opinion, and that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an imbecile or a troll. :-)

  38. Stu says:

    Here’s a few interesting things on my Vista box:

    -Notepad gets blue, but Wordpad gets yellow.

    Why is Notepad any more safe than Wordpad? (ie Why is Wordpad not digitally signed?)

    -MMC gets blue, but cannot really be trusted (A third party snap-in can do whatever it wants.)

    -On a similar note, the following command line will result in a blue box, but could run any program: "cmd.exe /c program.exe".

    Maybe cmd.exe should run ‘/c’ parameters with reduced permissions?

  39. Eric TF Bat says:

    Raymond –

    I’m not your friend.  That is: we’ve never met, and likely never will, and although I think you’d be a great friend if we did, that’s not going to happen.  So when I say the following as a friend, I’m really just making it up, because I’m not your friend, so I don’t have the right to talk as if I were.  But if I were your friend, I’d say this:

    You’re tired, and angry, and in a rut.  You’re doing something because you feel you should, but it’s hurting you.  As a result, you’re getting scared and annoyed and a whole lot of other generalised badness.  It’s doing you damage.  (This is obvious to me, your not-a-friend; it MUST be even more obvious to your actual friends.  Ask them!)

    If I were your friend, I’d say: stop.  Do something else, or do something different.  Not for your audience, not for your boss, but for yourself.  It won’t hurt the world if you go away for a while, or change how you do things — you’ve already given plenty, and you’ve earned the right to do what you like.  (Really!  I suspect you’re way too self-effacing to see that, but it’s true.)

    Although it’s not true for most people, in your case it is: the world DOES owe you a living.  Or at least some thanks.  Don’t you forget it.

    As I said, I’m not your friend.  I would be if it were possible, and then these things I’m saying would be worth listening to.  But that’s just imagining.

  40. Brian says:

    Hi Raymond,

    like a really great bunch of other people I really like this blog. Because of its unique combination of in-depth technical questions and humorous postings (insert two additional paragraphs of your favorite marketing yada yada here how cool your blog is).

    Your opinion regarding the Bob stories and the flaming is just plain stupid. Like a small child threatening to hold its breath until it turns blue if it doesn’t get what it wants from its parents. You ARE effectively performing censorship on your blog by threatening to remove future postings from the blog. So you are telling me that you don’t want to employ “stricter” moderation because of censorship concerns. You don’t want to turn comments of completely (why?). And you know that there will always be “morons” as they are referred in other comments who make another guess who Bob is or start flaming about whether UAC is good or bad. That is why things like wikipedia will never truly work due to the nature of the internet. The guys who scream the loudest do get some attention through this medium. I don’t think you are ignorant, Raymond. You know that you will not be to educate all your users. So are you just enjoying this idiotic “I just deleted all my unbelievably cool stories about Bob, and all you non-blue-badges will never ever get to enjoy these stories”? That is completely silly (which made me just unsubscribe from this blog). I guess when you work for a long time at Microsoft, you at some time stop being humble anymore.

    Since your book is out the quality of the postings has decreased a lot. Maybe you should just shut this blog down.

    My guess is that Bob is (deleted). Jeez, how un-funny. [needs to be removed on demand of MSFT HR girlz and boyz]

  41. ksurvell says:

    Don’t let the negative comments get you down, Raymond. Everyone gets snarky comments at one point or another, and the more popular the site, the more nasty comments there’ll be. In a way, it should be flattering – it means the flamers (who have nothing better to do with their worthless lives) are interested in what you say enough to come to your site and … post negative, stupid comments.

    Well, I suppose you have to take the good with the bad. When life gives you lemons, make lemonaide! When blog readers give you snarky, nasty, flame comments… you make snarky, nasty, flaming-hot sandwiches?? I dunno. Just don’t stop posting, please! *pleading voice* Everything you write about is interesting! And that’s such a rare thing these days!

  42. zahical says:

    Raymond,

    Like most of the people posting comments today, I also read your blog every day since almost the beginning (2004), but I have rarely posted comments. (This is my third.)

    If disabling the comments is the price for you  to keeping blogging, then I (and, I’m sure, most of the other regular readers here) will be willing to pay it. No gladly, of course, but a blog without comments is much, much better than no blog at all – especially if that’s your blog.

    Loosing the comments will be unfortunate, because sometimes the questions in them and your answers have provided much-valued additional insight.

    But, on the other side, there have always been the ‘Microsoft also does that!’, ‘Windows sucks!’, and other throwing-stones-in-a-glass-house type of comments. Be sure, most of us are irritated by them no less than you. (I don’t know why people keep on doing it – perhaps there’s some sort of “celebrityhood” in posting comment on ‘RAYMOND CHEN’s blog)

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any other viable solution to the comments problem than disabling the comments entirely. Of course, it will be good if you moderate comments – but I bet you have a lot more meaningful things to do with your time.

    As someone has already mentioned above, the general tone of your postings has changed a lot through the years and I’m afraid that the moment when there’ll be no more ‘your daily Old New Thing entry’ is not very far in the future.

    And that would really be a great loss.

  43. Fizzz says:

    I have one thing to say: nasty comment!

    Seriously, you should never hesitate to post because of readers unable to calmly read and digest your post. That would be censuring yourself to the lowest denominator. You’d be giving in and they wouldn’t discover the joys of maturity.

    The UAC specific part of this post was worth my time. The side-topic was icing to my day.

    Thx Raymond!

  44. telcor says:

    Here is another thought for those wondering what color-blind people see when viewing the colored stripes. Assuming the color-codes Raymond used for the stripes in this article, here is what I see:

    Blue

    Green

    Orange

    Red

    Color conveys less relevance to me than to non-colorblind people, unless the color(s) make something intolerable to view. That may be true of other color-blind people.

    This tip I find very interesting and when I finally find the time to implement Vista I look forward to delving into the "why"s of the matter.

  45. Norman Diamond says:

    For some reason I thought the pre-emptive snarky comments were genuinely intended to be funny, as well as reminding readers that Microsoft is included in some of these complaints, not hypocritically excluded.

    On the other hand, as for the need to explain the colours:  Yes they do need explaining, and I thank you for posting the explanations, but this very fact points out one of the reasons why the battle is still being lost.  I read the same explanation on someone else’s blog before but forgot, and I will forget again.  The elevation dialogs need to say what they mean.

    Sure, no one reads the text, and we geeks count as no one.  But when the text isn’t there, no one will know what the invisible text meant, and we geeks don’t even get to be no one this time.  If the colour has a meaning then add one line of text to say what the intended meaning was.

    I think the difference between intended meaning and actual meaning is another reason why the battle is still being lost though.  Consider:

    Friday, March 30, 2007 10:47 AM by LarryOsterman

    Richard, that’s to differentiate between "A

    part of Windows that’s trying to do its job"

    (for instance if you try to change the time of

    the computer) and "some 3rd party needs to act

    as an administrator".

    Theoretically that would be nice, but I don’t think that’s what happens.  I think it differentiates "A part of Windows was either requested by you or is being tricked by malware" and "Some 3rd party was either requested by you or is being tricked by malware".  The difference between a part of Windows and a 3rd party is relatively minor, though of course not zero, because I do want to be informed if the program is one that I wasn’t aware of.  The major difference is between obeying a request that I made or being tricked by malware.  The user primarily has to figure out whether some operation that is being performed by some third-level operation on some fourth-level operation really came about from the user’s request or not.  I don’t really know a good way to do it.  But the ease of tricking users into thinking that the operation is being done by a trusted component of Windows is still going to result in a lot of unwanted approvals.

    Several commenters tried to explain why Notepad and Wordpad deserve different colours, but I still don’t understand it.  Different files get displayed with different kinds of corruption by Notepad and Wordpad, depending on their contents.  When I choose which one (or two) to use, it’s not because one is more tightly built-in.  When I read some of Microsoft’s court testimony, Internet Explorer was more tightly built-in than either of those.  I am glad to see that Internet Explorer gets less trust these days.

  46. Jam says:

    Hiya Raymond,

    I’m a second time poster who’s voicing a big thumbs up for your blog – the best resource for windows programmers that I’ve found on the ‘net. I’ve read your blog every day for the last year and a half, and I’ve also bought your book.

    Please resist the naysayers. No matter what happens in the future, thank you for everything you’ve done so far!

  47. rdamiani says:

    Never posted a comment here before, but wanted to echo what so may others have. I’m not a programmer. Nevertheless, I find your blog one of the most interesting ones I read. I hate to think that fear of seeing snarky comments is what is keeping you from posting about Vista-related things. Personally, I’ve been hoping you’d tackle UAC and some of Vista’s other security features. I’d really like to know:

    • How UAC is working for you with your habit of running as a limited user.
    • Some of the decision-making behind UAC features (i.e. the behavior of file and directory permissions dialogs)

    • Why return GUIDs when the user clicks on ‘more info’? is that intended to point to a vista-specific thing that just hasn’t been implemented by most programs? Or is it supposed to be helpful?

    • Is there any control over UAC levels? i.e. can I tell Windows – I know this program is doing bad stuff, but I want it to do that, so don’t worry about it?

    You have a way of concisely and completely illuminating things that I find quite refreshing after trying to dig answers out of a pile of MSDN pages.

  48. Nick Mason says:

    Raymond,

    I agree with Nicholas Paldino – I’ve been reading your blog since early 2004 and although I’ve been close before, after reading these comments, I’m finally provoked into voicing my opinions.

    It really irritates me when people criticize your blog – your writings are an inspiration to us all, and I’ve learnt many a thing from your valuable insights into the innards of Windows. I’m still amazed at the lengths that Microsoft have gone to in order to retain backwards compatibility, especially recalling that tale about the custom memory allocator made especially for SimCity. I feel your pain when you say that if you did not go to these lengths, others would blame Windows rather than dodgy ISV products. What a terrible shame.

    I resigned from my well-paid job as a technical manager last month, where previously, I had almost Chen-like status in my old company (dare I say that) :-)  I was really just a very competent and technical programmer who after proving himself numerous times, ended up being given everyone else’s most difficult problems over a period of ten years, getting flamed all the time. The less competent staff were rewarded with nice new projects, whilst I was mopping up after everyone else, and they knew it, management included. Thankfully, I’m running my own company now…

    It’s impossible to please everyone, heck, most people come to that. I was probably the only one who took the time to document and explain his work. In the beginning, I’d produce volumes of comprehensive documentation to educate others into the workings of the components I’d developed (these really were large complex components, almost entire systems in their own right, and really did need documenting). Some of them even had direct parallels with what Microsoft have introduced relatively recently. Most staff complained that they didn’t have the time to read the documentation, yet if I only gave the bare minimum, I’d be insulted for not providing enough detail. I ended up producing the comprehensive documentation, but on the first page, giving a summary which effectively said "If you can’t be bothered to read on, at least know that X is limited to Y, A needs to be done before B" and so forth, a kind of cheat-sheet. And yet most staff (there were a few decent programmers though) could not be bothered reading even this, and asked questions that were already covered in the first page of the documentation. Tsk.

    The trouble is, many people just don’t care, don’t want to know, and find it easier to insult rather than to think – they’ve drank the latest kool-aid for today and have seen today’s "silver bullet" and if they can’t find an immediate answer to their problem on Google, they automatically slate whoever produced the technology they’re using. Heaven forbid, they might actually have to *understand* something before using it or even have to learn really low-level stuff like bytes or algorithms ;-).

    But then, you already know this. In my final days, I ended up having my own kind of "snarky comment" at the bottom of most emails, which of course, was ignored… I think your blog is great, in fact, it’s the only blog I ever read. Ever. Please keep up the good work. As you can see from the comments in here already, most of us really appreciate the time and effort that goes into this blog, those of us that can’t take (or be bothered to read) what’s in here should look elsewhere. Sorry for being off-topic. P.S. Me too – I bought your book :-).

  49. Igor says:

    About deleting “Bob”:

    Raymond, two simple questions:

    1. Why your blog doesn’t have a disclaimer which says something like “Raymond Chen is not responsible for the content of the comments on this blog.”?

    2. If someone else from Microsoft posts a comment, can’t you trace them via the IP address or something so that HR head-choppers can direct their anger in the right direction?

    As for UAC, I hope you will not be offended by this, for me it was very funny:

    http://movies.apple.com/movies/us/apple/getamac/apple-getamac-security_848x496.mov

    I do not mind UAC, after all you can turn it off.

    Finally, if Microsoft can fine you without reason and explanation and has such draconian rules why exactly do you like working there? I wouldn’t feel at home if they “stimulated” my loyalty in that way.

    [What part of “I will not discuss this further” don’t people understand? Besides, you already know the answers to the first two questions. -Raymond]
  50. Neal says:

    Ditto everyone else, take a break Raymond and use the blog time for yourself for a while.  

    Then, when you come back, moderate the comments and be straight up about it – "post insightful comments and honest questions and I’ll let them through, post snarky ones and I won’t or I’ll ban your ip."

  51. I mentioned recently that I was the new owner of the UAC UI (from the dev side). Well, today I found

  52. Julian says:

    From the perspective of another colour blind reader: the colours above are blue, lighter blue, green, red. BTW, for anyone thinking of doing this, *please* don’t use black on red or red on black :)

    Talking of colours, I really wish one could change _all_ of the shell colours when using a theme. I can’t see the highlight in windows explorer using the standard Vista aero scheme (it looks white to me, on a white background). Unfortunately the accessability colour schemes are quite ugly (various combinations of green black and white – ugh).

  53. Igor says:

    Raymond said: “Besides, you already know the answers to the first two questions”

    Really? I believed that people ask questions because they don’t know the answers. Must be that western civilization does it differently then.

    [That’s my shorthand for “There is enough information available for you to figure out the answers on your own. You already know the answer; you just don’t realize it.” -Raymond]
  54. Christian says:

    I just read all the comments to the Bob-article and I feel that it would be best if comments would be shut down completely. That would be much better than deleting stories from the queue!

  55. peterchen says:

    Raymond: Nicholas and Eric are on to something. It would suck to lose the comments or even the blog – but that’s not about us, it’s about you. Don’t let this blog eat into you. Keep on blogging if you like.

    > What part of "I will not discuss this further" don’t people understand?

    most likely the "not" part

  56. steveg says:

    It’s your blog, do whatever you want. You don’t owe us anything.

  57. Dean Harding says:

    What about stopping comments, but not NOT blocking trackbacks. That way, if people really want to comment, they can sign up to blogger or something and comment on their own blog. That’ll stop most of the snarky comments (because people aren’t going to spam their own blogs with things like "windows sucks"). Of course, if you (Raymond) want to respond to the comment, it’s not quite as easy as it is now, and its a lot more clicks for people, but at least you don’t have to worry about getting fired any more :)

    I guess coming from guy who already has his own blog, the suggestion sounds better to me than if I didn’t already have my own blog…

  58. JamesNT says:

    I am very sad that Mr. Chen has to resort to the measures he is currently using to manage flaming on his blog.  

    The people that flame Raymond all the time are also those who write all of this craptactular software that honest admins like myself must deal with on a regular basis.  You are also part of the slashdotter crowd that honestly thinks you are “getting one over on the man” by coming to this honest blog maintained by an honest person trying to pull your crap.  It is with great pleasure that I inform all of you (and you know who you are) that all you are doing is helping Microsoft to win.  How many of you think CIO’s really go for this “evil empire” and “this is the way it should be done” and “MS programmers are all n00bs” routines?  It’s time to get with the program and realize that we truly are, as Mr. Chen has said, in this together.  The only people you are hurting are youselves and us innocent sysadmins who stay up late at night and work through weekends trying to get your crap to run properly without giving the end user admin rights on the machine or pull some other incredible hack.

    My personaly favorite is the post regarding limits.  If you need to know what the limit is on something (i.e. the limit to how many characters you can put in IE’s address bar) then guess what, your program is very likely about to do something incredibily stupid.

    It’s time to get with the friggin’ program and realize that the posts here are designed to help you become better programmers.  Not only do you get insight as to why things are the way they are in Windows, but you also get expert FREE advice on best practices.

    I can’t believe some of you are so willing to screw that up.

    JamesNT

    [Whoa, dude, chill out. -Raymond]
  59. Jivlain says:

    What with my short attention span and all, I was thinking he was talking about the /Microsoft/ Bob…

    But hey, the stuff about trolls and snarkiness seems to have been an effective way to stop people from trolling or being snarky (and getting people like me to come along and metapost…)

    But hey, don’t stop. This blog is an invaluable (not to mention fascinating) resource. Don’t let the trolls eat you :p

  60. stosb says:

    "If I get a bad experience from this entry, I’ll delete the others."

    That don’t matter, because everybody loves Raymond.

    "Just like how I deleted all my stories about Bob."

    That don’t matter, because everybody loves Raymond.

    You are writing this blog as a service to the readers, so WM_STFU to anyone going all WM_BOO.   I mean, a few posts make clippy look intelligent by comparison ;)

    Much, much thanks for leaving the comments on despite of all this.

  61. ChrisR says:

    @stosb: Seriously that was hilarious, thanks :)

    @raymond: I hope the snarky comments don’t make you stop blogging. Your site is the first one I read every day, and your articles have helped me many times as a developer of software that runs on Windows.  Thank you.

    I am also going to echo that I would rather have you turn comments off than stop blogging altogether.

  62. BanTheIP says:

    > I’ll ban your ip

    Congratulations. It’s 2007 and there is still people not understanding that banning an IP can effectively ban :

    1) random people around, because the user had a dynamic IP on dialup

    2) all people of a given corporation (sharing a common public IP)

    3) all people living in a given zone (same as above for some ISPs)

    Best of all, in case #1, the person you actually desired to ban, still has full access.

  63. Neal says:

    While your rant about banning IPs is correct, let’s be real here.

    First, the warning is put up and the ban only comes after someone keeps ignoring it and being repeated snarky.  Let’s see now… hmmm… Raymond could quit posting altogether… Raymond could quit taking comments altogether… Raymond could ban a few IPs of abusers and risk affecting an innocent few?  Hmmm again, which of those would create the least negative impact?

    Second, this isn’t a blog with thousands of regular POSTERS so banning a few IPs from posting isn’t likely to hit many dial-up users. Oh, and what percentage of mostly tech mostly savy readers of this blog can only access it via dial-up to begin with?  It’s a tradeoff dude.

    Third, yes, it’s likely to hit a few innocent posters at corps but hey, guess what – if your co-worker is a continual ass and gets you banned from posting too then you can take it up with him then get the ban lifted.  If you’re unfortunate enough to live in a zone affected by a ban then tough too, that means the ass can’t get around it so easily either, and that means Raymond keeps blogging.  I’d rather lose you than Raymond.

  64. Neal says:

    Oh, and let me add something.  It’s really not that difficult to implement an IP based “snark warning.”

    “Due to repeated snarky comments coming from your IP, it is in
    danger of being banned.  If you are responsible, you have been
    warned.  If a co-worker is responsible he’s likewise been warned
    and you should express your displeasure too.  If neither is the
    case then I’m sorry, you should keep your fingers crossed that someone
    behaves.”

    Then again, perhaps Raymond could implement some sort of snark level
    box that we could vote on and use to police comments ourselves.
     Then he could take side bets about who’d be voted most snarky of
    the day, who’d have their comment voted off the blog, and who the
    readers would let slide.  At least he’d be entertained and perhaps
    he’d make some lunch money off the bets.

    [Everybody seems to have forgotten that I don’t run the site. I can’t implement squat. -Raymond]
  65. asmguru62 says:

    Why not simply ignore these comments?

    If we all do – there will be no need for anything else.

  66. BanTheIP says:

    > Raymond could ban a few IPs of abusers and risk affecting an innocent few?

    Most probably the abuser will not be banned at all. Almost always a reset on your DSL router is enough to change IP. Or get a free proxy.

    > Oh, and what percentage of mostly tech mostly savy readers of this blog can only access it via dial-up to begin with?

    Check "percentage of readers living in USA big cities versus the rest of the world.".

    Many towns (except big cities) still don’t have DSL in Italy. If we don’t have in many cities I can only figure out DSL diffusion in poorer countries. Beside, many DSLs renew their IPs every connection.

    > Third, yes, it’s likely to hit a few innocent posters at corps but hey, guess what – if your co-worker is a continual ass and gets you banned from posting too then you can take it up with him then get the ban lifted.

    It seems you work in a 2 people corp! Really in any reasonable corporation (not to mention government, universities etc) you will hardly find the abuser.

    >  It’s a tradeoff dude.

    And a really stupid tradeoff.

  67. ring zero says:

    Dear Raymond,

    You can’t change the commenters. You can ask them to do this or not do that, but it won’t help. Some hate MS and Windows and nothing you write will change that. You will be happier if you get over it.

    Dear Commenters,

    You can’t change Raymond. His personality is what it is. You can ask him to do this or not do that, but it won’t help. No matter what kind of flaw you find in Windows, he is not going to  admit MS was wrong. You will be happier if you get over it.

    [I point out flaws in Windows a lot. I just don’t jump up and down and say “Oh my God a flaw in Windows!” when I do it. -Raymond]
  68. Cooney says:

    [I’ve learned that if I express my opinions, people flame me for it. So now I keep them mostly to myself. I don’t need this grief. -Raymond]

    This is the internet – of course you get flamed.

  69. David Walker says:

    I think most of the comments are useful, at least on technical subjects, and I would not like to see them turned off.  I also want to echo what a great resource this blog has been for me.

  70. Cody says:

    I haven’t said this before but I think I’ll finally say it now:  I love this blog.  It’s humorous, interesting and informative.  I ignore the trolls (or have a laugh at their expense) when they pop up, especially when they’re whacked down (doubly so when I’m the troll).

    I could get on with a very long post about the issue but more concisely:  The trolls don’t distract me or reduce my user experience because the blog itself has such merit that its shining glory illuminates even the darkest of shadows (to be overdramatic).

  71. Ulric says:

    Ditto everyone else, take a break Raymond and use the blog time for yourself for a while.

    These types of comments anger me.  If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it, the problem is not with the blogger’s time not being well spent.

    On a more positive note, although this may not be possible for you, I think you could raise the quality of the comments if you only allowed non-anonymous comments.  

    (yes, yes I’m aware of the irony of my posting this suggestion anonymously.  what would we do in a world without irony? )

  72. David Conrad says:

    Raymond wrote: "I’ve learned that if I express my opinions, people flame me for it."

    On the internet, this is how people show that they love you.

    I think your blog is fantastic, Raymond, and you don’t need to change a thing. I do have a message for you, though. This message has been carefully crafted especially for you. It is this:

    There is no enemy, anywhere.

  73. maquinarialoca says:

    Hi Raymond.

    If you know about Windows Integrity Levels, will you post info about it?

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