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Running with UAC disabled.... how bad is that?

Posted on 2016-08-25
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Last Modified: 2016-09-13
Dragon Naturally Speaking often recommends running with UAC disabled.... how dangerous is this?   If I have good anti-virus and anti-malware software is that enough?  (And what would good AV/AM be?)
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Question by:Xetroximyn
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 41771185
It is unwise to disable it, and much of windows has now been architected around the privilege isolation it provides. Some things will actually break if it is disabled on 8/10. Windows 7 was a little more forgiving, but UAC was also relatively new then.
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footech earned 1000 total points
ID: 41771210
It's been said by people like Mark Russinovich (google if you don't know who that is) that UAC is not a security boundary.  It's main goal (as I understand it) was to get software developers to write their applications such that they didn't require administrative rights to run.  If you're running with UAC on, it's possible that you might get a UAC/elevation prompt for some malware component on your system, but it certainly doesn't mean that you can't get infected.  But the potential impact of malware is lessened if you are running as a standard user account.

A good read on UAC.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/67dff39c-00c4-496e-be24-917ea9cd6e39

By far the best protection is good user behavior.

In regards to Cliff's comments, it makes me curious because I haven't heard of anything breaking with UAC off, but I then again I haven't run many systems with Win8 or 10, and most of them have UAC on.  I may have to do a google search of my own on things that break in Win10 (couldn't care less about Win8 :) ) with UAC off.
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by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41772198
Thanks!

Cliff - what might break in Win10 if I disable UAC?  (I have win10 64 bit)
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LVL 59

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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 41772421
As I recall, most of the windows store breaks. Much of the UWP platform pinnings also do. Ugh impacts parts of the core OS (.Net framework, etc.). Again, it is about how the user isolation construct was written. It isn't so much a "security boundary" (although that article itself is also very old) but is about compartmentalization which spans that source allocation as well.
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Author Comment

by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41775647
Sounds kinda scary.... I want to run with UAC enabled... but if I wind up having to disable to get Dragon working well I probably will....  Any suggestions for best AV/Malware protection setup to minimize risk with UAC disabled?
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LVL 38

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by:Rich Rumble
Rich Rumble earned 500 total points
ID: 41775649
It shouldn't break much if anything, but it is as stated above a little reminder that your using a program with elevated priv's.
I've found many people complaining that it doesn't work at all on Windows 10 even with UAC off. I'd contact their support to be certain.
-rich
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