Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Removing User Access Control from Windows 7, even if enforced by domain policy

UAC is the most annoying feature of Windows 7, one that just has to be specifically designed to annoy the user with useless "Do you want to" alerts. Not even regular alerts, but screen dimming modal panic dialogs. I want it off. There are several options to do that, but the automated way to get rid of UAC is to change a value in the registry. Here is the reg file for it:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Warning! If you don't know what a registry entry is, then you'd better not do anything stupid! Now, if I could dim the screen while you read that, I would be Microsoft material.

But I digress. In order to execute the reg file above you need to save it into a file with the .reg extension (let's say nouac.reg) and then load it with regedt32 /s nouac.reg. The /s switch removes any confirmation messages and silently loads the file into the registry effectively disabling UAC.

However, my laptop is in a domain with some ridiculous policies enforcing the UAC setting so that when I next restart the computer I get the annoying popups again. Now if I could only run nouac.reg at logoff, I would be all set. And we can do that, also. Just run gpedit.msc, go to User Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Scripts (logon/logoff) and double click logoff. Create a batch file that contains the line to load the registry file and then add it as a logoff script. All set.

Update: Hold the celebration. After I restarted my computer, the hated UAC was back. Either the script was not executed, or it doesn't work like that because the policy is enforced after logoff scripts or before logon. Drat it!