(Mis)Use Case: Vista User Account Protection

Paul Thurrott: Where Vista Fails. A long list of major and minor feature and UI issues in the latest (February) community preview of Vista, the next version of Windows. Some of these issues seem minor, but one in particular, the User Account Protection model, caught my eye. It’s good to see that Windows will be moving toward a model of requiring separate point authentications to perform certain actions, but it sounds like they’ve overdone it with the actions that require re-authenticating, not to mention the warning dialogs:

Once Firefox is installed, there are two icons on my Desktop I’d like to remove: The Setup application itself and a shortcut to Firefox. So I select both icons and drag them to the Recycle Bin. Simple, right?

Wrong. Here’s what you have to go through to actually delete those files in Windows Vista. First, you get a File Access Denied dialog (Figure) explaining that you don’t, in fact, have permission to delete a … shortcut?? To an application you just installed??? Seriously?

OK, fine. You can click a Continue button to “complete this operation.” But that doesn’t complete anything. It just clears the desktop for the next dialog, which is a Windows Security window (Figure). Here, you need to give your permission to continue something opaquely called a “File Operation.” Click Allow, and you’re done. Hey, that’s not too bad, right? Just two dialogs to read, understand, and then respond correctly to. What’s the big deal?

What if you’re doing something a bit more complicated? Well, lucky you, the dialogs stack right up, one after the other, in a seemingly never-ending display of stupidity. Indeed, sometimes you’ll find yourself unable to do certain things for no good reason, and you click Allow buttons until you’re blue in the face.

Hopefully this gets adjusted in future builds. Otherwise I think a lot of people won’t get the benefit of the feature—they’ll disable it based on the annoyance factor.