[xplorer˛] — UAC survival guide
home » blog » 14 February 2010
play flash demo

"Where is the 'Any' key?" — support desk anecdotes

Ever since windows vista introduced user account control (UAC) users have been spending their lives answering to authorisation and elevation prompts to manage some special folders like C:\Program Files; and I have been spending hours of customer support trying to explain the reason to many xplorer˛ customers.

The essense of UAC is that nobody is running with full administrator privileges unless he explicitly requests so. In older windows pre-vista, you had normal users and administrators. If you logged on as an administrator you had full access to your computer's resources. With UAC even administrators are running with reduced privileges so they cannot modify 'protected' folders.

"But I am the administrator!" is the usual response in disbelief. Sorry you aren't. The idea is to strip access rights even from administrators so that viruses and other malware cannot slip in throught the back door. I always advocated running as a normal user to avoid virus problems, and now microsoft made all of us effectively normal users, which is good for security.

Shutting the door to malware means that you make your life a bit harder too. You don't want malware modifying DLLs in your windows system folder, and the price you pay is these darn UAC prompts. "You'll need to provide administrator permission to rename this folder" Sir. You must click on the button with the little shield icon and may need to provide an administrator password to complete the operation.

All programs are affected by UAC in vista and windows 7, including xplorer˛. When you start xplorer˛ normally it is running with reduced privileges so it cannot delete files in C:\windows and similar folders. Here's what you can do to work around this limitation:

  • Run elevated. Right click on xplorer˛ desktop icon and pick "Run as administrator" menu command. This way a full administrative process is started and you can do everything everywhere, like in the old days of windows XP. Another way to run elevated is to use Window > Administrator menu command from within xplorer˛.
  • Disable UAC. You can disable UAC altogether from control panel, but this is not recommended. If anything you should reinforce it to maximum level (always notify).
  • Other tricks. With a normal xplorer˛ process, use drag-drop (instead of robust copy <F5>) to copy files into protected folders. To delete or rename a protected file use the shell context menu (right click on the file) instead of xplorer˛ own menu commands. Here's a demo video

NOTE: Running xplorer˛ elevated has a curious side effect, it won't show any mapped network drives you have defined. Contrary to what you may have expected running with "more privileges" results in restricted behaviour as far as mapped drive letters are concerned. The only solution is to avoid running elevated, or else you must do your drive mappings again.

Post a comment on this topic



What would you like to do next?

Reclaim control of your files!
  • browse
  • preview
  • manage
  • locate
  • organize
Download xplorer2 free trial
"This powerhouse file manager beats the pants off Microsoft's built-in utility..."

© 2002—2010 Nikos Bozinis, all rights reserved