Hi. I’m Alex, the product manager for User Account Control. Today we released February Windows Vista CTP (build 5308) and we wanted to make beta testers aware of what new things you’ll find in this build.

  • Application-Aware Elevation Prompts
    The elevation prompts that users see are now customized based on the type of application that is running. To have control over which prompt the user sees, the executable must be signed using Microsoft Authenticode technology. If an unsigned application attempts to run with full administrator privileges, the approval dialog will contain stronger warning language and be color coded to warn users of the potential risk.

    But for signed applications and Windows component, the dialogs will use different colors, icons, and less strong warning language.

    This will help users tell at a glance if they need to be extra-cautious before running a particular program. Developers who do not yet digitally sign their applications should begin signing them to prevent Windows Vista customers from seeing these strong warnings when attempting to install or run your software.

    We are still refining these dialogs, but the February CTP shows the direction we are headed.

  • Access to Virtualized Files
    It is now easier to find the files that are redirected by the file virtualization capabilities in Windows Vista. First, a brief explanation of what we mean by virtualization in User Account Control. Many applications break for standard users (non-admins) today because they attempt to write to protected areas that the standard user does not have access to. Windows Vista will improve application compatibility for these users by redirecting writes (and subsequent reads) to a per-user location within the user’s profile. For example, if an application attempts to write to “C:\program files\appname\settings.ini” and the user doesn’t have permissions to write to that directory, the write will get redirected to “C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\appname\.”

    To make it easier to find these redirected files we added a new button to Windows Explorer. If there is a virtualized version of a file related to the current directory, a Compatibility Files button appears that will take you to the virtual location to view that file.

  • Run as Administrator
    The right-click “Run elevated” command that you could use to force an application to run with elevated privileges is now called “Run as administrator

If you find other things that are new, different, or unexpected in this build please post them as comments on this entry.

- Alex Heaton
  User Account Control Product Manager