What is UAC Virtualization? Why should you enable it? And how exactly should you enable it in the first place? Keep on reading to find out!
Most people have forgotten what User Account Control (UAC) Virtualization is. It’s still available on Windows 10 devices and provides one of the sleekest quick solutions to many a digital problem. Does that sound vague? Don’t worry, we’ll elaborate more below.
First off, let’s learn how to enable UAC virtualization then move on from there! We’ll also cover UAC and what that means. UAC and UAC virtualization might seem like an annoying Windows feature but it has saved you from crashes more often than not.
How to Enable UAC Virtualization
To turn on or off UAC virtualization on Windows 10 and later versions, do the following.
- Go to the Taskbar’s search field and type “UAC”.
- If you can’t find the search field, right-click the Start button then choose “Search” on the menu.
- Click in the search results the “Change User Account” settings.
- If you want to turn on UAC, drag the slider up to your desired security level before clicking OK. Otherwise, drag the slider down to “Never Notify” to turn off UAC before clicking OK instead.
- You might get a confirmation prompt or a prompt requiring you to enter an administrator password.
- In order for the changes to apply, reboot your computer.
To be more specific, turning on your UAC levels also turns on the UAC virtualization features. Turning them off brings your PC back to Windows XP levels of open privileges for all programs but runs the risk of PC destruction down the line.
What is UAC Virtualization?
This process fools your application into thinking it’s writing a user path instead of a system one. When the application expects to write unto C:\Program Files\App Name, it’s instead writing unto a completely different virtual UAC.
UAC or User Account Control Virtualization makes a virtual version of UAC. In the abovementioned path, Windows later copies all the program path files when the app attempts to write to them during installation or operation.
Windows 10 is known for its issues with legacy compatibility. Your old copies of Adobe Photoshop or some sort of old program that ran fine on Windows 7, Vista, or even XP now couldn’t run at all on Windows 10 and its lack of backwards compatibility.
How Does UAC Virtualization Work?
If a program without privileges given by Windows were to attempt to write on a protected folder, UAC virtualization creates a virtual folder for it instead of allowing it to run roughshod on protected files and documents.
This works even if your app is capable of opening your file browser. It’s a safety protocol to prevent poorly coded programs or intentionally destructive malware to destroy your PC. Virtualization allows the program to think it’s working while protecting your system from potential corruption.
As annoying as all those pop-ups asking you for permissions when an app wants to implement changes on your PC can get, it’s all for your safety.
- Ilija Miljkovac, “What is UAC Virtualization?“, PCWdld.com, July 22, 2021
- “How to Turn User Account Control On or Off in Windows 10 and later“, Articulate.com, September 21, 2021