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User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

The User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop policy setting controls whether User Interface Accessibility (UIAccess or UIA) programs can automatically disable the secure desktop for elevation prompts used by a standard user.

The options are:

  • Enabled. UIA programs, including Windows Remote Assistance, automatically disable the secure desktop for elevation prompts. If you do not disable the User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation policy setting, the prompts appear on the interactive user's desktop instead of the secure desktop.

  • Disabled. (Default) The secure desktop can be disabled only by the user of the interactive desktop or by disabling the User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation policy setting.

UIA programs are designed to interact with Windows and application programs on behalf of a user. This policy setting allows UIA programs to bypass the secure desktop to increase usability in certain cases; however, allowing elevation requests to appear on the interactive desktop instead of the secure desktop can increase your security risk.

UIA programs must be digitally signed because they must be able to respond to prompts regarding security issues, such as the UAC elevation prompt. By default, UIA programs are run only from the following protected paths:

  • …\Program Files, including subfolders

  • …\Program Files (x86), including subfolders for 64-bit versions of Windows

  • …\Windows\System32

The User Account Control: Only elevate UIAccess applications that are installed in secure locations policy setting disables the requirement to be run from a protected path.

While this policy setting applies to any UIA program, it is primarily used in certain remote assistance scenarios, including the Windows Remote Assistance program in Windows Vista.

If a user requests remote assistance from an administrator and the remote assistance session is established, any elevation prompts appear on the interactive user's secure desktop and the administrator's remote session is paused. To avoid pausing the remote administrator's session during elevation requests, the user may select the Allow IT Expert to respond to User Account Control prompts check box when setting up the remote assistance session. However, selecting this check box requires that the interactive user respond to an elevation prompt on the secure desktop. If the interactive user is a standard user, the user does not have the required credentials to allow elevation.

If you enable this policy setting, requests for elevation are automatically sent to the interactive desktop (not the secure desktop) and also appear on the remote administrator's view of the desktop during a remote assistance session. This allows the remote administrator to provide the appropriate credentials for elevation.

This policy setting does not change the behavior of the UAC elevation prompt for administrators.

If you plan to enable this policy setting, you should also review the effect of the User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for standard users policy setting. If it is configured as Automatically deny elevation requests, elevation requests are not presented to the user.

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