Yankee Group: Windows Vista to alienate business with disruptive security features

“Vista’s new security features will make for such a disruptive user experience that business users might want to steer clear of the operating system for the time being, according to Yankee Group… the new features will make it difficult for many enterprises to upgrade their users, because of usability issues. One problem is that features such as User Account Control, designed to reduce the impact of attacks by limiting users’ privileges, are likely to irritate users and IT administrators,” Matthew Broersma reports for Techworld.

“‘Although the new security system shows promise, it is far too chatty and annoying,’ wrote analyst Andrew Jaquith in the report. He said many people using the tools have said they deliver unnecessarily repetitive messages, have a patronizing feel and interrupt administrators’ work patterns,” Broersma reports.

Full article here.

Paul Thurrott writes for SuperSite for Windows, “Modern operating systems like Linux and Mac OS X operate under a security model where even administrative users don’t get full access to certain features unless they provide an in-place logon before performing any task that might harm the system. This type of security model protects users from themselves, and it is something that Microsoft should have added to Windows years and years ago… In Windows Vista, Microsoft is indeed moving to this kind of security model. The feature is called User Account Protection (UAP) and, as you might expect, it prevents even administrative users from performing potentially dangerous tasks without first providing security credentials, thus ensuring that the user understands what they’re doing before making a critical mistake. It sounds like a good system. But this is Microsoft, we’re talking about here. They completely botched UAP.”

“The bad news, then, is that UAP is a sad, sad joke. It’s the most annoying feature that Microsoft has ever added to any software product, and yes, that includes that ridiculous Clippy character from older Office versions. The problem with UAP is that it throws up an unbelievable number of warning dialogs for even the simplest of tasks. That these dialogs pop up repeatedly for the same action would be comical if it weren’t so amazingly frustrating. It would be hilarious if it weren’t going to affect hundreds of millions of people in a few short months. It is, in fact, almost criminal in its insidiousness,” Thurrott writes. “…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. It will never stop bothering you, unless you agree to stop your silliness and leave that file on the desktop where it belongs. Mark my words, this will happen to you. And you will hate it.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We won’t hate it, Paul. We’ll be using Mac OS X Leopard, not a “amazingly frustrating… sad, sad joke… almost criminal… botched” copy of it. The real “sad, sad joke” is that Microsoft seems to have convinced so many that they need Microsoft in order to partake in personal computing. More people would be far better off if they had fewer or no Microsoft products anywhere near their computers. Tell that to most people and they’ll look at you with mouths more agape than usual, but it’s a fact. 100% Microsoft-free and loving every minute of it.

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Related article:
Defending Windows over Mac a sign of mental illness – December 21, 2003
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003


  1. “It’s the most annoying feature that Microsoft has ever added to any software product, and yes, that includes that ridiculous Clippy character from older Office versions”

    Then it must be really really bad. They better fix it, or even the rabid MS fanboys won’t use it. That would be too bad.

  2. I know this is a bit off subject…but I was in CompUSA the other day and ran across an Intel iMac running Windows. It was just plainly wierd, kind of disturbing, and rather sad. I always liked the Mac corner that CompUSA had, now it’s being infected slowly by a virus. Literally.

  3. I think Microsoft should patent the “stacking/repeating dialog boxes” concept. It’s definitely a hallmark of using their software.

    My personal favorite is clicking the cancel button on something in progress, then getting an error message (or 3) stating that it couldn’t be completed. LOL

  4. for the first week or two.

    Then you learn new habits and just pretty much OK every request, and get used to typing your password when asked.

    Once you’re in the new groove, you can cut through the new security messages without taking too much time to read every one.

    They are annoying, but they make Vista secure and virus-free like Macs.

    Kudos to Mac for getting their first, but next year Windows will join you!

  5. This is what happens to a company that has gained market share unfairly. You know, like the guy that gets away with cheating until they can’t anymore and finally fail miserably.

    This is Microsoft. They must compete now and obviously don’t have the talent to do so. Back in 2000-2001 when tech was in a downturn, Steve Jobs said the only way out is to innovate your way out. Apple has done so, Microsoft hasn’t or more truthfully….can’t.

  6. “Then you learn new habits and just pretty much OK every request, and get used to typing your password when asked.”

    And sooner or later, you type it when you shouldn’t have and it’s welcome back to virusland.

  7. The scary part comes when MS starts trying to backpedal and bolt-on things AFTER the deisgn is done–to try to make this rat’s nest a little easier. Bloat on bloat. JUST what you want in terms of security features!

    They’ll end up making mistakes and adding security holes just from trying to “fix” the usability problem, and they’ll end up with neither security NOR usability. They sure don’t change their ways. Complex code for no reason, complex for the user for no reason.

    And the boat’s too big to change course now.

  8. The irony of it all is that if these dialogs are this disruptive, IT staffs will be under immense pressure to simply give all users security clearance logins (i.e., simply make them Administrators) so they don’t have to spend all their time fielding phone calls about the next dialog box to pop up. So this “grand scheme” of Microsoft’s to add/increase security will actually backfire, and more users will have full access to the system just to avoid Clippy flashbacks.

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