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On my Vista machine I never noticed any lag with the UAC lightbox, but on Windows 7 the desktop disappears, then there is a definite delay of about a second of black screen before it pops up - just enough to make you worry!

Is this typical and if not, is there anything I can do to speed it up?

The box is a Dell Vostro with Core 2 Duo E7500 (2.93GHz) & 3GB RAM running Windows 7 Professional. It only has X4500HD integrated graphics, but I can't imagine this is a limiting factor on its own.

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Believe it or not I think the graphics is actually a factor. I have a laptop with both NVS4200m discrete and the intel hd graphics. When I use discrete the UAC prompt shows up much faster (quarter second) than when I am running in optimus (discrete/integrated hybrid) mode (maybe 2 seconds). – fostandy Dec 1 '11 at 6:50
Yes, I've now seen this behaviour when running on other integrated Intel graphics hardware. It's not so much the fundamental lack of grunt, more the architecture/implementation that seems to cause the problem. – Lunatik Dec 1 '11 at 16:40
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Is this when you deal with larger installer files? UAC scans the files for security directives embedded inside, for larger files this will take longer.

If the darkening of the desktop is bugging you, you can turn UAC down 1 level from the default, which turns off the "Secure Desktop" feature. Your desktop won't dim but UAC will still prompt you as before. The UAC prompting will feel snappier too. The dimming may be a little slow on the integrated graphics, making the whole UAC process feel slow.

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Nope, the delay seems pretty much constant, everything from <100KB freeware apps to mega installs like Visual Studio seem to take about the same time. – Lunatik Jan 10 '10 at 23:22
Do you notice an improvement without the Secure Desktop feature? – John T Jan 10 '10 at 23:23
Yes, it is much snappier now. Is the visual effect the only change that changing this setting affects? – Lunatik Jan 10 '10 at 23:32
No. A virus could now attempt to automatically accept the dialog. I haven't come across one yet, but it is possible. Most coders target the bigger audience when creating malware, with that said, most users leave UAC on the default setting, so it's unlikely someone would code something to target this. But if you see a UAC dialog get automatically accepted after making this change, that's a sign right there that you should scan your system. – John T Jan 10 '10 at 23:37
Thanks, I'll maybe just re-enable it then. I actually like the idea behind the lightbox as it would highlight the rogue install where a standard "Are you sure?" box might slip past unnoticed. I'm slowly releasing the iron grip that was necessary on 2000/XP and would prefer to work with Windows nowadays rather than fight against it, micro-managing the smallest parts of the OS in the name of efficiency & a better user experience. This gets to be a real pain when moving between PCs or upgrading. If at all possible I'm trying to leave Windows settings at default now. – Lunatik Jan 10 '10 at 23:45

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