Stop User Account Control (UAC) screen flicker / flash

Posted in Windows Vista by Steve Sinchak

Every time I get one of those UAC prompts asking me to authorize an administrative action my LCD screen flashes when the box pops up. This is caused by the switch to the secure desktop, similar to what happens when you hit CTRL + ALT + DELETE. The only difference is that the background is a snapshot of your desktop that gives it the effect that it is just a pop up window. Although if you look carefully you will notice it is static since the clock does not change and anything else that was animated is now static. The secure desktop provides an extra level of security to UAC by making it immune to any application that may try to automate the click on the allow button bypassing the purpose of UAC.

This sounds like a great thing but it is really annoying to me. I hate that screen flicker. Rather than disable UAC, there is a better alternative.  Instead, I can just disable the secure desktop switch that causes the flicker. I know this is not as secure but it is better than disabling UAC completely. 

Follow the steps below to disable UAC secure desktop:

  1. Click on the Start Button and key in secpol.msc and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through Local Policies and Security Options.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and right click on "User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation" and select Properties.
  4. Set the option to Disabled and hit OK.
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