Windows Vista introduced privilege elevation prompts, dialog boxes that confirm administrator level actions such as installing new software, deleting files from sensitive locations, and so on.

Many find the feature annoying, which (oddly) was the original point. Personally, I appreciate the opportunity to avoid accidentally deleting an important file; however, I know this view isn't universal.

I do find the elevation experience jarring—especially since I prefer trackballs over traditional mice. When Windows displays an elevation prompt, my trackball stops responding until the prompt is handled. (I suspect this has something to do with permissions that have not yet been properly coded into the underlying drivers or their installation process. I haven't investigated deeply.)

To manage, I've come to rely on keyboard shortcuts:

  • To quickly accept an elevation prompt, press Left Arrow and then press Enter.
  • To cancel, press Esc.
  • You can continue many elevation prompts by pressing Spacebar. (In my experience, support varies in different Windows versions.)

I've found the Left Arrow + Enter shortcut consistent in every version of Windows since Vista. Ironically, it's nearly an automatic response for me. Since automatic responses are also inattentive responses, one wonders: was deliberate annoyance was all that effective in the long run?

Revision History

27 Jan 2017: Original post.