UAC is a security component introduced since Microsoft Windows Vista and higher versions. UAC enables users to perform common tasks as non-administrators and as administrators without having to switch users, log off, or use Run As. Usually a non-administrator account is called as Standard User account. If a Standard User or Administrator tries to perform administrative tasks or run applications, the user will be prompted with an UAC dialog box, like the ones which are given below.
UAC dialog box as displayed to standard users
UAC dialog box as displayed to administrators
For example, when a Standard User or an Administrator tries to access the control panel, an UAC dialog box gets displayed and prompts whether to allow the change. Once the administrator password is entered by the Standard User or the respective consent is provided by the Administrator, the change is allowed. Similar elevation prompt also appears for launching applications including Zoho Assist.
UAC elevation prompts are displayed on the Secure Desktop instead of the user’s normal desktop. The Secure Desktop mode is the same mode that a user sees, when he/she logs on to the computer or presses the Secure Attention Sequence (SAS) keystroke (Ctrl+Alt+Delete). Typically, in a remote session, the Support Technician can only view the host user's normal desktop. As a result, he/she won't be able to view the UAC prompt appearing in the Client's secure desktop. With this latest update, Zoho Assist is able detect the UAC dialog box and informs the Support Technician, so that he can ask the client to bring the UAC to the normal desktop.
Let us explore the solution step-by-step as a typical remote session, initiated by a Support Technician and a Client joining the session to make his/her PC available for remote control. This document assumes that the Client has logged in using Standard User Account.
1. A Client joins the remote session by connecting to http://join.zoho.com/, and the following page appears.
Client would enter the Meeting Key/Session ID sent with the
invitation mail from the Support Technician. Then he/she will click the
'Join Session' Button which leads to the following screen.
3. Client will click the 'download software' button and it prompts the 'save file' dialog window as given below.
4. Client would click the 'Save File' button and the join-xxxxxx.exe file gets downloaded.
5. When the Client opens the downloaded .exe file, 'Open File - Security warning' dialog box appears.
6. Once the Client clicks the 'run' button, UAC dialog box appears.
7. The Client may enter the Administrator password and start the program. But even if he/she doesn't enters the Administrator password, still the program starts but it leads to the following scenario.
8. The session will start and the PC will be available for the Support Technician to control as shown below.
9. Now, let us analyze how the application will detect the UAC dialog
box. Let us consider a scenario when the Support Technician wants to
check the 'Local Area Connection Properties' (an action which belongs
to Administrator Control). The Support Technician would right-click the
'Open Network and Sharing Center' tab in the Host User's 'System Tray'
as shown below.
10. It opens the 'Network and Sharing Center' window.
11. Now, to check the 'Local Area Connection Properties', the user
should click the 'Local Area Connection' button in the above window. It
leads to a new window, 'Local Area Connection Status'.
12. When the Support Technician clicks the 'Properties' tab, the UAC
dialog box appears in the Client PC but it will not be visible to the
Support Technician. The updated Zoho Assist will detect
the invisible UAC dialog box and prompts an intuitive 'Run Service
Mode' window to the Support Technician as shown below. Thus, it notifies
the Support Technician that the session is running without UAC elevation.
13. The Support Technician should click the 'Run in Service Mode' tab
and it prompts a small, assist admin credentials window, titled 'Zoho
Assist' in the Client PC. This window will be visible to the Support Technician. But, the Client won't be able to view it since the UAC
dialog box which is displayed on the Secure Desktop, will hide this window.
Hence, the Support Technician should inform the Client through the
in-built chat or through Audio Conference. He/She should advise to cancel the UAC dialog box in the Client PC and to
enter the Administrator password in the 'Zoho Assist' window.
14. Once the Client enters Administrator credentials, the Assist
session gets restarted and the UAC dialog box will get displayed to the
Support Technician.(Note: The UAC dialog box below has several accounts
listed below. But usually, it may or may not have several accounts and need
not to be with the user names as given below. This screen is for demo
15. Now, either the Client or the Support Technician can enter the
Administrator password to open the 'Local Area Connection Properties'
window. Once the password gets entered, the window appears as shown
If the Client wishes to share the Administrator password to the
Support Technician, it can be used by the Support Technician in the
session for further use. But, if the Client doesn't wants to share
the Administrator password, then he/she can input the credentials,
whenever the UAC dialog box gets displayed and help the Support Technician to control the PC.