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Why is SWTOR requesting UAC Elevation?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Why is SWTOR requesting UAC Elevation?

Vesperascit's Avatar


Vesperascit
01.07.2012 , 06:32 AM | #21
Quote: Originally Posted by FloatingFatMan View Post
When a program request elevated priviledges, it means it wants unrestricted access to the core of the entire OS; from there it can do literally ANYthing to your computer. Turning off the prompt that asks you to verify if you really want to allow this is rather stupid.

Sure, the other stuff you use will help, but they won't protect you from everything.
That is what I thought it did. And yes I know that but as I said I also keep an eye on processes to make sure nothing is running that shouldn't be.

Also OP, what OS are you running? I know UAC means you are using Vista or Win7 but I am still curious.
Squadron 238
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bludwork's Avatar


bludwork
01.07.2012 , 06:46 AM | #22
Quote: Originally Posted by FloatingFatMan View Post
When a program request elevated priviledges, it means it wants unrestricted access to the core of the entire OS; from there it can do literally ANYthing to your computer. Turning off the prompt that asks you to verify if you really want to allow this is rather stupid.

Sure, the other stuff you use will help, but they won't protect you from everything.
That's not how it works.

When a program is launched the manifest file determines whether it requires elevated permission or not. In other word's it's not "program wants to do something dangerous, show UAC prompt". It's "Program needs admin privileges when it runs, show UAC prompt".

The difference is subtle but important. For example if a program does NOT require admin privileges in the manifest file and it writes to the program files directory, whatever it writes will be put in the virtual store.

If a program requires admin privileges in the manifest file, it will write to the actual program files folder.

The SWTOR launcher requires UAC elevation because it can do patches, I'm not sure whehter the actual game is launched in admin mode though, the prompt only shows for the launcher and not the game itself.

Mephane's Avatar


Mephane
01.07.2012 , 06:58 AM | #23
I found that if starting the game in XP compatibility mode, it does not request admin priviledges at all; so I suppose that those priviledges are not needed at all for neither the launcher nor the game, heh.

It looks like bad coding on the launcher side, here, as what I also found was that the launcher did not just try to elevate its priviledges, but to fully impersonate admin role - the AppData directory it uses is that of the admin account, while programs are in principle able to use admin priviledges for certain tasks while still running under the actual user's account, but it requires more work from the programmers.

Or maybe it's just an entry in the launcher's manifest that flags it as an installer, Vista and above automatically treat anything considered an installer as requiring admin priviledges (try it, any application names like "setup" or "install" suddenly automatically triggers a UAC prompt, by just having this name), even if they don't.

Quote: Originally Posted by bludwork View Post
When a program is launched the manifest file determines whether it requires elevated permission or not. In other word's it's not "program wants to do something dangerous, show UAC prompt". It's "Program needs admin privileges when it runs, show UAC prompt".

The difference is subtle but important. For example if a program does NOT require admin privileges in the manifest file and it writes to the program files directory, whatever it writes will be put in the virtual store.
Yes andn no. A program can, at runtime, request higher priviledges without impersonating a higher priviledges user, but that is more complicated than just a manifest entry.

Quote: Originally Posted by bludwork View Post
The SWTOR launcher requires UAC elevation because it can do patches, I'm not sure whehter the actual game is launched in admin mode though, the prompt only shows for the launcher and not the game itself.
When the launcher is run under an admin account, the game is automatically also run under that account. Go and have a look at SWTOR's AppData directory, you may find it inside your admin account's user directory.

But as I mentioned running it in XP compatibility mode removes the necessity for admin mode entirely, so it is definitely not doing anything that wouldn't work without.
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bludwork's Avatar


bludwork
01.07.2012 , 07:13 AM | #24
This is false. You cannot elevate a process at runtime, there's no manifest entry to do that. The only way is to launch another process that requires elevated permission. That's one way they could have done it, to run the launcher in non elevated mode and then use another application that requires elevated mode to do the patching.

-An elevated process cannot "downgrade" itself. Once it is run elevated it stays elevated.
-A non elevated process cannot "upgrade" itself. Once it is run non-elevated it stays that way.
-An elevated process can start a separate non elevated process
-A non elevated process can start a separate elevated process.

The launcher is not the same as the game. if you look in your taskman you will see two swtor exectuables, the launcher and the game.

Not getting the UAC prompt in compatibility mode means nothing, the application can work in non elevated mode it just won't be able to do certain things WHEN it needs to. For example, if a non-elevated app tries to start a service or do something that requires elevation, the function call will fail with access denied. App will continue working just fine. You won't see any prompts, just weird behavior (if that behavior is triggered at all).

Vesperascit's Avatar


Vesperascit
01.07.2012 , 07:18 AM | #25
The two processes in the Task Manager are the client itself (swtor.exe) and swtor.exe @RemoteRendererServer.icb

I assume it's the Remote Renderer Server that is causing the UAC to require elevation. I am not 100% on that but I assume since it is a Remote Server (according to that name anyways, i could very well be wrong.
Squadron 238
Never Forget .! It is for him that we fight! All Hail .!

A Jedi is just a Sith who has yet to realize his full potential

Zatie's Avatar


Zatie
01.07.2012 , 07:41 AM | #26
It's simply not good practice to run any user mode program as an adminisatrator, regardless of how knowledgeable or secure you think your computer might be. You won't find many sysadmin's running servers with network applications with admin level privileges, so why would you want to do that on your own PC either? You didn't write this software, so you don't know what you are allowing it to do by granting it full rights to your whole system.

Regardless of this debate, it's simply not good practice to run applications with admin privileges. Moreover, this application (SWTOR) doesn't even need admin privs to operate imo - you should be more concerned about why it's asking for it in the first place.

Disabling UAC prompting is not a wise idea - you have even less chance of noticing when an application is granted rights to your system.

Catch_TwentyTwo's Avatar


Catch_TwentyTwo
01.07.2012 , 07:41 AM | #27
Quote: Originally Posted by FloatingFatMan View Post
Also nothing to do with it. I don't have TOR installed in the default directory or even primary HD, yet it still requires elevation. It's not the first MMO to do so either, and it's annoying as there really is no need for it unless they have built in anti-cheat systems that need to monitor other processes.
I was of the understanding that they have exactly this...
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FloatingFatMan's Avatar


FloatingFatMan
01.07.2012 , 07:43 AM | #28
Quote: Originally Posted by Catch_TwentyTwo View Post
I was of the understanding that they have exactly this...
I suspect that's the real reason, but I've never seen any official confirmation of it.

Thiussat's Avatar


Thiussat
01.07.2012 , 08:18 AM | #29
Quote: Originally Posted by FloatingFatMan View Post
99% of computer users don't even know what EMET is.
And EMET doesn't stop malicious software. It is merely a memory hardening mechanism that helps stop buffer overflows and the like. EMET is merely an interface to configure ASLR on programs. ASLR is not foolproof. It is one layer that helps, but it is NOT a silver bullet.

(BTW, I am a long time Linux user here, and Linux had ASLR about 6 years before Windows did, so I am thoroughly familiar with how it works and what it does. It makes exploiting buggy apps harder but not impossible).

Fuzzyneoprene's Avatar


Fuzzyneoprene
01.07.2012 , 08:54 AM | #30
Read the EULA and it will make more sense. EA/BW is going a step beyond process monitoring and will scan your computer for installed programs without any prior notice.

You may proceed with the QQ