So I've hit upon a problem with Vista's User Access Control: it's not configurable at all. I understand what it's trying to do, and I actually want it to do that, because spyware sucks, and this is for a client. I don't want to disable UAC completely. But I do need to make some exceptions, and there appears to be no way to do that.
My client has a RAID controller that has a monitoring application which runs in the taskbar. Obviously, this monitoring application needs to directly interact with the hardware, so it's going to need Administrator privileges. Upon completing the installation, the installer asks if you'd like to run the app, and since the installer had Administrator privileges, the app now does too. However, when you reboot and the app tries to start on its own, it starts without Administrator privileges, and doesn't work. Fortunately this is easy to fix: go to the Properties for the app, and check a box to make it always run as Administrator.
But now it can't run automatically at startup. User Access Control doesn't allow that. A helpful little balloon informs you that it's been blocked. You can run it manually (via that balloon), but there is no way to add an exception, no way to tell it “I understand the issue but this one specific program is OK, just trust me.” Microsoft says you can either run it manually (not a great idea for RAID monitoring), or you can disable it so it won't pop up the balloon anymore. The only other option is to completely disable UAC.
Here's hoping Service Pack 1 kicks ass.