Protected Mode for IE7 in Windows Vista - Is it On or Off?
Here is an excellent article explains how IE's protected mode may be disabled:
I have always discouraged users from disabling UAC - yes, it can be irritating to see a prompt when you want to undertake certain tasks on your computer, but such protections are the reality that we have to deal with if we want to stay secure.
We don't know what vulnerabilities may be discovered today, tomorrow, or further down the track so we have to adopt the mindset that prevention is always better than cure. Reality is that Users of IE7 under Vista who had Protected Mode enabled were/are protected from being infected by the high-profile ANI exploit if they happen to hit a hacked Web site. It is also reality that the hacking of legitimate Web sites to insert hostile code in an attempt to infect any visitors via whatever security exploit is a growth industry. We can no longer be certain that if we only go to 'safe' sites that we will not be at risk. Look at the ASUS site hosted in Taiwan - it's been hacked *twice* that I know of, as has a slew of other high profile sites, including Yahoo India and other big names.
So, all of us have to make a choice. Which do we prefer - an occasional (and yes, it *is* occasional for the average user - don't believe the Apple adverts) prompt for elevation permission that takes only a second or two to address, or the risk of having to spend hours, if not days to clean up your computer if it is compromised, or even having to reformat? I'll take the former thank you.