<

How to disable the secure desktop when User Account Control (UAC) prompts for elevation

Published on
8,087 Points
3,987 Views
6 Endorsements
Last Modified:
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVE
50+ years in computer industry. Everything from development to sales. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015, EE MVE 2016, EE FELLOW 2017.
The default behavior of the User Account Control (UAC) dialog is to disable (gray-out) the rest of the desktop when prompting for elevation. This is known as secure desktop. There are reasons that you may want to disable this secure desktop behavior, such as capturing a screenshot of the UAC dialog or moving one of the other open windows. There are, of course, security reasons for not changing that behavior, which is why Microsoft made Enabled the default. But if you want to disable the secure desktop behavior of the UAC dialog, here are the steps (this technique works in both Windows 7 and Windows 8):

Control Panel
Administrative Tools
Local Security Policy
Local Policies
Security Options


Scroll down to the item User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation:


Security-options.jpg
Double-click it and you will get this dialog:


Disable-secure-desktop-when-UAC-prompts-
Tick the Disabled radio button and then OK. That's it!

To show the effect of disabling the switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation, I used it to be able to capture a screenshot of the UAC dialog for an article that I wrote about the Samsung SSD 840 EVO Performance Restoration Software. With the secure desktop disabled, I was able to hit the Alt-PrintScreen key to capture just the UAC dialog box:


Alt-PrintScreen-while-UAC-dialog-active.
I was also able to position on the screen both the UAC dialog and the window containing the imaging software (IrfanView) that I used to handle the screenshot. So when I hit the PrintScreen key (without the Alt key), I was able to capture the entire desktop with both windows positioned exactly as I wanted them:


PrintScreen-while-UAC-dialog-active.jpg
Update on 25-May-2015: I just tested this technique in the Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview, Build 10122 (the latest Build at the time of this comment) — it works perfectly:

Security-options-W10.jpg
Disable-secure-desktop-when-UAC-prompts-
If you find this article to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. Thanks very much! Regards, Joe
6
Comment
0 Comments

Featured Post

Managing Security & Risk at the Speed of Business

Gartner Research VP, Neil McDonald & AlgoSec CTO, Prof. Avishai Wool, discuss the business-driven approach to automated security policy management, its benefits and how to align security policy management with business processes to address today's security challenges.

Join & Write a Comment

Nobody understands Phishing better than an anti-spam company. That’s why we are providing Phishing Awareness Training to our customers. According to a report by Verizon, only 3% of targeted users report malicious emails to management. With compan…
The Email Laundry PDF encryption service allows companies to send confidential encrypted  emails to anybody. The PDF document can also contain attachments that are embedded in the encrypted PDF. The password is randomly generated by The Email Laundr…

Keep in touch with Experts Exchange

Tech news and trends delivered to your inbox every month