Disable the UAC in Windows Server 2012

How to Turn-off the User Account Control in Server 2012Disable the Windows 8 UAC

If you get annoyed by the UAC dialog box, then this page explains how to disable these nagging messages on Windows Server 2012.

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Locate the UAC Policy Settings

As with so many settings on a Windows computer you can control what happens via Group Policies.  Since we are talking about Server 2012, our first decision is whether to call for the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), or the Local Group Policy Editor, the choice depends on whether the server is part of domain.Disable the UAC Windows Server 2012

  • At the Metro UI type: Secpol.msc, or
    In Server Manager, click Tools menu
    Security policy settings.
  • Remember UAC is a Computer Configuration.
  • Head for Windows Settings
  • Security Settings
  • Local Policies
  • Security Options. 
  • Now if you scroll down to the bottom there are several policies to disable the UAC.

User Account Control: Behaviour of the elevation promptDisable the UAC Windows Server 2012

To turn off the 'Continue ..' dialog box select this setting: User Account Control: Behaviour of the elevation prompt,
'Elevate without prompting'.

Elevate without prompting: Allows privileged accounts to perform an operation that requires elevation without requiring consent or credentials. Note: Use this option only in the most constrained environments.

Observe in the screenshot above how all the other settings controlling the behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode, require credentials or prompt for consent.  See more about configuring User Account Control: Behaviour of the elevation prompt

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More UAC Policies for Windows Server 2012

This screenshot illustrates how you could disable the UAC in Windows Server 2012.

Elevate withoug prompting UAC Windows Server 2012

Other UAC security options worth investigating include:

  • Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account.
  • Allow UIAccess applications to prompt without elevation without using the secure desktop.
  • Behavior of the elevation prompt for standard users.
  • Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode.
  • See further discussion of UAC settings.

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An Example of User Account Control (UAC) in Windows Server 2012 Windows Windows Server 2008 Safer

Let us consider this situation, you needed to install a driver, Windows Server 2012 presents you with a dialog box. After reading the UAC menu, you click: ‘Continue’ and thus receive elevated rights for the duration of the task. The key concept is you don’t have to logoff and logon as an administrator. Instead Windows Server 2012 just switches tokens, performs the named task, and then returns you to normal user status.

As an example of UAC in action, let us assume that you wish to check the new System Restore settings. You launch the System Icon, (Windows Key and Pause / Break) then you click on ‘System Protection’ and up pops a Windows Security box – even if you are the Administrator. To gain the elevated rights needed to complete your mission, just click the ‘Continue’ button.  See screen shot below.User Account Control in Windows Windows Server 2008

A good habit to cultivate is always to check that the program specified in the central band, is the program you intended; in this case, ‘Change Computer Settings’. Beware that if you are connected to the internet, then sites may have rogue programs that mimic this menu and trick you into installing Spyware.

Background to the Windows Server 2012 UAC

The first point to realize is that by default even the administrator needs elevated privileges to make certain changes to the operating system.  The good news is that you can avoid this nagging dialog box provided you are willing to take the risk that a rogue program, or more likely, an unintentional action could cripple your Windows server.

As a security measure the operating system temporarily blocks any executable that seeks to make a change that requires an administrator’s approval. Each time this happens you can either click the ‘Continue’ button in the dialog box, or else modify the policy to disable the Windows Server 2012 UAC.

The benefit of using theWindows Server 2012s User Account Control (UAC) is that it enables you to run applications such as Excel, but in the context of an ordinary user.  Then when you need to perform Administrative tasks such as installing a driver, UAC prompts you the necessary rights, all you need to do is click on ‘Continue’ and you have the permission to complete that one task.

Evolution of Windows Server 2012 User Account Control

Microsoft has not changed the UAC much from Server 2008 to Server 2012.  There seems less debate on the merits of UAC this time around.  Administrators seem polarized between those who turn it off, and those who accept the dialog box.  Microsoft has helped by allowing more tasks to complete without the need for elevated privileges, thus less intrusion of the dialog box, and as a result less complaints from administrators.  For example: we can adjust the mouse or amend the Power Settings without the UAC appearing.

In Beta versions of Windows Server 2008, UAC was called UAP (User Account Protection). More than just a change of acronym, this indicated that UAC is part of a larger security area, which Microsoft are rapidly evolving.

User Account Control is a development of least-privilege user access, or LUA. My view is that User Account Control has grown out of the ‘Run as..’ feature of Windows Server 2003 or the ‘Switch User’ feature of XP.  

Windows Server 2012 Run as Administrator

There are programs such as Regedit where you need to right-click and 'Run as administrator'.  PowerShell or cmd would be other programs where certain tasks result in an error message such as:

The requested operation requires elevation’.

The answer to avoiding this message is to think ahead and 'Run as administrator.  Even better, find the 'Advanced Box', and tick the box so that you always receive elevated administrative privileges.

  • Right-click the Metro tile, or the shortcut icon.
  • Select 'Properties'.
  • Select the Shortcut (tab).
  • Click on Advanced (button).
  • Tick: Run as administrator.
  • Press OK!

Run as administrator - Windows Server 2012 'The requested operation requires elevation'

See also SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor

Summary of Disable UAC in Windows Server 2012

The problem is the User Account Control dialog box interrupts the flow of configuring a setting. The solution of editing the group policy is a little more tricky on Server 2012 in a domain, than Windows 8 client in a workgroup.

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Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Topics

Windows Server 2012 Home   • Disable UAC Windows Server 2012   • Server 2012 Chkdsk Utility

Install Windows Server 2012   • PowerShell Add-WindowsFeature   • Network Performance Monitor

Shutdown Windows Server 2012   • Disable Shutdown Event Tracker Server 2012