How to Disable User Account Control Secure Desktop mode - dummies

How to Disable User Account Control Secure Desktop mode

By Dan Gookin

Windows 7 and Windows Vista ask if you want to Allow or Cancel almost every attempt to do something in Windows. It is called User Account Control (UAC) and is Microsoft’s attempt to ratchet up security. But it can also be very annoying.

The UAC tends to dominate the desktop. It not only beeps — it also places the screen into Secure Desktop mode: The screen goes dark and, in fact, no other program can use the display until you dismiss the UAC.

Disabling Secure Desktop mode doesn’t reduce the level of security for the UAC. In fact, it merely allows you to see the UAC without dimming the desktop. Other programs can still access the screen, such as a screen capture utility, but that’s not considered a security exploit.


Here’s how to disable this feature:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose System and Security or System and Maintenance and then choose Administrative Tools.

  3. Open the Local Security Policy icon.

  4. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password to proceed.

  5. On the left side of the window, choose the Local Policies folder.

  6. Open the Security Options folder.

    A list of settings is shown on the right side of the window.

  7. Double-click the setting titled User Account Control: Switch to Secure Desktop When Prompting for Elevation.

  8. Choose Disabled.

  9. Click OK.

  10. Close the Local Security Policy window and the Administrative Tools window.