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How To (Really) Completely Disable UAC on Windows 7

One of the best feature changes in Windows 7 is the greatly improved User Account Control system, with a slider to easily control how much the security feature annoys you. But what if you want to really disable UAC entirely?

Update: After doing some more testing, I’ve realized that dragging the slider to the bottom will set the same registry key. So while setting the registry key will disable UAC, so will dragging the slider to the bottom. The trick is that you need to reboot afterwards!

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely disable UAC from the user interface—sure, you can drag the slider all the way down to make sure you never see a notification, but UAC is still running behind the scenes, so you have to continue to “Run as Administrator” for any system tool you use.

Disable UAC with the GUI Interface

Head into Control Panel and type UAC into the search box, or do it from the start menu. Then drag the slider down to the bottom.

User Account Control Settings

The other problem is that some software just doesn’t work properly with User Account Control enabled, especially ancient software that you should probably update anyway.

Big Fat Important Note:

Changing UAC security settings is not a good thing, and you shouldn’t do it. These settings are designed to keep you more secure, and prevent the horrible security problems that plagued Windows XP and previous versions.

Disable UAC With a Registry Hack

Since the only way to completely disable UAC in all versions of Windows 7 is a registry hack To disable UAC via the registry, you’ll need to head to the start menu search box and type in regedit.exe and browse down to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Over on the right-hand side, you should see a setting for EnableLUA, which you’ll want to customize as follows:

  • UAC Enabled: 1
  • UAC Disabled: 0

Disable UAC Regedit 

You’ll need to reboot for the setting to take effect, whether enabling or disabling.

image

Disable UAC the Easy Way with a Downloadable Registry Hack File

Just download, extract, and double-click on the included ReallyDisableUAC-Win7.reg file to disable UAC. You’ll need to reboot for the setting to actually take effect.

There’s also an included registry hack file to re-enable it as well.

Download ReallyDisableUAC-Win7 Registry Hack File

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/8/09

Comments (17)

  1. Zane

    Uhm, are you absolutely sure about this?

    I just tried to lower the slider to the bottom on a Windows 7 RTM x64, then I rebooted. Back to the desktop, I ran an unprivileged cmd: I had no problem at all running any administrative command (such as mklink).

  2. Neut

    Why? Because you can? For years Windows had been criticized for it’s (lack of) safety. Finally they get it right: run your computer as a normal user and get ask be asked for elevated rights when necessary. OK UAC is not perfect, but it has improved compared to the Vista-version. And in normal use you shouldn’t be bugged by it too often. Better safe then sorry in my opinion.

  3. The Geek

    @Zane,

    Looks like you are right – I didn’t reboot after doing it! Loss of geek points for me =(

  4. chris

    Actually there’s another way that involves enabling the admin account and using it as your login but that completely defeats the purpose of the security and should only be used if you know what you’re doing.

  5. Zane

    Thanks The Geek for your update! Mistakes happen, it’s all about fixing em. You are doing an excellent job! ;-)

  6. Charles Kane

    Is it friendly to say that this is an utterly stupid suggestion? UAC in 7 genuinely adds a modicum of security with a minimum of interference and you are telling everyday users to turn it off! Bizarre.
    As Microsoft says:”Not recommended”. Can I add “unless you REALLY know what you are doing and what the consequences are.

  7. Debi

    I keep my UAC disabled by:
    1. Run
    2. [type] msconfig
    3. [System Confi window opens] Tools Tab
    4. [scroll to] Disable UAC
    5. click: Launch
    6. click: Okay

    Done. You will have to live with the RED X warning on your toolbar, but the annoying features are gone.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Mary

    @ Charles Kane … Turning UAC off is actually a very good idea if you know what you are doing, and know what programs are good or not for you’re computer. UAC was designed more for those that are average users that don’t know the more technical side to computers and fall for things like pop ups that have seizure lights telling that your computer is infected so you should hit the okay button to download “malware protection software” LoL..

    If you are a gamer especially.. if you don’t turn of UAC… you might as well use your gaming PC as a door stop because you won’t get anywhere.. hehe.. but I’m glad they added this adjusting slider.. at least now you can choose if you still want a little protection instead of Windows Vista option where its either on or off.

  9. Andreas

    If you are a gamer especially.. if you don’t turn of UAC… you might as well use your gaming PC as a door stop because you won’t get anywhere.. hehe..

    Haha, thats true. I disabled it as fast as I knew how.
    As somebody sad in another article. If you have decent Anti-virus software, UAC should not be needed.

    By the way.
    Those who read this article is propably not people that would shout “HELP, Something happend!”, when they exidently opened a new Explorer window…

  10. calebstein

    I just use an admin account and change the ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin key’s value to 0 to disable uac for admins only.

  11. Sylvia

    I actually like UAC…a lot. And I would hardly consider myself the average user.

  12. Jack

    UAC

    Okay it might not be bad for some people though it is incredibly annoying and slows one down. Also it has stopped me accessing my own files before as ‘I didn’t have permission’ as an Administrator. My PC is just that; a personal computer. No-one but myself uses it. I always keep all my files, programs and system files organised and (fairly) secure. UAC can make some of the most simpliest tasks irritating and frustrating. In conjunction with switching off UAC the second most useful thing I have used is ‘TakeOwnership’ registry edit for when it tells me I cannot access system files, my documents, my pictures, my videos, etc. I still don’t understand why as an Administrator you are not allowed to access these crucial areas of the system, that is the point of an administrator. So to say that it is rediculous to switch UAC off is in itself rediculous. Also UAC’s behaviour cannot learn in anyway what-so-ever and asks for permission to do the same tasks repetatively.

    As a comparison to Linux root user, when you need permission a dialog box pops up merely asking you to log in as root. This is simple and efficient, takes barely any time out of your day and as root you are logged in for X amount of time or until you log out and return to normal user. If they implemented a similar system for Windoze then I would not be too bothered and probably leave UAC on. As it is it can take hours to set up a system that should take you minutes. Plus as I mentioned before it restricting me from accessing my own files is INCREDIBLY frustrating. (I mean, why? They are my files?). Also in conjucntion with other software such as system restore and back-ups it is incredibly easy to fix any minor or major problems that occur. I do like system restore and most of the way they have implemented it is good (They say that it won’t effect your personal files though this is not true, it will, just may not edit some of the files).

    Though after installing a new version of Windoze it does take me about an hour to switch off all the over pretective software and settings. Such as warnings, UAC, etc. which I find completely useless. I know what programs I have installed, I know when and how I installed them. I also know when there is something wrong, missing, corrupt, deleted, or a false program installed. Most of it is rather obvious. Occasionally you might need virus scan, restore or backup: Again which is basic.

  13. Aviad Raviv

    @Jack, I could not agree more…

    Moreover for everyone who thinks that UAC is windows version of “sudo”… think again…
    Mark Russinovich (the windows architect) himself said that UAC is *NOT* a security boundary.
    case in point:
    http://www.msteched.com/2009/Europe/SIA301
    (go to minute 54:00 if you don’t want to see the rest of the stuff in the video)

    so the point of it all being, yes you can leave UAC on for grandma and tell her that if the UAC black window comes up to call you, or simply turn it off.

  14. Neferius

    Sorry to burst your bubble here folks, but this tweak doesn’t REALLY disable UAC, it just puts it in silent-mode, which believe-it-or-not is actually Worse than having it actively nagging you.

    Don’t believe me?
    Do you constantly get those milky-white freeze-screens? If-so, is your UAC also “disabled” ?

    See, what happens is that every time you start a program, UAC still silently evaluates it by God-knows what guidelines, so instead of getting a nag-screen you get those god-annoying white freeze-screens.

    So then why WOULD you want to turn off UAC notifying!?

    Now that is a Legitimate question… as it turns-out many perfectly Legit open-end applications just can’t function properly without uninhibited administrative-rights (MeGUI to name just one)
    But, if you are certain that you do not use any such applications, nor will you ever have the need to, then it is best to just leave UAC on Low.

  15. Solaris

    I so much hate this annoyance. I got rid of it from my vista pc, but I can’t still install anything on my seven laptop even with the damn slider at minimum. Help!

    [rant]
    It’s so useless to warn the user every time he dares click anything, especially when any puny virus out there can ground zero your pc with no effort. Is the reason really safety, or rather to avoid legit users complaints by telling them, I’m sorry if your pc got burned down to ashes, but we actually recommend not to turn off our great UAC device for a reason. So whatever happened to you it’s your own business and not ours (bye).
    [/rant]

  16. Patron Anejo

    There is no reason for there to be any argument about this. UAC was intended for an enterprise setting; it has some limited utility in other shared (e.g., family-) settings as well, but it is counterproductive in settings where the Administrator is the sole user of the machine.

    This following passages are canonical guidance from Microsoft themselves [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc709691(WS.10).aspx]:

    “One of the common misconceptions about UAC (same-desktop elevation in particular) is that it prevents malware from being installed or from gaining administrative rights. Malware can be written so that it does not require administrative rights, and to write only to areas in the user’s profile. UAC’s same-desktop elevation is not a security boundary, and it can be hijacked by unprivileged software running on the same desktop.”

    > That is, there is no legitimate argument with a basis in UAC affording protection against malware.

    STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURE FOR THE ITPRO TO DISABLE UAC:

    –Click Start, click Accessories, click Run, type secpol.msc in the Open box, and then click OK.
    –From the Local Security Settings console tree, click Local Policies, and then click Security Options.
    –Select User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode to disable all UAC features.

    “An option to avoid elevation prompts without disabling UAC is to set the security policy ‘User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode’ to ‘Elevate without prompting.’ With this setting, elevation requests are silently approved if the logged-on user is a member of the Administrators group. This also leaves PMIE and other UAC features enabled. However, not all operations that require administrative rights request elevation. This can result in a situation in which some of the user’s programs are elevated and some are not, often with no way to distinguish between them. For example, most console utilities that require administrative rights expect to be launched from an elevated Command Prompt or other elevated program. Such utilities fail if they are launched from a non-elevated Command Prompt”

    > That is, “Elevate Without Prompting” only quiets UAC–you trade off not being bugged by it for not knowing if your application is about to fail.

    “When the sole reason for interactive logon is to administer the system, the goal of fewer elevation prompts is neither feasible nor desirable. System administrative tools legitimately require administrative rights. When all the administrative user’s tasks require administrative rights and each task could trigger an elevation prompt, the prompts are a hindrance to productivity.”

    > That is, if you are the only user on the machine you should not have to deal with a split (filtered/admin) token.

    The GUI slider method is a good choice for the non-techie–but if you’re a non-techie, should you trust your own judgement over the importance of UAC? According to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee679793(WS.10).aspx, the Never Notify setting does the following:

    -The Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode policy setting is set to Elevate without prompting.
    -The User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation policy setting is disabled.
    -The User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode policy setting is disabled.
    -UAC is disabled.

  17. Paul K.

    If you use a standard user account and a separate admin account, then UAC becomes a true security boundary. This is the recommended setup if you care about security. Disabilng UAC is not a good idea.

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