In Windows 7 or Vista, the screen goes dark when the User Account Control window comes up, which is extremely annoying. They call it the “Secure Desktop”, but I think it’s obnoxious.

Note that this will make your system less secure before proceeding.

Windows 7 Makes it Easy

If you are running Windows 7, you can simply head into the UAC settings in Control Panel (or type UAC into the search box), and drag the slider down until you see “Do not dim the desktop”.

That’s all there is to it!

Windows Vista Business/Ultimate Users

To get to the configuration screen for this, type in security to the start menu search box. You should see the Local Security Policy as the top search item.

In the Local Security Policy window, browse down to Local Policies \ Security Options

Over in the right hand part of the window, scroll down near the bottom and find the item titled “User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation”. Double-click on it to open it up, then change it to disabled:

At this point Secure Desktop should be disabled.

Windows Vista Home Users

For Windows Home users, you will need to open up regedit via the start menu search box. Browse down to this registry key:


Right-click in the right-hand pane and create a new 32-bit DWORD value called PromptOnSecureDesktop, setting the value to 0.

Downloadable Registry Tweak
Just download, extract, and double-click on the DisableSecureDesktop.reg file to enter the information into the registry. There’s also an included EnableSecureDesktop.reg file to put things back to the way they were.

Download DisableSecureDesktop Registry Hack

Security Concerns

You can see by the large number of comments that this article is controversial. It’s true, disabling security features will always make your system less secure, and you should strongly consider the consequences before you make any change like this.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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