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Why Does My Computer Say I Need to Be Administrator, When I Am?

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My computer says that I need to be the administrator [to perform a task], but I already am! Any ideas as to what is happening?

Sure.

You’re not the administrator. Not really.

Oh, sure, you may think you’re the administrator. Windows may have even lead you to believe you’re the administrator.

However, a security feature in Windows, on by default, means you’re not the administrator.

But you can be.

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Administrator … but not

UAC, or User Account Control, is an important security feature. By default, your login account — even if it’s an “administrator” account — doesn’t actually run with administrative privileges.

Why? Because when you actually run with administrative privileges, any programs you run also have full administrative privileges.

Including malware.

Think of it as “administrator-capable”

The difference between having what you might consider a “normal” account and what I’ll refer to as an “administrator-capable” account is what happens when you do something that requires administrative access.

If your account is administrator-capable, you’ll get the familiar “UAC” prompt, to which you need only respond Yes or No.

UAC Prompt

Accounts that are not administrator-capable have to enter the administrator password to prove the user is authorized to do something requiring administrative privileges.

That’s really the only difference: whether or not you’re asked for a password when the UAC prompt appears. In most other respects, all accounts (other than the hidden account actually called “Administrator”1), are effectively limited user accounts (LUA).

The account you create when you set up your system is, by default, administrator-capable.

Programs that need administrative access

Normally, when a program needs administrative access to perform some function, there are two things Windows can do: it can deny the request, or it can ask you for permission (via UAC). Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to ask, which means that the request is denied and the program fails to perform whatever task it was attempting.

The solution is to run the program as administrator. Because your account is administrator-capable, you can run programs with full administrative privileges. Many programs have this option; I’ll use Windows Command Prompt as an example to show you how to run a program with full administrative privileges.

Locate the Windows Command Prompt icon in the Windows Start Menu, and right-click on it. If present in the resulting sub-menu, click on More. You should now see a “Run as administrator” option.

Right-click Run-As

Click on that and you’ll get the UAC prompt, confirming you want to run the program “as” administrator.

If there’s no “Run as administrator”

Not all programs have a “Run as administrator” option on their Start Menu or other shortcuts. You can still attempt to run a program as administrator using Task Manager.

Run Task Manager (right-click on the clock and click on Task Manager). Then click on the File menu, Run new task item. You’ll be prompted to enter a task to run, along with a checkbox that lets you run it as administrator.

Create New Task

You need to know the name of the program’s file (calc, in the example above), or use the Browse… button to locate the program.

Note:  Windows File Explorer is a special beast. It’s always running, as it provides the Windows Taskbar and Start menu. As a result, attempting to run it again, with or without administrative privileges, will open a new Explorer window, but may not actually start a new copy, and may not cause that new copy to run as administrator.

Cautions

You should think twice before running programs as administrator. There should always be a clear reason to do so.

If you run your mail, browser, word processing program, or instant messaging client as administrator, those programs will be able to do anything. That includes running malware, such as emailed attachments, that they “invite” onto your system. Essentially, you’ll have completely subverted the security measures that UAC puts into place.

In addition, Windows treats file ownership and security differently depending on each user’s permissions and whether you have full administrative privileges. In other words, files you create while running a program with full administrative privileges might not be accessible  later when you run normally, without those privileges.

In short, UAC security is there for an important reason, and helps keep your machine safe from many forms of malware and exploits. Use “Run as administrator” with caution, and only when you’re sure you need it. Close the program as soon as you no longer need those extra capabilities.

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Footnotes & references

1: It’s on all machines, and it’s hidden on purpose. The fact that your default account is administrator-capable gives it everything most people need. I’ve yet to come across a reason to actually un-hide the account called “Administrator”.

98 comments on “Why Does My Computer Say I Need to Be Administrator, When I Am?”

  1. why do i get this error?? Windows security…these files can’t be opened…your internet security settings prevented one or more files from being opened. Does it have to do with the administrator account?? I get this everytime i type something into the start menu serarch area…i had vista but upgraded to windows 7?? can you help??

  2. Thank you. With “Administrator”, can I turn off driver certificate requirements? I have BlazeDTV which works perfectly with XP, but 7 will not allow the drivers!!!

  3. All of a sudden when I open e mail with attachments that I know, the email comes thru without the attachment available. Is it the sender?? or is it my email?? I use Windows mail. This started about one month ago.

  4. I tried spybot and it would not delete 31 items saying I wasn’t the administrator. Well I am. I find this very irritating .

  5. Thanks VERY much! This issue was really perplexing and I could find nothing on the MS “help” venues. Now I can run Spybot again. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. I’m with Keith. I was never so disappointed as when I had to abandon SpyBot because I didn’t know how to be more of an administrator than I already was. I love SpyBot and now I can…again…and be an Administrator! Wow.

  7. Brilliant. This problem has bedevilled me ever since I installed Vista O/S. Because I am a one user one machine man I always thought I was the Administrator but I now understand why I am not and what to do when I have similar problems in future. Well done Leo

  8. This admistrator issue gave me so many headaches!! No more from now on!!Thanks Leo!! It was a great idea to subscribe to your newsletter!!!!

  9. That’s fine, if you Visa or 7; but what about XP? I tried what you suggested and it doesn’t work that way. So what can I do because I have the same problem?

    The concept doesn’t apply to XP. In XP if you’re logged in with an account that has administrative privilegess, then you have those all the time without asking. (That’s the security issue that UAC fixes.) When logged in as an administrator you can assign administrative privileges to another account: How do I get administrative privileges on Windows XP?

    Leo
    10-Mar-2011

  10. I, myself, was always trying to understand this issue about administrative rights and I am pretty darn sure that everyone at one time or another had to face this mind-boggling problem while using their PC. I really extol this article which really gives a good understanding of what it’s all about.

    Many thanks Leo!.

  11. I’m running Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium and I have completely disabled UAC, those popups are annoying, even at the lower security levels, plus I had some issues with installing software (probably because of this same admin-not admin issue). I wouldn’t recommend it for computer novices but I’ve had no problems and not one single bit of malware since I got this PC 12 months ago (I do run full security software plus a few other precautions), then again I do combine this with being careful using the internet ;o)

  12. Leo, bless you, thank you! I learned the HARD way never to disable the UAC, but not having Administrator privileges when needing to install certain programs has been a real pain. Somehow, stumbling around, I’ve gotten it to do what I want, but NOW I can do it intelligently.

  13. Wow, I just taught this very topic to my students in Operating Systems class. Monday, I am going to share this article with them for a clear explanation! Good article!

  14. Thanx for the info! My son built me a kick ass computer but went back to college and I kept having this problem and its so frustrating. But now I’m back to ruling my computer ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Thank you for the instructions. Alas! They don’t work for me (running Win7) ๐Ÿ™

    When I right-click on the Explorer icon, and ditto on “Run as administrator”, it asks in a new window, “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to your computer, Yes or No”. Click on “Yes”, and… up comes yet another window, “This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program, or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Programs control panel”.

    What’s going on ?

    • I’m running windows 7 too, and I tried that trick too, but when I got to the administer page, the “yes” button was grayed out, so I don’t have the option to overrun the problem. I look at my name and I can see the cute little puppy pic, and my name and “Standard” user above it ๐Ÿ™ What the heck? I can’t even install games without the approval of myself, and I can’t get it. ๐Ÿ™

  16. Hi Leo! Here’s one of your italian fan ๐Ÿ˜€ I have a problem similar to this. I have installed a videogame (excuse me if I disturb you with such a stupid problem but is really annoying). When I try to run the .exe file a window pops up saying “impossible to axcess to the dispositive, to the path or the specificated file. It is probable that you don’t have the autorizations requested.” (translated from italian, I hope you’ll understand =) ) i tried running with UAC disabled, with the “run as administrator” option but never worked. How to do? please help me =

  17. Leo, my computer is completely down and it too involves the Administrator password. Mine won’t accept it. We can’t reboot or anything. Your article taught me a lot about the term Administrator, can you expand it a little to cover computers that won’t accept Administrator passwords? I am the Administrator (well you know what I mean) and I have always used the same password for years so it’s not like I forgot it. It just won’t accept it. Thanks so much and keep up the good work.

    Well, you can try reseting the administrator password: I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

    Leo
    07-Feb-2012
  18. i did all circus to access my control panel of windows 7 ultimate……….( if i open control panel dis operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effects on this computer. please contact administrator… and i am d administrator. plzzzzzzzz someone help me…

    This isn’t referring to the administrator account, it’s referring to whomever setup and administers your machine. This scenario is most commonly associated with malware – run up to date scans as soon as possible.

    Leo
    22-Jun-2012
  19. Hi Leo, I followed your instructions but this did not work for me. I ended up getting another box saying “File Access Denied”. Where do I go from here Leo

  20. I’m on Win XP. Admin account – the only one. Can not install SW – it asks for Admin rights… It used to be a part of a domain but no longer. It’s connected to MSHOME network. No password and no problem logging in. Please help. Thanks very much – Ad

  21. Trying to install a wireless USB adapter and it gives an Error #1303 -the installer has insufficient privileges to access this directory: c:program filesnetgear.
    There’s only one account – Administrator
    Thanks again.
    Ad

  22. Thanks for the article for I just had an experience where I had to do a system recovery and I wondered why the computer generated these “new” accounts. Found them when after the recovery I was cleaning up and reloading things back into users personal stuff. Click open C:, opened Users, and sat back and said “WHAAAT!?” Who are these accounts I didn’t set up. I know how to access the “hidden” admin account, so I’m glad I came across this article before possibly inflicting damage. To me it’s a “looks ugly, but it works” situation. It was a frustrating, long time to find an answer and you had it! I am very glad to have found your newsletter and becoming a subscriber. That deserves a Facebook “like”. Thank you for doing what you do.

  23. okay I just updated to windows 8 and im trying to activate it for sure but it says ” cant activate at this time, please contract your system admin or technical support department.” please help

  24. Hello Leo,

    I’m trying to use a System Restore to get rid of a ICE trojan popup. At the moment the System Restore button is grayed out showing I need to be administrator…. and yet my account already says I am? What else can I do? I’m aware there is a Safe Mode with networking option but I keep going to the screen where its loadng windows Files and gets stuck there. Any advice you can provide will be greatly apprieciated. I just want my computer to work again without having to restart it every half an hour.

  25. My problem started with the IE saying it needs to be upgraded….the upgrade will not install unless I have windows service pack 2….found out that I needed SP1 first…try to install SP1, it said it installed but it didn’t, tried about 10 times….now it says that system restore was turned of by group policy and that I need to contact my “Domain Administrator”. I bought this computer in 2006 and no one has ever touched it but me….So what does it mean “domain administrator” and how do I turn System Restore back on and How do I upgrade or replace my Internet Browser??? Please help so mad right now that I can’t even see straight….Thank you, angie

  26. A couple of extremely important questions your very helpful article does not address. 1) If your browser is already running while you make this change does it then inherit the permissions you warned about? 2) Is there some way to check what permissions a given program has? 3) Is there any way to revert these permissions if someone accidentally clicked on a program while running as an admin?

  27. I cannot remove a picture file I created literally 1 minute ago, saying I need administrator access to perform this action. Click continue. Then it says “You need permission to perform this action. You require permission from the computer administrator to delete this file. Click try again, or cancel. Try again does nothing. thought about using cmd.com in reboot, but not sure this will work cmd.com wont let me delete it in windows. I don’t get it, Im the only account on this PC, marked as administrator in UAC account settings, and have never really had this problem until recently. I have 2 antivirus programs on the PC, Norton and Windows Defender. Found cookies but only 1 virus in the years I have used this thing. Any ideas? I thought about creating a new administrator account, but I had this problem with my mom’s new Windows 8 laptop and couldn’t get around it.

    Thanks!
    Ryan

      • No I did not. I used my computer, which doesn’t appear to have the option to ‘run as administrator’ when you right click on the icon. I assumed (although incorrectly since you pointed out in your article) that it was for applications like Word or Adobe Acrobat etc. rather than what I would consider more core windows files like My Computer, Network Places, etc, although this too is probably incorrect. As mentioned below, I doubt it had much to do with administrator privilege at all since the file was removed using the exact same method without issue after closing IE.

  28. I wrote above and I believe the situation is resolved.

    I think the file may have been in use because I was trying to upload the file to Ebay. I actually cropped the photo in pant and uploaded the new file, but later I had no issues. I thought it usually told you ‘the file was in use’ versus the message I received regarding administrator permissions. When I went to try again later I had no problem deleting or moving the files. Thank you anyway, I think your service is very cool and great for people like me. But since my issues resolved, you needn’t address this or the above problems.

    Sorry and thank you Leo,

  29. I haven’t seen an answer yet to my question: Why do I NOW need permission to run Internet Explorer when I didn’t before? (Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit).
    This issue is recent (like just a couple of days ago it started doing this).. When I would run IE from the task bar or the start menu, IE would come right up to my google home page — NO DELAY WITH ANY KIND OF PERMISSION!….. NOW it DOES!.

    Thank You

    Mac

  30. Is this the same as clicking “Start”, “Run” and typing “explorer”? What is run from there is supposed to be run as admin.

  31. โ€œStartโ€, โ€œRunโ€ and typing โ€œexplorerโ€ will run the Windows/File explorer, but that wouldn’t be in administrator mode.

  32. My computer does exactly the same but when i want to run as administration the screen pops up but i cant select yes because it requires an administrative password which i dont have. Dont know what to do. Please help

    • The administrative password is the password for you main account which is an administrator account unless you opened another account, designated it an administrator account and changed the original account to be non-administrator account. I believe you’d remember if you did something like that.

  33. While playing a game on my laptop it suddenly stopped and a box appeared with the words …..LUA ERROR ?:0: attempt to concatenate a nil value ..
    Can anyone help please

  34. So, I have lost all admin capabilities. I cannot install/uninstall programs, I cannot add/edit users, I cannot run a system restore with my original Windows 7 disc, nothing. I have turned on the “hidden administrator”, but again, in Users, I cannot edit/add/delete users, including the user I’m logged into. I cannot even reload Windows from my OEM disc, I get a prompt telling me I don’t have administrative permission. I’ve back everything up, my last hope is to format the harddrive and start over, but I may not even be able to do that… Is there any last thing I can try?

  35. Same deal with me and Rome TW. However the change occurred directly after a windows update. Had been fine prior to this, a programme I regularly used. I tired the right click , run as administrator and then was barred by an “allow the following programme to make changes” which I agreed too. Then nothing! HELP!!!

  36. i had this problem myself in win 7 ult. in user account settings i click on create a new account.
    then check administrator and create a password. then just type in the password when its required.
    if you have to keep typing in the password (which can get tedious) simply switch users and do what you`re trying to do in your administrator account. when you`re done sign out of your administrator account and switch back to your standard account for every day use. its not a good idea to use your administrator account for everything.

  37. Wow, this is the exact problem that I am running into. I also play Medieval II Total War, and I play on and off. For some reason, now that I try to play it, a window pops up saying that I need administrative privileges. I ran a scan of my computer to make sure I didn’t have any viruses. I also checked to make sure that, yes, I was the administrator. But for some unknown reason, I am not able to play the game because I am not considered the administrator. Leo, I would love to give you more information for the further guidance. I just need to know what information you need in order for you to help. Thanks for your help!

    And Matt C, have you found a solution?

    • Have you tried the Run as Administrator option as described in the article? Otherwise, if that doesn’t work, you might try setting up an account with full administrator privileges for this and other situations which require it. And for safety, only log on to that account when you need to.

  38. ok – so how to turn it off. If I am “ADMIN” do not ask me. I don’t care about malware. (I can remove it). I am SO tired of being hassled by my own network of machines at home… from the PC’s to the Mac’s – It’s constantly told I can’t move this file and I don’t have access to this file and I need admin rights when I am admin on all machines. I just WANT IT STOPPED. I don’t want to log in, I don’t want security. I’ve been into computers heavily since 1980 and it’s become really frustrating. Computers were suppose to make our lives easier. The no longer are. Also do NOT tell me I CANT USE MY OWN PASSWORD. I hate sites and programs that force me to make up a password they want. If I don’t want the extra security (that’s my choice). Also (windows) do not force me to use a password I never used before. Also Windows – do not force me to login to Microsoft again with more passwords. Clouds? – another password. I’m sick of the BS.

  39. I did what you suggested before downloading Windows 10. It downloaded, restarted, and now there is no sign on to my laptop. It has a screen photo of a landscape, the time and date, and no place to sign in. I can’t get past this. What can I do now?

    • Since I was unable to do anything with the screen, including shutting down the computer, I unplugged the computer and then the next morning also took the battery out, replacing it after a few minutes, which of course shut the computer down. When I plugged the computer back in and it restarted, I was back at the same screen, but this time I was able to click on the icon and it responded by opening to a sign-on page. (Thank the Lord! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  40. the problem is that while the UAC may help protect, there are many areas that it becomes overprotective.. this in my opinion is part of microsoft continuing to make windows less accessable to users with any knowledge of basic programing who can fix their own computer issues if allowed to.. and many files in windows which are NOT needed have been deemed unaccessable to even delete.. now many users have to get used to windows 10.. so the new question arrives.. how will the UAC restrict users now.. how much spyware in windows 10 will remain active despite a users attempts to stem the tide and streamline windows to what it should be… a window to give us a click and play option for our programs.. whether its a word prossesser or spreadsheet to a web browser for email to games of all sorts

  41. I do not have the option to right click. It immediately says I am not the Administrator – case closed. I need to know where to go in my settings to rectify the situation. I have tried to download my resume in Microsoft Word versus Adobe and I do not have the privilege. What the HECK!

  42. I $%^#%&@&@&^ HATE MICROSOFT WITH A PASSION. THIS KIND OF USELESS, UNREQUESTED OVERPROTECTION is exactly why.

    • And yet I truly believe that this “useless, unrequested, overprotection” has saved untold thousands (perhaps millions?) from malware infections. Far from useless, in my opinion, and trivially easy to work around as an authorized user.

  43. (windows 10) When i right click my folder icon, the options are different then that of what i see in this article. The same applies to internet explorer, i don’t get the option to access “windows explorer”. any help?

    • I am having the same problem as Mehmed August 28, 2016. I did a search for “Windows Explorer” and “no match found.” windows 10) When i right click my folder icon, the options are different then that of what i see in this article. The same applies to internet explorer, i donโ€™t get the option to access โ€œwindows explorerโ€. any help?
      I previously had an ACER Computer system using Vista as the operating system. I never had any problem with software installation.
      I now have a HP Pavilion Desktop 510-P026 Model V8P11AA#ABA S/N *****0KC8
      The computer installed the print driver for the printer and it works OK.
      After installing some of my previous software, I have had no problems until now!
      While installing the software for my HP 2410 Photo Smart All in One Printer I encountered a window that called out SYSTEM REQUIREMENT RESULTS Everything indicated (7) Green check marks, and (1) red for the Administrator Rights. I clicked on the details and this is what it said: Required Action: Click Cancel to exit this software installation. Log off and then log on as a user with administrator privileges. (Contact your system administrator for more information.) If there is no system administrator, have the primary user of this computer install the software. Restart the installation by removing and re-inserting this installation CD.
      I went to the control panel and verified that I was the Administrator. I did not want to modify or change who the administrator is. I removed and re-inserted the disk with the same results.
      I do a lot of scanning and the printer worked flawless with my previous computer.
      Any help will be greatly appreciated.
      Bob Foster
      {email address removed}

        • That’s funny, but I just clicked the Start Icon and typed Windows Explorer, and it brought up File Explorer. In fact, the first option after typing the word Windows was File Explorer. Windows seems to allow for the legacy name to bring up the new version for many system apps.

  44. I’m trying to manage a remote assistance program using Skype for office. I managed to set a GPO to launch the elevate prompt outside secure desktop so the remote support personnel can interact with it and “run as” a user with admin privileges, but even after doing that successfully they still get “insufficient permissions” when trying to do anything on the remote computer that actually needs admin privileges.

    ideas?

    CH

  45. Please help me! Number one I am 84 years old and fairly computer literate but I am having problems trying to delete programs from my computer because the “administrator” has set it so I can’t. Since I am the administrator and the only user of this computer I am frustrated. I have followed numerous instructions to “fixit” but none have worked. Please take pity on an old “veteran” (do you like that caveat since it is a day past Verterans Day) and please help me. My computer is almost useless because of the disk space (many gigs) is used up and i can’t do anything. Can you help me??? Thanks.

    • Sorry if this is obvious, but what do you mean by deleting programs ? Did you try to uninstall them ? (Control Panel / Uninstall a Program.)

  46. Thank you for showing me what i needed to do.
    also instead of opening the whole file explorer as admin (which i can see is needed in some circumstances), I needed to uninstall a game and its launcher, you can just run the game as an admin and delete it from within (if it has an uninstaller) or after running as admin you could be able to delete the files in windows explorer (untested, hypothetical)

  47. If my internet security or Maleware program isn’t blocking unwanted intruders and they’ve come this far, UAC isn’t going stop them. If UAC was so important why do I have all this internet security and maleware software? The UAC is a complete waste of time and does nothing but slow me up. It is basically Microsoft’s way of protecting your computer against yourself.

    • Not really. It prevents software from automatically making changes to your system. It doesn’t stop every kind of malware, so additional antimalware programs and a firewall also need to be in place.

  48. Installed Windows 10 on my PC. Now have a dual boot PC with Windows XP PRO as my primary. Both on separate HD. Had to install 10 because of the Heart Bleed Virus of 2015 and how it affected the Revenue Canada site. Because of various problems including the necessity to reformat and reinstall W10 I have come to HATE Win10 and I have worked with Win 3.x, 95 Pro, 98 Pro and XP Pro along with DOS before them. Now just installed the application to prepare our 2016 income taxes in Win10. Created a unique folder for the related data files. When I went to save my files I didn’t even get the message about I required administrator’s permission. I was simply denied the privilege of saving a file to a folder that I (as administrator) had created. I had to save it elsewhere and copy it into my special folder. A work around but a pain in the butt. Ironically however, opening it from in my special folder and resaving it thereto is no problem. No questions asked at all. Now the crux of my comment here. I applied the procedure that AskLeo explained when he used Windows Explorer to select the application to be run, For me I went to the START menu, looked at all the installed applications there and located my “INCOME TAX” program. But instead of merely clicking on it I right-clicked and used the option to run as administrator. Sure that annoying UAC popped up and my program opened. To test I created a completely NEW file and saved it. Went without a hitch just like it would have in Windows XP. So MR Leo, looks like you don’t have to use Explorer but merely apply the same procedure to any application your START menu. Thanks for that lead. Helped immensely.

    • Just a comment on the annoying UAC: It can be turned off, but that would make your computer more vulnerable to malware. Without UAC, malware could install itself on your computer more easily as the UAC is engaged when system level changes are being made to the computer. There are many necessary annoyances, such as UAC, CAPTCHAs etc., but you have to blame the hackers, not Microsoft, for those annoyances.

  49. I get this problem, and similar ones, a lot. Currently I’m trying very hard to run a game. After installing it successfully, when I click the .exe file I get the popup “Please login with administrator privileges and try again”.
    When I right-click the .exe file and click “run as admin” nothing at all happens. Jack nothing. Zip. Not even popup.

    F*** you Microsoft I just want to open a god-damned game I shouldn’t even have to be admin for that.

    • It’s very possible this isn’t Microsoft’s fault at all, but rather the game’s. For some time I’ve had to do the equivalent running World of Warcraft on my Mac, for no apparent reason. (But it does work.)

    • Aryllia, I recently experienced the same problem on my Win7 machine. After some research I found that the problem is caused by MS update KB3086255 which disables the secdr.sys file that is needed to launch most older games. It is an anti-piracy feature that MS considers a security liability. MS bulletin MS15-097 has a couple of fixes for this problem but they only work for Win7 & 8. If you have Win10 you are out of luck but you may be able to uninstall the update.

  50. Security tab is missing in all USB folders, and therefore I have no control over permissions even when running as admin. Right click on “properties” shows others tabs but not “Security”. Any suggestions? Running Windows 10 Home Edition on HP PC. Thanks

    • That typically means that the USB drives are formatted using the FAT32 filesystem, which does not support this level of permission. You’d need to reformat them to NTFS. (Note: reformat will erase all data.)

  51. My computer is a windows 10, you see i want to create an MMD so i downloaded a file off of google, but the file told me i needed to have a d3dx9_43.dll file, which i was missing so i downloaded one and tried to place it in the advancedinstallers, but it said i need to have administrator permission. When i checked it said i was the administrator because there’s no other users. What is going on?

    • Even though you are the only user and might be allowed to have administrative privilege, you are not running AS the administrator for security reasons. (This is what UAC is all about.)

  52. This is a great article but I am still getting this warning. All I am trying to do is install drivers for a new Canon Printer. I have two laptops with windows 7 the first one went smoothly this one has Windows 7 Ultimate and even following your instructions I am getting “You do not have sufficient privileges to install the program log on again with administrator privileges” Any thoughts? Thanks

  53. my pc has window 10 and it is not letting me to downlaod anything it as admistrtor permission to save in specific location and nethir=er it let me to save in any destination

  54. Nice arcticle – I have come across some hardware driver installers that won’t accept a local administrator account when installing as long as the PC is a member of an Active Directory domain, e.g. Synaptics Touchpad drivers or AMD Radeon installers. They simply tell you “you need to have administrator right to install drivers”… drove me almost nuts the first time it occured…

    Haven’t found any other way around this apart from leaving the domain, installing drivers and then re-join the domain.

  55. This is absolutely brilliant. I have never read it explained that clearly — and I have been reading a lot about administrative privileges. To the point I have now converted to the religion of Not Living within an Administrator Account, and denying rights to yourself — a psychologically difficult step.

    You’re never an administrator : yes, that’s the right perspective, and completely counter-intuitive, too.

    This whole issue of user rights is devilishly difficult, though (at least to me), so let me ask a few questions :

    1)- Does it make a difference if you right-click, and run as administrator, a program while already under your administrator account ?

    2)- Does it make a difference if you’re under your non-admin account, and you right-click to run as admin a program that would ask for your password anyway, because it needs elevated rights ?

    3)- Is the Run this Program as Admin checkbox, on the Properties / Compatibility tab of some executables, the equivalent of the Run as Admin right-click command ? And why would you check it ?

    4)- Sometimes, Windows would warn you that you’re not allowed to open a folder to browse, or read some files, however if you really, really want it very hard, you can ask politely and click HERE, in which case the system will give you access.

    It is my understanding that once you’ve done that, you’ve permanently changed something to NTFS permissions, and there’s no going back unless you get under the hood (which seems horribly complex to me). Is that correct, and is it risky to open that door, permanently so to speak ?
    [edit: numbers added]

    • I’ve added numbers to your questions.

      1) nope. (It may not be an option since it would be redundant.)
      2) If the program would normally trigger UAC to ask that password, then running as admin should skip that. If it’s asking for some other kind of password there’s probably no effect, but it depends on the program.
      3) Yes. You’d use it if you always want that shortcut to run as admin without having to go through the right-click gyrations.
      4) Risky – not terribly. It depends on which files, which folders, case by case. Remember that Windows has permissions for a reason and that by bypassing those restrictions you’re effectively saying “I know better than you” what’s safe. If you’re not sure, don’t do it.

  56. Hey Leo, wow old post… what’s Vista?
    I tried helping someone on a forum using this method, but my post was rejected! It was marked as Hacking lite.

    When we have UAC, smartscreen, adblockers, antivirus, spyblock and so on… This prevents me from doing certain tasks.
    And also reminds me I’m not an admin, even though I am. ‘To me’ administrator privileges is when you don’t need to
    make choices.
    If your device is warning you that by changing …. your heading for Armageddon and continue, then you can only blame
    yourself when things go wrong.

    Mealone

  57. You are never too old to learn! I’ve been using PC’s (Windows) for over 20 years and never knew about ‘right clicking on the clock’ to bring up Task Manager.
    Thanks for that/

  58. Sometimes when I need admin privileges and UAC prompts for a password, it sometimes uses my limited account, which has no password and I have to select the admin account with a separate click. It doesn’t happen in all cases, but just sometimes. Does anyone else have this problem and/or a solution to it?

  59. in regard to your post “Why Does My Computer Say I Need to Be Administrator, When I Am?”

    I notice this item was posted last year, and I had to reinstall my OS last month, so I may have a later version (4.1) but I don’t have the check box you show for creating a job with admin privileges coming up on my Win 7 system.

  60. I own my laptop and I am set up as administrator to where I have complete control, but the command prompt keeps telling me I am not the administrator

  61. Leo, this is really just complimentary feedback but, I love how you include audio of your articles and in your own speaking voice as well as when responding to comments, you include a signature. The realism in your connection with viewers and readers, especially under stressful computer-related circumstances such as this most ridiculous situation with something so precious and required for premier security of your machine and system…really, when it is combined with issues under Windows Update that I cannot open the Network Troubleshooter at all, which presumably I feel there’s some strange issue with my Network Connection period… Just weird things I’ve tested that make me question the vulnerability of my system despite all seeming fine and receiving clean Essentials reports with updated definitions–the only updates that install, minus about 6 recent ones. But, 3 updates from a specific downhaul on 3-31-2018 by Microsoft for Win 7 64-bit Home Premium, they still will not download and that seems to be when all this weird UAC–NetworkTroubleshooter Restricted Access–Other strange Access Issues–and then, this Windows Activation Technologies “Not Running a Genuine Copy of Windows” b.s. that suddenly started. During all of this, I run and DL a ton of VST (*.dll) files and programs etc. equally “free” software but I’m well taught in advanced security precautions and knowledge, though I’m not certified Windows master nor do I hold any certs and maybe I need to just call a local PC guy with skills in this arena to just help me in person, right? On top of this vulnerable and frustrating security and access situation, I also seem to have a Win 7 version/copy that didn’t come equipped with GPEdit.msc which is something I do remember using years back in XP and such. But, it’s necessary to turn off another ridiculous system function automatically running natively without user having to turn it on nor giving me access to it without or unless I have GPEdit.msc. It’s the Desktop Cleanup Manager. I don’t know when it runs or when it returns but, since turning this PC on for the first time–I’d say 6 mos in, it ran the Desktop Manager. I returned to a PC desktop missing most of the application shortcuts and in the cases I remembered because I use them regularly or even infrequently (which is my own freaking choice, man, you know?) it also removed the applications themselves! So, Windows just makes its own decisions on not only keeping my room clean but which toys I get to keep and which get thrown out?! FML.

    • However, all in all, it was a pleasure to read this article and it helped me to realize that officially, something is wrong with my PC and I just need to learn on my own and figure it out while possibly just saving for a new computer since this was also a pre-owned.

  62. Thank you! I tried everything else, but nobody else suggested using task manager. I was trying to update the bios on an old computer and could not get it to run no matter what I tried it kept denying me. This was so simple!

  63. Thaks still helpfull for me ,after some chkdsk issues ;-). And a good advice to exit the administrator rights,after being finished.

    Ray Charles

  64. Thank you for this post. This is the only explanation I’ve been able to find that actually explains what is going on in Windows when I get that administrator permission required prompt. I feel like I understand the process better now. Thanks.

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