How to enable UAC virtualization?


What is UAC Virtualization? Why should you enable it? And how exactly should you enable it in the first place? Keep on reading to find out!

Most people have forgotten what User Account Control (UAC) Virtualization is. It’s still available on Windows 10 devices and provides one of the sleekest quick solutions to many a digital problem. Does that sound vague? Don’t worry, we’ll elaborate more below.

First off, let’s learn how to enable UAC virtualization then move on from there! We’ll also cover UAC and what that means. UAC and UAC virtualization might seem like an annoying Windows feature but it has saved you from crashes more often than not.

How to Enable UAC Virtualization

To turn on or off UAC virtualization on Windows 10 and later versions, do the following.

  • Go to the Taskbar’s search field and type “UAC”.
  • If you can’t find the search field, right-click the Start button then choose “Search” on the menu.
  • Click in the search results the “Change User Account” settings.
  • If you want to turn on UAC, drag the slider up to your desired security level before clicking OK. Otherwise, drag the slider down to “Never Notify” to turn off UAC before clicking OK instead.
  • You might get a confirmation prompt or a prompt requiring you to enter an administrator password.
  • In order for the changes to apply, reboot your computer.

To be more specific, turning on your UAC levels also turns on the UAC virtualization features. Turning them off brings your PC back to Windows XP levels of open privileges for all programs but runs the risk of PC destruction down the line.

What is UAC Virtualization?

This process fools your application into thinking it’s writing a user path instead of a system one. When the application expects to write unto C:\Program Files\App Name, it’s instead writing unto a completely different virtual UAC.

UAC or User Account Control Virtualization makes a virtual version of UAC. In the abovementioned path, Windows later copies all the program path files when the app attempts to write to them during installation or operation.

Windows 10 is known for its issues with legacy compatibility. Your old copies of Adobe Photoshop or some sort of old program that ran fine on Windows 7, Vista, or even XP now couldn’t run at all on Windows 10 and its lack of backwards compatibility.

How Does UAC Virtualization Work?

If a program without privileges given by Windows were to attempt to write on a protected folder, UAC virtualization creates a virtual folder for it instead of allowing it to run roughshod on protected files and documents.

This works even if your app is capable of opening your file browser. It’s a safety protocol to prevent poorly coded programs or intentionally destructive malware to destroy your PC. Virtualization allows the program to think it’s working while protecting your system from potential corruption.

As annoying as all those pop-ups asking you for permissions when an app wants to implement changes on your PC can get, it’s all for your safety.

Q&A

Should UAC virtualization be enabled?

Applications running as Administrators don’t need it. UAC Virtualization has to be enabled and active on the host. Programs running in a 64-bit environment don’t need UAC virtualization. It only applies to 32-bit software.

What happens if I enable UAC virtualization?

But if you enable UAC Virtualization, it will help you redirect writes to a user location within the user’s profile. So If you disable the UAC Virtualization, it may cause some application can’t work well with standard user.

What is UAC virtualization not allowed?

UAC Virtualization can’t be applied to applications running as administrator or otherwise elevated in any way – it must be running within the standard user context. UAC Virtualization is disabled by default – it has to be explicitly enabled.

How do I enable my UAC?

Enable User Account Control (UAC)

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Click User Accounts, and then click User Accounts again.
  3. Click Turn User Account Control On Or Off.
  4. Select the Use User Account Control (UAC) To Help Protect Your Computer option, and then click OK.
  5. Click Restart Now.

Does UAC virtualization increase FPS?

Does UAC virtualization improve performance? It has absolutely no effect on gaming performance or regular program performance. CPU virtualization allows a computer to run a virtual machine.

What is UAC virtualization for gaming?

Microsoft’s solution for the legacy-compatibility issue was the subject of this piece- UAC Virtualization. UAC Virtualization is essentially the process of fooling an app into thinking that it’s writing to a user path instead of a system one.

What is UAC disabled Windows 10?

UAC is a Microsoft security tool that helps prevent intrusion of malicious software. It is not full-fledged anti-malware or an antivirus, but it does notify of changes that are about to be made to the computer.

How do I fix UAC not allowed?

Click Change User Account Control settings in the search results. Then do one of the following: To turn UAC off, drag the slider down to Never notify and click OK. To turn UAC on, drag the slider up to the desired level of security and click OK.

How do I turn off UAC virtualization?

Option one: Disable UAC via the Control Panel

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to the following path: Control Panel\User Accounts and Family Safety\User Accounts. There you will find the Change User Account Control settings link.
  3. In the User Account Control settings dialog, move the slider to the bottom (Never Notify): Click OK.

How do I open UAC in Windows 10?

  1. Go to Start and open Control Panel.
  2. Select System and Security.
  3. Under Security and Maintenance, select Change User Account Control settings.
  4. Move the slider to one of the following levels:
  5. Select OK to save your changes.
  6. Select Yes when prompted to confirm the changes.

How check UAC is disabled?

To verify if UAC is disabled, here are the steps:

  1. Search for Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Current Version > Policies > System.
  3. Double click on EnableLUA, verify if value is 0; if not, change it to 0.
  4. Restart computer.

How do I enable UAC in Windows 11?

Windows 11 How to change User Account Control UAC settings

What is the default UAC setting in Windows 10?

By default, any operation that requires elevation of privilege will prompt the user to approve the operation. Disabled (Default) The built-in Administrator account runs all applications with full administrative privilege.

How do I bypass UAC in Windows 10 without administrator?

How do I disable UAC without administrator password?

  1. Go to the User Account panel.
  2. Click Change User Account Control settings.
  3. Click Yes when pops up a User Account Control window with no Admin password enter the request.

Should I disable UAC when I install desktop apps and turn it on afterward?

Desktop apps that make lots of system changes can fail to work once UAC is turned on, after their installation. However, they will function properly if you install them when UAC is turned on. When UAC is turned off, the virtualization techniques used by UAC for all applications are inactive.

How do I run UAC as an administrator?

  1. Run as administrator. You can just right click on the tool and select “Run as administrator”.
  2. CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. Another way is to hit the Windows key, type in the name of the program, and then start it with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.
  3. Marking the application with “Run this program as Administrator”

How do I change UAC?

Change User Account Control (UAC) in Windows

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows+R to open the Run window.
  2. Type Control Panel. Then select OK.
  3. Select User Accounts. Then select User Accounts (Classic View).
  4. Select Change user account control settings.
  5. Move the slider.
  6. Restart the computer.

How do I turn UAC off in Windows 7?

Disable User Account Control on Windows 7 and 8.1 Professional

  1. Log on to the mobile computer as an administrator.
  2. Choose Start → Control Panel.
  3. Click User Accounts.
  4. Click Change User Account Control settings.
  5. Click Yes.
  6. Slide the slider bar to the bottom, to the Never Notify setting.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Yes.

Final Considerations

This article covers everything you need to know when it comes to enabling UAC virtualization on Windows 10 to trick apps into thinking it’s writing a user path instead of a system one. It covers what UAC virtualization is, what it does, and how it impacts the digital world or your personal computing.

You can use this to solve the legacy compatibility issue of Windows 10 that prevents certain programs and software from running unto it without errors.

References:

  1. Ilija Miljkovac, “What is UAC Virtualization?“, PCWdld.com, July 22, 2021
  2. How to Turn User Account Control On or Off in Windows 10 and later“, Articulate.com, September 21, 2021

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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