One of the more confusing aspects of using any modern version of Windows is the distinction between an administrator account and an account with administrative privileges. From Windows Vista to Windows 7, the operating system handles running applications as an administrator in a completely different way than in previous versions.
One of the problems with Windows XP was that ordinary users had their hands tied when it came to matters limited only to administrators. However, accounts with administrative privileges had unlimited access to everything on the PC. This created two security problems.
First, the standard user account was so limited that most people set up all of their accounts on an XP machine with administrator privileges. Second, a compromised account with administrator rights could not protect itself from launching unauthorized programs or accessing private folders. However, in Windows Vista and 7, Microsoft made an ingenious trade-off between too many and too few restrictions.
Put official approval
To deal with the privilege issue of previous operating systems, the software giant gave only the administrator account full, unrestricted access to all aspects of the PC. An account with administrative privileges technically works like a standard user account until steps are required that require administrator permission. During this time, the account temporarily goes into administrator approval mode and re-enters standard user mode after completing the action.
This method of comparing a standard user to a root user with administrator privileges improves security and prevents any unauthorized applications from running. Unfortunately, Microsoft went a little overboard with Windows Vista, requiring pretty much everything for administrator access. With Windows 7, Microsoft ditched pesky messages and created a balanced experience for users with accounts with administrative privileges.
However, if security is not a big issue for your PC, you can turn off Admin Approval Mode and allow your admin accounts to behave as if they were an admin account. By sacrificing security for convenience, you can make the Administrator account in Windows 7 run as freely as it does in Windows XP.
How to turn off admin approval mode
Log in to Windows using an account with administrator rights. Then click Start All Programs Administrative Tools Local Security Policy.
This will open the Local Security Policy Settings window, where you can change many of the Windows functionality.
In the left pane of the Local Security Policy window, click the Local Policies folder and then the Security Settings folder. You should now see a lot of options available to you in the right pane.
In the right pane, look for an option titled User Account Control: Run all administrators in administrator approval mode.
Right-click this option and choose Properties from the menu. Note that the default setting is Enabled. Select the Disabled option and click OK.
Windows 7 will inform you that you need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Restart your computer and the next time you log in with an administrator account, administrator approval mode will be disabled.
When it comes to administrative accounts, Microsoft’s tradeoff between security and usability in Windows 7 is much better than in previous versions of the operating system. However, by turning off administrator approval mode, you can force Windows 7 to support all accounts belonging to an administrative group with an elevated administrator level.
They will no longer go into standard user mode, which requires the administrator to approve all actions that require higher permissions.