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How to Fix “this app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled ” Error in Windows 10?

I have been a Windows user all my life, but now I use Mac too. But, I still love Windows more than how much I love Mac. Recently, while working on something, while accessing some native apps on Windows 10, I faced this error “this app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled”. I tried to fix it, and I was able to do that. Thus, I thought to share the experience I’ve had, and a guide so that you can also fix this issue if you encounter it.

The main cause of this error is that you cannot use any of the Windows Native Apps without enabling the UAC. So, if UAC is disabled, and you try opening any native apps, this will throw this error.

UAC stands for User Account Control. User Account Control as the name suggests when disabled, there are certain things that you cannot perform on any other person who is administrator’s laptop until and unless they are approved by the administrator of that PC. UAC is also a threat-identifying feature that makes sure that certain important actions can’t be done on your computer which can mean unauthorized application installation or downloading files that UAC perceives as a threat. The error can also occur in the form of bugs or simply update defects.

This App Can't be Activated When UAC is Disabled

UAC can temporarily be disabled in the update registries. Sometimes this can limit access to important windows services. If you are getting nagged by this error you can follow this writeup to check some fixes that will help you in solving the access problem.


Fix Error: “this app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled” on Windows 10


This error often creeps up with Windows in-service legacy apps. A windows application can alter changes in the program files folder in case an update or any other change is being triggered. After the launch of Windows Vista, the security aspect to change these files was monitored by the UAC security feature. This leads to the blocking of legacy apps.

Some simple fixes that you can try are:

  • Enable the UAC manually
  • Changing the LUC status by changing values in the registry
  • Upgrading your windows to get rid of the glitches in Windows legacy apps

Let’s know about all of these fixes in a brief explanatory manner:

Try re-enabling UAC 

UAC is directly associated with allowing access to your files, and programs and even attempting installation. If the UAC remains disabled for some reason, you have to manually try to enable it to fix the issues.

Please sequentially perform the following steps:

  • Go to the search bar and then type in the control panel, access the app icon in the Cortana box, and click on it. You can also press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box and then type in ‘control.exe’. 
  • As the control panel opens, you might see an option view by in the top right along with a list box. From the list choose large icons and then choose user accounts from the screen.

  • As soon as you open user accounts you find an option called, notify me. This option comes with a scale that can be moved up and down. To bring in changes any user can move it up and down multiple times to check the outcome of the change.

  • However, this fix is only in situations where your error is relatively small and does not require a lot of expertise to solve it. But since UAC genuinely protects your PC you should look out for other potential solutions as this error completely exposes your PC to external threats and attacks.

Reset your Microsoft store app

In case you are not able to open apps and the error of UAC is plaguing your system. You can reset your MS store app. Here are some steps to reset the MS store:

  • Go to the Windows search bar and type in Powershell
  • As the Cortana box appears simultaneously. Right-click on Powershell and select the option run as administrator
  • Now enter the following code, “Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.Services.Store* | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose}” and press enter key
  • Now restart your PC and check if the error still exists or not 

As compared to other fixes, there is a high possibility that this might be an issue, and fixing this can help you solve the error. MS store settings can be altered easily because of any file corruption or malware. There is also a possibility of an error happening due to an outdated MS store.

Using other non-windows apps

In case, there is an urgency to look through any image or watch something important, there is a choice of using other apps. This error only disrupts the windows apps. You can still use other apps which are non-windows apps and carry on to do your work:

  • You can use open office or Google Docs to write important letters, emails, etc without having to indulge in MS office.
  • You can use FastStone Image Viewer to access your images.
  • You can use the VLC media player as opposed to Windows Media Player to watch any video.
  • You can use Google Duo instead of Skype app to get by with your video calls.
  • You can use Gmail instead of MS Outlook for your email requirements.

Alter Registry Entry

Things can go south pretty soon. So, much so that there might not be any other way to revert. Make sure to make a restore point before committing any changes. Here, you need to alter the windows opening and installation process when performed and any underlying service obstructing that.

Perform these steps safely:

  • Now, to access the Registry Editor you will have to open the ‘regedit’ window. Simply press win key + R and then you will see a new window.
  • Now open these files: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.
  • When you open the system folder on the right-hand side of the window you will be able to access an option called enable LUA

  • Right-click on the option and choose the modify option.
  • In the edit window, you need to change the existing value to 1. In case any dialog box appears asking for any security consent, approve it.
  • Now restart your PC and see if the problem got fixed or not.

Change your group policy settings

Changing group policy settings is another fix that works with 100% efficacy. By chance if your Group Policy editor is not enabled you have to enable it.

Here’s how you can attempt change:

  • Press Windows key + R together to open the Run dialog box.
  • Now type in gpedit.msc and hit enter
  • This will open the Local Group Policy Editor window. You have to first double click on ‘policies’. Then navigate to the following options: Windows Settings >> Security Settings >> Local Policies >> Security Options
  • As you click on the security options folder on the left side of the window you will see some options.
  • Now you have to select this option, User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account. You might also see a radio button next to the enabled option. Select the option.
  • Now select double click on the User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode. And you will see a list box on the window. From the list of options, you need to select, Prompt for Credentials
  • Do the last step by clicking ok.
  • Now restart your PC and check if changes have occurred or not.

Installing Latest Updates

This is a fairly good option. In case, if you get it right this will fix your error. I love it, especially because there is no bad outcome using the updates option.

Here are the steps:

  • Go to the ‘start’ icon. Right-click on it and select the ‘Windows Powershell (Administrator) option’
  • As the window opens, type in the code, “wuauclt.exe /updatenow”.

  • After typing the code and hitting enter, just wait for an hour to let the code do its work. Your PC might ask for a restart. Allow it and then check if the fix happened or not.

FAQs


What is UAC virtualization?

UAC Virtualization is essentially an amalgamated act of security feature and application processing. It allows inbuilt windows legacy apps to be able to change their program files but has to adhere to User Account Control features through the UAC security.

How do I bypass UAC for a specific program?

To bypass UAC for a specific program, you can right-click on an empty section of the desktop.

  • Click on new and you will see a bar asking for a folder path.
  • Now paste this navigation route: Paste ‘C:\Windows\System32\schtasks.exe /RUN /TN “Name of folder\Name of task” into the textbox and then click next
  • This will automatically create a link and it would bypass UAC intervention.

Is it safe to disable UAC?

In short answer a big ‘NO’. There is no way you should disable the UAC as it acts as a defense wall between your data and any offense committed by any other person. UAC exists to not allow sensitive changes to happen.

Conclusion

If you are constantly being blocked by UAC you can try disabling it. However, I would urge you rather than altercating fixed system changes, to go for a much safer option like updating the MS store app or updating all driver components. The risk factor on all these fixes is far lesser than directly disabling UAC. If nothing works, you can perform a factory reset by keeping all your files.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

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