User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account
- Windows 11
- Windows 10
Describes the best practices, location, values, policy management, and security considerations for the User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account security policy setting.
This policy setting determines the behavior of Admin Approval Mode for the built-in administrator account. When the Admin Approval Mode is enabled, the local administrator account functions like a standard user account, but it has the ability to elevate privileges without logging on by using a different account. In this mode, any operation that requires elevation of privilege displays a prompt that allows the administrator to permit or deny the elevation of privilege. If Admin Approval Mode isn't enabled, the built-in Administrator account runs all applications by default with full administrative privileges. By default, Admin Approval Mode is set to Disabled.
If a computer is upgraded from a previous version of the Windows operating system, and the administrator account is the only account on the computer, the built-in administrator account remains enabled, and this setting is also enabled.
The built-in administrator account logs on in Admin Approval Mode so that any operation that requires elevation of privilege displays a prompt that provides the administrator the option to permit or deny the elevation of privilege.
If Admin Approval Mode isn't enabled, the built-in Administrator account runs all applications by default with full administrative privileges
It's recommended not to enable the built-in Administrator account on the client computer, but to use the standard user account and User Account Control (UAC) instead. If you want to enable the built-in Administrator account to carry out administrative tasks, for security reasons you should also enable Admin Approval Mode. See UAC-Admin-Approval-Mode-for-the-Built-in-Administrator-account
To enable Admin Approval Mode, you must also configure the local security policy setting: User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode to Prompt for consent on the secure desktop and then click OK.
After enabling Admin Approval Mode, to activate the setting, you must first log in and out. Alternatively, You may perform gpupdate /force from an elevated command prompt.
Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options
The following table lists the actual and effective default values for this policy. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.
|Server type or GPO||Default value|
|Default Domain Policy||Not defined|
|Default Domain Controller Policy||Not defined|
|Stand-Alone Server Default Settings||Disabled|
|DC Effective Default Settings||Disabled|
|Member Server Effective Default Settings||Disabled|
|Client Computer Effective Default Settings||Disabled|
This section describes features and tools that are available to help you manage this policy.
None. Changes to this policy become effective without a device restart when they're saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.
This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.
One of the risks that the UAC feature tries to mitigate is that of malicious software running under elevated credentials without the user or administrator being aware of its activity. An attack vector for malicious programs is to discover the password of the Administrator account because that user account was created for all installations of Windows. To address this risk, the built-in Administrator account is disabled in computers running at least Windows Vista. In computers running at least Windows Server 2008, the Administrator account is enabled, and the password must be changed the first time the administrator logs on. In a default installation of a computer running at least Windows Vista, if the computer isn't joined to a domain, the first user account you create has the equivalent permissions of a local administrator.
Enable the User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account setting if you have the built-in Administrator account enabled.
Users who sign in by using the local administrator account are prompted for consent whenever a program requests an elevation in privilege.