Managing Power Options as a non-administrator

As I mentioned in previous posts, the “Power Options” Control Panel applet is a particular sore spot for non-administrators.  Because clicking “OK” causes per-machine and per-user settings to be written, the only way to change the per-user settings is if the user is an administrator and can change the per-machine settings at the same time.  A workaround I presented in an earlier post was to use the MakeMeAdmin script to temporarily grant your normal account admin privileges and to then run powercfg.cpl from that elevated status.


MakeMeAdmin requires that the user know the local administrator password.  If you want to give users the ability to manage power settings without giving them the admin password, or if you just don’t want to go to the trouble of running MakeMeAdmin to manage Power Options, another alternative is simply to change a couple of registry permissions.


Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.


This description assumes that you want to allow any interactively logged-on user to adjust Power Options.  If you want to allow another specific user or group that ability instead, replace “INTERACTIVE” below with the user or group you want.


I’ll repeat, though:  all the caveats about the really bad things that can happen if you mess up in the registry editor apply here.


Also, these instructions are specific only to Windows XP.  I believe that additional steps are needed in order to make this work on Windows 2000.


  • Run Regedit.exe as an administrator
  • Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg
  • Right-click on the “GlobalPowerPolicy” key and choose “Permissions”.
  • Click on the “Advanced” button.
  • Click “Add”.
  • Type INTERACTIVE and click “Check names”, then OK.
  • Check the “Set value” and “Create Subkey” checkboxes in the “Allow” column, and click OK, then OK, then OK.
  • Do the same thing with the “PowerPolicies” key.

No reboot is required. You can now manage your own power options without needing to be an admin or use MakeMeAdmin.