Missing Links or Access Denied in Central Admin – SharePoint 2010

Started running across this scenario lately, and wanted to post something up as it will make you second guess your SharePoint configuration [and sanity].  I have SharePoint 2010 hosted on my Windows 7 laptop.  In my Favorites Bar in IE, I created a SP2010 folder, and in that folder, I add a favorite for Central Admin, and my SharePoint sites.  Gives me an easy way to hit the sites I’m after while working on my laptop.

When I open IE and click my Favorite for Central Admin, I find that some links are missing.  Clicking on some of the links that actually show up throw Access Denied messages, though others will work.  The main link that is missing that I associate with this scenario is “Manage Services on Server”under System Settings. The “Configure incoming e-mail Settings” link will also be missing on that page.

You get:
image

Expect this:
image

Also, most of the Farm Backup and Restore links will be missing.  Check out this screenshot.  The following links are missing:

  • Perform a Backup
  • Restore from a backup
  • Configure backup settings

You get:
image

Expect this:
image

To make matters worse, you likely set this up a few weeks ago, and can’t quite remember if those links were there to begin with :-)  If you’re like me, you think, “I must have messed something up. Let me run the configuration wizard, and see if that gets things going.”  If you do that, IE will launch after the wizard, and Central Admin will appear with all the links.  You go on your merry way, and do whatever you were planning on doing.  You come back a couple days later and the links are missing again.  This is where questioning your sanity comes into play :-)

I asked around, and found that the cause is a combination of the following:

  • Browsing from the server hosting Central Administration
  • UAC Enabled on the machine
  • Opening the browser without elevation
  • If you are browsing from a Windows Server hosting Central Admin, you also have IE Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC) to deal with as well. 

The fix is to either:

  • Launch Internet Explorer as Administrator (Right-click Internet Explorer, select “Run as Administrator”)
  • Browse Central Admin, by clicking the SharePoint 2010 Central Administration link in the Start menu.  This runs “psconfigui.exe –cmd showcentraladmin” which will force elevation.

I would think the majority of people that are going to hit this are developers working with SharePoint locally as most administrators will not be browsing directly from the server hosting Central Admin.  From looking around, it appears the same behavior is seen with SharePoint 2007:

http://msmvps.com/blogs/shane/archive/2008/12/17/windows-2008-not-playing-nice-with-central-admin.aspx