User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account

Applies to

  • 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.

Reference

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 is not enabled, the built-in Administrator account runs all applications by default with full administrative privileges. By default, Admin Approval Mode is set to Disabled.

Note

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.

Possible values

  • 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.

  • Disabled

    If Admin Approval Mode is not enabled, the built-in Administrator account runs all applications by default with full administrative privileges

Best practices

Note

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.

Location

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

Default values

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

Policy management

This section describes features and tools that are available to help you manage this policy.

Restart requirement

None. Changes to this policy become effective without a device restart when they are saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.

Security considerations

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.

Vulnerability

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 is not joined to a domain, the first user account you create has the equivalent permissions of a local administrator.

Countermeasure

Enable the User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account setting if you have the built-in Administrator account enabled.

Potential impact

Users who log on by using the local administrator account are prompted for consent whenever a program requests an elevation in privilege.