How to Enable UAC Virtualization in Windows 10/11 Step by Step

Discover what UAC Virtualization is and how to enbale UAC Virtualization to addresses compatibility challenges posed by legacy applications.


By Crystal / Updated on December 27, 2023

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What is UAC Virtualization

User Account Control is a security feature introduced in Windows. It helps prevent unauthorized changes to your computer by prompting you for permission or an administrator's password when attempting to perform certain tasks that require elevated privileges.

UAC Virtualization addresses this compatibility issue by redirecting write attempts by legacy applications to a virtualized location within the user's profile, such as the VirtualStore directory. This allows the application to function without needing administrative privileges and without modifying system-wide settings. The virtualization process is transparent to the application, meaning that it believes it is writing to the intended system location, while in reality, the data is being stored in a user-specific virtualized space.

uac virtualization

Limitations of UAC Virtualization

While UAC virtualization can be beneficial, it also comes with certain limitations. Here are some of the limitations of UAC virtualization:

💡 Permission: UAC virtualization directs write operations but doesn't interfere with reading from privileged locations. If an app wants to read data from a place where it lacks sufficient privileges, problems may arise.

💡 32-bit Only: UAC virtualization is exclusive to 32-bit apps. Programs compatible with AMD64, developed after the introduction of UAC, cannot manipulate system files in the way older programs did before UAC Virtualization.

💡 Network Share Limitations: UAC virtualization may not work well with apps that use network shares. It's mainly designed for local file operations, so support for network shares may be incomplete.

💡 Non-Admin: UAC Virtualization requires the user to run the app without administrator privileges. It functions when the app runs under a standard user account.

💡 Limited to Certain Windows Versions: It is not available on Home Editions of Windows, only Professional editions or higher.

It's important to note that UAC virtualization is designed as a compatibility mechanism, and its usage should be considered carefully.

How to Enable UAC Virtualization in Windows 10/11

Since UAC Virtualization is disabled by default, you need to manually enable UAC virtualization in your Windows operate system. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to enable UAC Virtualization in Windows 10:

1. Press the Windows + R keys together to open the Run dialog box and type secpol.msc. Then, it will open the Local Security Policy window.

2. Expand Local Policies on the left-hand pane and click Security Options.

3. Navigate to User Account Control: Virtualize file and registry write failures to per-user locations on the center pane.

4. Double-click User Account Control. Select the Enabled radio button.

5. Click OK to close the popup window. That enables UAC virtualization on your device

enable uac virtualization

6. Restart your computer to ensure that the changes take effect.

After setting up UAC virtualization, you can also manage its behavior and customize it to meet your preferences.

1. Select "Change User Account Control setting" and click Open.

2. In the UAC settings window, you'll see a slider with different levels of notification. Set it to a level that suits your preference, but ensure it is not set to the lowest level, which turns off UAC.

customize uac levels of notification

What Do the UAC Options Mean

The UAC slider in Windows offers four options for controlling User Account Control behavior:

  • Always notify me when: Strict option, prompts for UAC approval when installing apps and changing system settings to prevent unauthorized modifications.
  • Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (default): Default setting, asks for permission during app installations and when apps require full system access, but not when changing most Windows settings.
  • Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop): Similar to default setting, but UAC window appears over the normal desktop instead of a dimmed one. Use only if dimming takes too long, possibly due to hardware or driver issues.
  • Never notify me when: Disables UAC prompts, allowing applications to gain UAC access without notification. Choose this option to fully disable UAC.

[Important] Enable Data Backup for Virtual Environment Protection

Hyper-V or VMware virtualization offers many advantages, but also has potential risks such as performance overhead, complexity, and security issues.

Despite these risks, with effective enterprise backup software, it can be a valuable tool for scenarios such as development and training. AOMEI Cyber Backup is a free and centralized backup software for virtual machines. It offers multiple benefits for your data protection.

✤ Independent image-backup: create complete and image-based backups for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs from a central console.
Support Free ESXi: support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local drive, NAS or network share.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, monthly.
Role Assignment: allows one administrator to create sub-accounts with limited privileges.
Email Notification: send email notification when the task is completed or abnormal.
Perpetual Free: you can use AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition with no time limit.

✍ You can click on the button to enjoy the perpetual free edition:

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

Easy Steps to Automate Hyper-V VMs Backups [Example]

1. Navigate to Source Device > Hyper-V > + Add Hyper-V to add a host, and click > Bind Device.

bind hyper-v host

2. Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and specify the Task Name, Backup Type, Device, Target, Schedule on a simple page.

  • Device: select the VMs on the host you want to back up.
  • Target: You can select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule: You can schedule backup flexibly, automatically performing full or incremental backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

schedule hyper-v backup

3. Click Start Backup you can select to Add the schedule only, or Add the schedule and start backup now.

✎ While the Free Edition has covered most of VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to enjoy:
Batch VM backup: Batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by hosts.
Backup cleanup: Specify a retention policy, and the old backups that exceed the limit will be auto deleted.
Restore to new location: Create a new VM from the backup to the original or another datastore, host, and reset the RAM and Vital Processor.

FAQs about UAC Virtualization

Q: Should I enable UAC virtualization?

A: Whether or not you should enable UAC virtualization depends on your specific use case and security requirements. It is recommended to keep UAC virtualization enabled to improve security, unless you have specific compatibility issues that require you to disable it.

Q: Does UAC Virtualization work with all applications?

A: UAC Virtualization is designed for legacy applications. While it can enhance compatibility for many, it may not address all issues. Developers should aim for comprehensive updates for optimal compatibility.

Q: Is UAC Virtualization a permanent solution?

A: No, UAC Virtualization is intended as a temporary solution for legacy applications. Developers are encouraged to update their software to comply with modern security standards, minimizing the need for virtualization.


UAC Virtualization is a pivotal Windows feature mitigating compatibility issues for legacy applications. It's important to note that UAC Virtualization is meant as a temporary solution for legacy applications, and developers are encouraged to update their software to adhere to modern security standards and best practices.

In more recent Windows versions, compatibility modes and other mechanisms may be used to provide a similar level of compatibility without relying on UAC Virtualization.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.