How to Enable or Disable Dimmed Secure Desktop for UAC Prompt on Windows

Get rid of the unnecessary dimmed desktop when making changes to Windows settings.

Windows has a bunch of features that you don’t really need, especially if you are a more advanced user. One of these is the dimmed secure desktop, which (as the name suggests) dims the desktop when changes are about to be made to your system

If you’re not a fan of this feature, you can turn this off. Here we cover when it makes sense to disable the dimming of the desktop with ways you can achieve this.

When Is It Advisable to Disable the Dimmed Secure Desktop?

The User Account Control (UAC) settings govern if and when the system prompts you to take a second look at when changes are going to be made to your computer. The Windows default setting is to dim the desktop to notify you only when apps (not you yourself) attempt to make changes to the system. This serves as a heads-up to impending changes to the system.

Having the dimmed secure desktop function disabled is pretty much the same as the default setting, barring a dimming of your screen. We have an article with a lot more on user account control and administrator rights if you’re interested.

It might be best to disable the dimming of your desktop if you use the default setting anyway and either don’t like to be confronted by a dimmed screen when you are making changes to your system or if it takes a long time to dim your desktop.

Enable or Disable the Dimmed Secure Desktop via UAC Settings

This is the simplest method to enable or disable the dimmed secure desktop and provides a visual interface for changing these settings.

  1. Click on the Start menu and type “control panel.”
  2. Open the Control Panel app in icon view.
  3. Go to User Accounts.
  4. Click on the Change User Account Control settings option. A dialog box should open.
  5. Use the slider on the left to select the third option from the top: Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop). This will disable the dimming of your desktop when apps attempt to make changes to your system.
  6. To enable this dimming functionality, choose either of the first two options.

How to Enable or Disable the Dimmed Secure Desktop via the Local Security Policy

This method is available only to those with the Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education editions. For all other editions, you can change these options via the UAC settings or the registry editor.

  1. Open the Local Security Policy. Do this by pressing Win + R and typing “secpol.msc” into the search box.
  2. In the left pane, click on Security Options under Local Policies.
  3. Double-click on the following policy: User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop with prompting for elevation
  4. Select the Disabled radio button to stop dimming the screen when making changes to the system.
  5. Set it to Enabled to undo this setting.

Enable or Disable the Dimmed Secure Desktop via the Registry Editor

The third way to achieve this is to edit the Windows registry, which comes with its own set of cautions. When editing the registry, make sure you don’t change anything you’re not supposed to, else you may do damage to your system.

Here’s how to enable or disable the dimmed UAC prompt using the registry editor.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to pull up the Run dialog.
  2. Type “regedit” into the text field and hit Enter.
  3. Navigate to the following address in the registry: ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem
  4. Look for and open the 32-bit DWORD PromptOnSecureDesktop under System.
  5. Set its value data to “0” to disable and to “1” to enable the dimmed UAC prompt when changes are being made to your system.

Switching Off Less Than Necessary Windows Features

There’s no doubt that Windows has a bunch of useful features, but it also comes with some settings that are less than necessary, especially if you are an experienced Windows user. Fortunately, you can turn off unnecessary Windows features to make your machine run smoothly and keep things light.

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