When I login to a standard user account I can't change the power plans as it says that the settings are managed by the system admin. I can change them when logged into the admin account but not in the standard.

Can anyone help me out on what to do.


Only administrators are allowed to change system-wide settings, and determining when and how the system powers on and off definitely counts as a 'system setting'. :)

Perhaps a combination of RunAs and Powercfg.exe?

  • I just removed the standard user and then recreated the user as an Admin and kept it like that. I was facing more problems as with startup items etc. so I left the standard user. Feb 25 '11 at 18:11

I was googling for a solution to this and came across this question. In the end I figured it out myself.

Windows 7 allows non-administrative users to change the current power plan (clicking the power icon in the notification area allows you to switch power plans), but this is greyed out on Server 2008. Therefore it's definitely a rights problem. Here's how you solve it:

On a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, the security descriptor for the ActionSetActive action (i.e. changing the current active power plan) is retrieved by using this command:

PowerCfg -GetSecurityDescriptor ActionSetActive

and it looks like this:


However, on a Windows 7 machine, it looks like this:


Note the subtle difference (KRKW) in the first part.

You can set the security on the action to be the same as a Windows 7 machine by issuing the following in an elevated command prompt:

PowerCfg -SetSecurityDescriptor ActionSetActive O:BAG:SYD:P(A;CI;KRKW;;;BU)(A;CI;KA;;;BA)(A;CI;KA;;;SY)(A;CI;KA;;;CO)

And hey presto, you can now switch power profiles under a non-administrative account.

There are other actions which may need similar tweaking if you want to exactly mirror the Windows 7 behaviour (after doing the above, you still won't be able to change things like the behaviour of the power button, sleep button etc when logged in under a standard account.

  • Huh. This answer makes sense to me, but for whatever reason it doesn't actually work for me. I've got two Windows 10 machines, one where standard users can change power settings and one where they can't. I don't know why they behave differently, and copying the security descriptor from the working machine to the non-working machine doesn't change the behavior. I still can't change the power settings as a standard user. Jun 1 '20 at 16:42

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