In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the task manager ran non-elevated, and you didn't face a UAC prompt unless you chose "View Processes of All Users".

In Windows 8 Preview, out of the box the Task Manager starts elevated every time. How can I configure it to start non-elevated so I don't get hit with a UAC prompt every time I check CPU usage or view the list of running processes to see if an application closed completely?

(I am not looking for answers which involve weakening UAC, and I ask the community's help in downvoting any such suggestions.)


Compatibility "shims" can be used to override the manifest; you can start Task Manager with the __compat_layer environment variable set to runasinvoker, e.g. from a command prompt:
set __compat_layer=runasinvoker

Or, use Compatibility Administrator to apply the "RunAsInvoker" compatibility fix to taskmgr.exe so it automatically launches non-elevated.

Reference: http://csi-windows.com/toolkit/uac-prompt-guide

The RunAsInvoker compatibility shim can be enabled in the registry, without needing the Application Compatibility Toolkit or even installation of an SDB. Here is a registry script to do so (adjust the path as appropriate for your system):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers]
  • The environment variable definitely worked, but is awkward. Looks like Compatibility Administrator requires running Setup for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, but you can select to install only the Application Compatibility Toolkit.
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 19 '13 at 18:58
  • Unfortunately using Compatibility Administrator does NOT work, Task Manager crashes saying "The requested operation requires elevation."
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 19 '13 at 19:05
  • Not sure if you're still trying on 8 or 8.1, but on 8.1 the Compatibility Administrator method is working for me, with only the "RunAsInvoker" fix applied. Curiously though, the non-elevated task manager is able to kill elevated processes without triggering an elevation prompt... that doesn't seem quite right.
    – der_koenig
    Dec 19 '13 at 19:17
  • You have rights to other processes whose primary token lists the same user.... Anyway, the registry activation of the RunAsInvoker shim is working fine, don't know why the .SDB approach failed so miserably. Mind if I edit the registry script into your answer?
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 19 '13 at 19:18
  • And my test was Windows 8.1 Professional x64, using "Compatibility Administrator (64-bit)"
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 19 '13 at 19:20

I don't have Windows loaded atm., but if the Task Manager is still called taskmgr.exe could you create a shortcut for it and see if Properties, Shortcut, Advanced has the checkbox for "Run as administrator"? Unchecking this will allow it to start non-elevated, without actually changing any setting/policy, right?

P.S. A nice alternative is @ technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx (Process Explorer)

  • 1
    Shortcut properties only apply to launching through the shortcut. So, not right.
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 5 '13 at 20:56
  • 1
    Also, the elevation occurs as a result of an embedded resource of type RT_MANIFEST. The manifest contains requestedExecutionLevel of highestAvailable and autoElevate of true.
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 5 '13 at 21:00

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