I recently threw in some extra RAM and an SSD into a pretty old laptop and tossed in an unused copy of Windows 7, and to my surprise it works pretty well. The only thing I had problems with was the old integrated Intel graphics that doesn't support Aero (the latest XPDM driver had to be installed in compatibility mode but otherwise the Basic theme works fine).

The ancient graphics chipset also makes the Secure Desktop take a long time to dim the screen, which is why I had to take UAC down a notch:


This however has lead to an irritating issue. If I run any bundled MS app (such as Regedit for example) or a third party app requiring elevation from either the Start Menu or Run dialog and Secure Desktop is turned on, the screen is dimmed (after a long delay) and the UAC dialog is focussed, and I can simply press Alt+Y to select Yes and allow the request:

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However, since I turned Secure Desktop off on this machine I have found that the UAC dialog (and associated taskbar button) for any program launched via the Run dialog flashes (like a background app trying to gain my attention) but finally ends up unfocussed, so I need to click it (or Alt+Tab to it where it's last in the queue) before I can press Alt+Y (I can directly click the Yes button too of course). The same program launched from the Start Menu results in a focussed dialog as before.

So my question is, when launching apps from the Run dialog with Secure Desktop turned off, is there any way to make the UAC dialog be focussed by default so I can quickly press Yes without using the mouse? Also, why does the same dialog behave differently depending on where the program is launched from?

Note that I do not want to turn off UAC completely, do not want to turn Secure Desktop back on due to the delay, do not want to disable the taskbar flashing feature and do not want to use any third party apps/services that will always be running in the background.

  • This led me to discover how to fix the problem where the UAC doesn't take focus, and you accidentally enter your password into the wrong window.
    – Erhannis
    Aug 20, 2019 at 17:29
  • @Erhannis So how did you fix the problem where the Windows UAC doesn't take focus?
    – Ryan
    Mar 16, 2020 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Ryan Eesh...I think I went to the IT office? Haha. More specifically, though, I think I just turned UAC back up a notch, to dim the desktop. (I think the setting reverted on next boot, probably because of IT overrides, and I haven't bothered messing with it again.)
    – Erhannis
    Mar 17, 2020 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


Possible duplicate of Vista Admin User Dialog Hidden

I think there is no solution. You could write a small application/script that runs in background and tries to switch to the UAC window when it appears.

  • Not a duplicate of that one. Also I might be mistaken, but doesn't UAC prevent other apps from spoofing or even interacting with that dialog, for obvious reasons?
    – Karan
    Sep 5, 2014 at 23:30
  • @Karan Did you ever find the answer? How did you fix the problem where the Windows UAC doesn't take focus?
    – Ryan
    Mar 16, 2020 at 13:31
  • @Karan if you turn secure desktop off its just like another window...
    – adjan
    Mar 16, 2020 at 14:12

Apparently, there is no way to natively change this behavior due to how Windows UAC elevation works. The only way to reliably focus the UAC window is to either prompt for credentials on a secure (dimmed) desktop, or to use a third-party tool.

If your concern with third-party tools/apps is due to their performance impact, you can try using the AutoHotKey script I wrote for myself, that focuses the UAC window when it appears. It's several kilobytes in size and shouldn't affect system performance even the slightest. You can get it here: https://github.com/lightproof/UAC-Focus

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