FIX: This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled in Windows 10

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

Home » FIX: This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled in Windows 10


Steps to fix error ‘This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled’

  1. Turn On User Account Control
  2. Enable the User Account Control Group Policy Setting
  3. Adjust the EnableLUA DWORD Value
  4. Reset the MS Store App
  5. Open Your Files With Alternative Desktop Software

Some users have stated that a “This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled” error message pops up when they try to open images and other files with UWP apps. Consequently, the users can’t open their images with the default Photos app in Windows 10. That error message can also pop up for other Windows apps, such as Calculator, Edge, Skydrive, etc. Does the same error message pop up when you open Windows apps? If so, check out the potential fixes below.

SOLVED: UAC prevents app activation

1. Turn On User Account Control

The error message states the “app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled,” which is a clear enough hint that the issue pertains to User Account Control settings. So turning User Account Control back on is the most probable fix for the error message. You can can turn the UAC on via the Control Panel in Windows as follows.

  • Open Run with its Windows key + R hotkey.
  • Enter ‘useraccountcontrolsettings’ in Run’s text box, and press the Return key. That will open the window shown directly below.

  • Drag the bar from Never notify up to the Notify me only when applications try to make changes to my computer UAC (default) setting.

  • Press the OK button.

— RELATED: How to Activate and Display All Microsoft Store Apps

2. Enable the User Account Control Group Policy Setting

  • If your Windows edition includes the Group Policy Editor, you might also need to turn UAC back on with its Group Policy setting. To do that, enter ‘gpedit.msc’ in the Run accessory.
  • Click Computer Configuration on the left of the Group Policy Editor window.
  • Then click Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options on the left of Group Policy Editor.
  • Click the User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode setting to open the User Account Control policy window.
  • Then select the Enabled radio button.

3. Adjust the EnableLUA DWORD Value

User Account Control is not truly off in more recent Windows platforms even when the UAC Control Panel slider is configured to Never notify. So you might need to adjust the EnableLUA DWORD value to fix the “This app can’t be activated” error. This is how you can turn the UAC back on via the Registry Editor.

  • Enter ‘regedit’ in Run’s text box and click OK.
  • Then browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem in the Registry Editor as shown in the snapshot directly below.

  • Select the System key on the left of the window.
  • Double-click the EnableLUA DWORD to open the window in the snapshot directly below.

  • Then enter 1 in the Value data box to turn UAC on.
  • Press the OK button.
  • Close the Registry Editor window, and then restart Windows.

— RELATED: FIX: Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this app

4. Reset the MS Store App

  • Resetting the MS Store app can often fix numerous app error messages, so that resolution is worth a shot when UWP apps don’t open. To reset MS Store, press the Cortana button on the taskbar.
  • Enter ‘Powershell’ in the search box, right-click Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator to open it.
  • Next, enter ‘Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.Services.Store* | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose}’ in PowerShell and press Return.

5. Open Your Files With Alternative Desktop Software

This isn’t really a fix, but remember that you can still open images, and other file types, with software that aren’t UWP apps. The “This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled” error message only pops up for UWP apps. So instead of trying to open images with Photos, open them with an alternative non-UWP software such as FastStone Image Viewer or Paint.NET.

So that’s how you can get the “This app can’t be activated when UAC is disabled” error fixed in Windows to kick-start apps. Turning the UAC back on will usually fix the error message. In addition, resetting Windows to default settings with a factory reset, as covered in this post, might also reactivate your apps.

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