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Fixing ‘Compatibility Mode grayed out’ or ‘Unable to enable Run as administrator’ on Vista / Windows 2008 Server

Ever wondered how you can set Compatibility Mode on executables under Vista / Windows 2008 server when the settings (or even the entire tab) has been disabled ?

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Or make the application “run as administrator” permanently, and you’ve found that this setting is disabled ?

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All of the settings in the Compatibility tab can be set via the registry

Launch regedit and navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionAppCompatFlagsLayers

Create a new string (REG_SZ) value. Rename the value (not the data) to the full path/filename of the application that needs to be modified.

Suppose you want to modify settings for notepad, then rename the string to “C:Windowsnotepad.exe”

There are multiple settings that can be defined :

Compatibility values (cannot be combined – pick only one) :

  • WIN95
  • WIN98
  • NT4SP5
  • WIN2000
  • WINXPSP2
  • WINSRV03SP1

Settings that can be combined with each other and with the compatibility mode :

  • 256COLOR
  • 640X480
  • DISABLETHEMES
  • DISABLEWDM
  • HIGHDPIAWARE
  • ELEVATECREATEPROCESS
  • RUNASADMIN

It is important to specify the options in the correct order ( = the sequence in which the options are displayed in the compatibility tab)

So first, specify the compatibility mode, then the settings, and finally “RUNASADMIN” if required

Suppose you want to run notepad in 256 Color mode, as admin, and in Windows XP SP2 Compatibility mode, set the value of the newly created string to  “WINXPSP2 256COLOR RUNASADMIN ”

image

Now run notepad.exe and verify that the color scheme is changed

If you want to undo the changes, simply remove the registry value.

No reboots are required.

© 2009, Corelan Team (corelanc0d3r). All rights reserved.

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