How to stop PowerToys complaining about other applications running in administrator mode

PowerToys reboot

The Windows 10 version of PowerToys has been available as a preview for a little while now, and Microsoft is gradually adding more and more handy utilities to it.

But something you may have noticed recently is the appearance of an error message when running certain apps or commands as administrator. Run an app with elevated privileges, and you may see a message that reads: "We've detected an application running with administrator privileges. This blocks some functionality in PowerToys". Here's what's going on and how to fix it.

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Microsoft is aware of the issue, and talks about it over on GitHub. The company says: "If you're running any application as an administrator (aka elevated) and PowerToys is not, a few things may not work correctly when the elevated applications are in focus or trying to interact with a PowerToys feature like FancyZones".

In practice, you're likely to see the warning message if you do things like run PowerShell as administrator, or if you perform actions such as editing the registry that result in User Account Control dialogs being displayed.

Microsoft explains that there are only a couple of scenarios in which PowerToys itself needs administrator privileges, such as when moving or resizing windows, or when intercepting certain key strokes. The following specific tools are affected:

  1. FancyZones
    • Snapping a window into a zone
    • Moving the window to a different zone
  2. Shortcut guide
    • Display shortcut
  3. Keyboard remapper
    • key to key remapping
    • Global level shortcuts remapping
    • App-targeted shortcuts remapping

The fix is a very simple one. Open up PowerToys and head to the General section before clicking the Restart as administrator button. When PowerToys reloads, move the Always run as administrator toggle to the On position.

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