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Reduced Rights Users and the XP Power Control Panel App


By steve - Posted on 21 November 2006

By default, users running with reduced rights (not Administrators or Power Users) cannot change the power management functions in XP.

For instance, let's say a user has a laptop and logs on with user rights. If they try to right click on the desktop, click Properties, click Screen Saver, then click Power..., they'll see the power settings. However, when they try to change the settings, they'll get an error about not having the right to change these settings.

This also applies to desktop computers that are attached to battery backup systems and have a management cable connected.

The solution below is for computers that use the standard XP power applet. If your computer has custom applets for power management (Toshiba laptops for instance), the same logic applies, but the registry settings are in a different place.

To give the user the right to change these settings, you'll need to log on as administrator and use regedt32.exe (all warnings apply; you can damage your system, yada, yada, yada...).

  1. Log on as administrator (or click Start/Run and type
    runas /user:administrator cmd
    and enter the administrator password to open a command window)
  2. Start: regedit32.exe
  3. Navigate to:

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg
  4. Click on PowerCfg
  5. Click Edit/Permissions...
  6. Click on Users
  7. Click on Full Control
  8. Click OK
  9. Close regedt32

You should be able to log on as a regular user and set the power settings without getting an error. For all rights to work properly (like with the power applet that runs in the taskbar), you'll have to reboot. You don't really have to, but when you do the power messages that show there, like battery status, will be correct.

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