Cannot modify files in \programdata

I have an application that installs configuration and context information under %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\<vendor>\<appname>\version\ etc., etc.

Once the application is installed, I find I am not able to modify any of the files installed in this area, not by the application itself nor by using WordPad to modify files that have text information. When trying to save under WordPad, for instance, I get an error popup saying access is denied.

I am logged in as a "normal" user, but that user is a member of the local administrators group.

I do not have this problem under Windows 7, but it seems something has "tightened up" in Windows 8 that makes it impossible for a non-administrative user to write to this area?

I have disabled (or set to "Low") User Account Control settings. The application has a configuration utility that itself is not able to modify the configuration information stored here.

Ran icacls on the parent folder in question and see returned:

                                NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(I)(OI)(CI)(F)
                                CREATOR OWNER:(I)(OI)(CI)(IO)(F)

Any help out there? II

I am doing early testing of an application's ability to run on Windows 8 and Server 2012. Is there something different that needs to be done in Windows 8 from Windows 7?

I thought I would close this out with what I have found with a little digging:

So it is not a bug, it is actually and truly a feature.


User Account Control has apparently changed in Windows 8. In Windows 7 and Vista, you could basically turn it off, as I had done (or rather thought I had done) in my test environments.  Now in Windows 8, setting the slider all the way down does not turn off UAC, it only turns off the notifications. The reason is the Metro Apps that come packaged with Windows 8 and show up in your start menu as “Windows Store” items that run all the time – news headlines, weather, etc. Really wish you could just turn all that off but have not found a way yet, even for “enterprise” users.


Short story is you need to make a registry hack to turn UAC off in Windows 8, and doing so disables all your Metro Windows Store apps. So that is the basic explanation of why my applications's administration console would not update my context.xml files in Windows 8.

Along the way I also had discovered I was unable to launch the application by right-clicking the shortcut and selecting "Run as administrator," but found that was related to an actual problem with how the shortcut was defined -- it was starting %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\cmd.exe to then call the batch file to set the applications's environment and start the app, and the 32 bit cmd.exe (yes SysWOW64\cmd.exe is 32 bit) could not launch the 64 bit application. Changing the shortcut to run cmd.exe from System32 fixed that (reported this as a problem to our developers). 

If anyone is interested, to "really" turn off UAC in Windows 8, you need to change the registry key EnableLUA under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System to 0. This also disables the Windows Store apps, but I can see where some enterprise admins would actually want to do that and discourage people from surfing news and sports headlines all day.

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Question Info

Last updated April 14, 2021 Views 2,642 Applies to: