A glitch is preventing some Windows 7 PCs from shutting down or rebooting

Some users who are still clinging to Windows 7 report they are suddenly unable to shut down or reboot their PC, with a pop-up message indicating they lack proper permissions for such things. I'm not sure if any of those affected tried asking nicely, but that probably won't work either. Fortunately, there are some workarounds (more on those in a moment).

Cue the conspiracy theories. For the most part, Microsoft officially stopped supporting Windows 7 on January 14, 2020—the only exceptions are for businesses that pay for extended support, and whatever rare security patches might emerge .(Microsoft issued a security update to Windows XP when the WannaCry ransomware was making the rounds.)

Fair enough, but since support came to end, Windows 7 users have been hit with two annoying bugs. The first one affected people who were using the "Stretch" option for their custom wallpapers. Out of the blue (and after support ended), Windows 7 replaced it with a black background. To Microsoft's credit, it has since fixed the issue, even though Windows 7 is retired.

Over the weekend, another bug has emerged. Windows 7 users report seeing a pop-up message that reads, "You don't have permission to shut down this computer" when attempting to shut down or reboot.

Microsoft has acknowledged the issue, telling Bleeping Computer in a statement it is "actively investigating" the situation. That suggests a fix is coming, which isn't surprising (there are still hundreds of millions of PCs that are still running Windows 7).

Upgrading to Windows 10 is one way to avoid these kinds of headaches, while also staying current with the latest security updates. If you're staunchly opposed to ditching Windows 7, however, there are few fixes available.

As outlined by ZDNet, one way is to press the Windows key + L, then click on the red button in the lower-right corner. Likewise, you can hit CTRL + ALT + DEL to enter the blue 'special options' screen, and then click on the red button. And yet another option is to create another admin account, log into it, log back into the default account, and shut down or reboot as you normally would.

A user on Reddit offers another workaround that involves going into the Local Group Policy Editor. Several people have reported success with this, and if you want to give it a whirl, here are the steps:

  • Press Window + R to open the Run dialog box
  • Type gpedit.msc and press OK (Windows 7 Pro required)
  • Navigate to Computer Settings > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options
  • Search User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin approval and set to Enable
  • Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box
  • Type gpupdate /force and press OK
  • Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box
  • Restart by typing shutdown -r and press OK

Some people are attributing this to a recent Adobe update. It's said that disabling related services can make the issue go away (albeit temporarily), and specifically "Adobe Genuine Monitor Service," "Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Service," and "Adobe Update."

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).