In Windows Server 2016/2019 you have been upgraded to the Windows 10 Desktop Experience GUI. So, in the new versions, you are directed to use the to get to your settings. What was happening within the Settings is that I would choose a setting that calls on the control.exe file to open a Control Panel app. I would get the following error when attempting to do that function:
I immediately think it is a permissions issue. So I go to try to validate the permissions so that I could change them. Turns out, that due to it being a Windows System directory, I couldn’t modify the permissions without compromising directory security with NTFS permissions:
Now, if I open Control Panel, Network Sharing Center, etc…, I was able to access the applets with no issues. This was just happening in the Settings Gear Box Application. So, I started looking around and found that there is a registry key that needs to be modified so that your Administrator account can open these settings apps through the Settings Application:
1) Launch the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
2) Navigate to:
3) Change the value of FilterAdministratorToken (REG_DWORD) from 0 to 1 (If you don’t see that key, you can create it by right-clicking on any empty space from the right panel and select New > DWORD value, type the name and set the value to 1)
4) Reboot the computer and then it will be working fine.
I decided to create a Group Policy in AD to add this registry key so that it would propagate to all my 2016/2019 Servers:
1) Launch the Group Policy Manager
2) Create a new GPO and Link it to your Domain
3) Go to Computer Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry > New Registry Key (DWORD)
4) Set the Action to “Replace”
5) Set the path as:
6) Set the Key as FilterAdministratorToken
7) Set the Value as 1 (Decimal Format) and Save
8) Run gpupdate /force on your servers.
9) Schedule a Reboot of those servers for the change to truly take effect.
After the reboot of the server, all the apps launched correctly from the Settings Application within Windows. I am going to research a little more to see why this is like that. If you have a comment, or more information, please feel free to post!
One thought on “Unable to open settings from the Settings App in Windows Server 2016/2019”
Thanks for the solution! It worked great for me.
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