Windows Server 2012, Internet Explorer and missing links in Central Admin

This is one that stumped me for a short while. Anyone who has experienced “missing links in Central Admin” may be aware of this already. You install SharePoint, login to the server and try to navigate to Central Admin from a favourite in Internet Explorer.

Note – I realise you shouldn’t really be using IE locally on production servers. This is typically a “demo/dev box” problem

Everything is fine until you try to configure some services, and you find that a bunch of links have disappeared! In particular I spent a good 15 minutes working out why “Services on Server” had gone walkabout (for about 10 of those minutes I thought I’d gone mad and forgotten where it was).

You will probably have checked your permissions without any success:

  • Are you logged in as an Administrator? (yes)
  • Are you in the Farm Admin group? (yes)
  • Have you tried rebooting? (yes)

The truth is slightly more simple than that. There are two vital settings which are required for this to work on a server:

  1. Turn off “Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration” (IE ESC). This is a pretty standard task for most single server demo / development boxes.
  2. When starting IE “run as administrator”

The second one is the kicker. When you run the “Central Administration” link from the Start Menu / Start Screen it automatically kicks into elevated privileges (and if you have User Access Control turned on then you get the normal prompt to “run as administrator”).

If you are running Server 2008 R2 then it is a pretty simple task to just modify the IE shortcut in your taskbar / desktop to “Run as Administrator” and you are good to go.

If you are running Server 2012 though things are not that simple! Sure, you can set the same option, but it won’t work (at least it didn’t for me).

The only way I could get it to work was to browse to the IE 10 install directory (C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\) and create my own shortcut to the iexplore.exe application.

I then set that shortcut to “Run as Administrator”, pinned it to the taskbar and voila! success!

Just another one of those Windows Server 2012 quirks to get used to I guess…

If you have found an easier / quicker way to do this .. then please let me know in the comments!

  • Martin Hatch

    erm .. are you commenting on the wrong article ? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    There is a typo in psconfig invocation: should be "psconfig.exe -cmd create configdb […]" instead of "psconfig.exe -create configdb […]"

  • Anonymous

    very useful. thanks!

  • Martin Hatch


    Yes, but I didn't want to have to do that every single time I ran it

  • Anonymous

    From Server 2012 if you pin IE to the Task bar you can then right click on IE to display some option. One of which is IE. Clicking on that gives you the option to Run As Admin.

  • Anonymous

    Great Workaround, thx a lot!

  • Anonymous

    Its really awesome help by your post.. Thanks

    Sandeep Parandekar

  • Tom Atchison

    This was really bugging me. It also affected my ability to add users to the farm administrators group.

    Thanks so much!!