Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

LUA error messages are there as a line of defense to protect your computer from malware. You'll need to be running as administrator.

When attempting to download and install anything, I get an LUA error notice. Checking through Google has not been any help. If you could steer me in any correctable direction, I'd appreciate it.

In this excerpt from Answercast #84, I look at a system that is asking for administrator privileges before downloading and installing programs.

LUA error message

Well, "LUA?" It's slightly ambiguous... but I'm going to assume that what you mean is "Limited User Account."

An LUA, or Limited User Account, is one technique that many people setting up computers use to protect you from mistakenly (or accidentally or unintentionally) installing malware. What that means is that the account you are logged into doesn't have permission to install whatever it is you've downloaded.

Limited accounts protect the PC

What that means is that you need to login to an account on that machine that has administrative privileges. That means logging in as the administrator or logging into an account that was given administrative privileges when it was created.

Then using that account, you can install the software that you've installed.

Make sure it offers you the option to Install for all users because after you're done, what you'll do is log out of the administrator account and then log back into your normal limited user account.

That, like I said, is a fairly common way of protecting machines from inadvertently picking up malware.

User Account Control

Now the other thing. It's not called "LUA" in Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. In those operating systems, it's called User Account Control.

It works a little bit differently. When you give an account "administrative privileges," it doesn't necessarily run as the administrator.

In other words, when you download and run something that wants to install, you may still get prompted. You may still get told, "Hey, I need your permission to do this."

It's not an error, but it's a warning that says, "I need your permission to continue; this application wants to install..."

In Windows Vista, Windows 7, [or] Windows 8, that means you can usually click Yes or potentially provide the administrative password to allow whatever needs to happen, to happen.

But if you've actually set up a true Limited User Account then yes, you'll get that error and you'll need to switch to an administrative account to perform the install.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

End of Answercast #84 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C6209 - January 2, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
Ken B
January 3, 2013 10:38 AM

Actually "limited" accounts can still run things as administrator. The difference is that you need to enter an administrator account's password before continuing. (As opposed to an administrator account, which simply requires that you click "yes".)

If the program doesn't automatically try to run with raised privileges, then you can right-click the program's icon and select "run as administrator", or "run as..." and select an administrator account, depending on which version of Windows you're on.

The "install for all users" advice still applies in most cases.

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