Windows 7 bug prevents users from shutting down or rebooting computers

Another major bug hits Windows 7 after the January 14 end-of-life (EOL) deadline.

A weird bug of unknown origins has been hitting Windows 7 computers this week, according to multiple reports online.

Windows 7 users have been reporting that they are receiving a popup message that reads "You don't have permission to shut down this computer" every time they attempt to shut down or reboot their systems.

The cause of the bug remains unknown at the time of writing.

For the past two days, users have been scratching their heads for solutions around the problem. The good news is that they've found at least three temporary workarounds and one unofficial fix to resolve the issue.

The temporary workarounds

This section has been updated on Monday, Feb. 10 with new information we received from our readers detailing new workarounds. We're first going to list the two easier workarounds, and then the more complex one.

Workaround 1:

Step 1: Log off from the current account by pressing Windows+L.
Step 2: Use the red button at the bottom-right corner of the screen to shut down or restart the computer.

Workaround 2:

Step 1: Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE several times to enter the Task Manager page.
Step 2: Use the red button at the bottom-right corner of the screen to shut down or restart the computer.

Workaround 3:

Step 1: Create another admin account.
Step 2: Log into that account (or another admin account that was already on the system).
Step 3: Log back into the default admin account.
Step 4: Shut down or reboot normally.

The unofficial fix

A more permanent way to go around this bug has been put forward by several users on Reddit and by IT support firm Quick Heal.

The fix has been confirmed to work by numerous users and goes like this:

Step 1: Press Windows+R to open the Run window.
Step 2: Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
Step 3: In the Group Policy Editor window go to: Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options.
Step 4: In the right panel of the Security Options option, search and double-click on "User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode."
Step 5: In the new window, select Enable.
Step 6: Reopen the Run window, but this time type "gpupdate /force" and press Enter. This will update all group policies.
Step 7: Restart or shut down your system normally.

Windows 7 reached the official end of life (EOL) on Jan. 14, 2020 and is not scheduled to receive new fixes.

Last month, Microsoft made an exception to this rule when it provided a fix for a bug that broke wallpaper display for Windows 7 users.

Seeing that rebooting or shutting down your computer is a more important OS feature than wallpaper support, Microsoft will most likely need to make another exception and deliver a second post-EOL update pretty soon.

Article updated on January 10 with two more workarounds.