What to do when SharePoint 2013 Central Administration Ribbons are Greyed Out

By Edward M.

The Problem:  In SharePoint 2013, some ribbons elements in the Central Administration area are not accessible and therefore appear to be greyed out.  This occurs even when the user is a Farm Administrator and has established all of the proper SharePoint permissions.  This can be very frustrating, but there is a solution.

In the example below, the “New” button used for both creating a Web Application or a Service Application is not accessible to the user.  Let’s see how we can get it to work.


The Solution: There are two ways to resolve this issue.  The first method is rather easy.  We simply start Internet Explorer as an administrator process.

sp_run_as_adminTo do that, we suggest that you use the “Run as administrator” prompt by right Clicking the Internet Explorer shortcut in Windows Server 2012.  In the new window that pops up, all you need to do is click on “Run as administrator.”  Once you do this you should be able to access the menu items.

In a Development Environment

The second method of resolving this is really more for developers who are working with SharePoint locally, and not in a production environment.

With this method disable the security that is blocking access to these controls.  The security “feature” that is causing is Internet Explorer’s Enhanced Security Configuration (Also known as IE ESC).

To turn off IE ESC in a development environment for Windows Server 2012, you open of the Local Server properties inside Server Manager.  This appears in the right side of Server Manager Window.

You should now see “IE Enhanced Security Configuration” – you’ll want to turn this off.  To do that, click the value next to this property which will bring up the IE ESC configuration.  Set this to off and apply your changes.

Fair warning – do not do this in a production environment!  Disabling IE ESC on a production server is a security risk that could cause you a world of pain by exposing your server to attacks.  This workaround is only recommended for a local, developer environment.

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