When I run SyncBackLite/SE/Pro on Windows Vista (or later) it always prompts me with "A program needs your permission to continue". Why?

You'll need to change all the paths & names in this article as appropriate if you are using SyncBackPro. This article is not applicable to SyncBackFree.

Windows Vista introduced some very strict security features (maintained in later versions of Windows), one of which is called User Account Control (UAC). UAC basically means that all programs are run, by default, with the least number of security privileges. For example, even if you are an Administrator when you run a program it runs at the lowest security level, meaning it cannot delete or change system files, for example. The purpose of this is to protect your system from malicious programs that may damage or exploit your system.

SyncBackLiteSE/Pro requires Administrator (and other, e.g. backup operator) privileges for a number of features to work, e.g. copying open/locked files, creating or deleting schedules, etc. Therefore, when it is run it requests that it be run at the maximum security level for the current user. This means Windows Vista (etc) will prompt you every time it is run. The only time you are not prompted is when it is run from a schedule (this makes sense because you may not even be logged in when the scheduled task is run).

There are five ways to remove this prompt:

  • The recommended way is to have SyncBackLite/SE/Pro start with Windows (via Preferences -> Options main menu). As this is done via a schedule you will not be prompted.
  • Switch off UAC in Windows. This is not advisable.
  • Use a different manifest file for SyncBackLite/SE/Pro. This is discussed below.
  • Create a non-elevated copy of SyncBackLite/SE/Pro. This is discussed below.
  • Use SyncBack Touch. This is discussed below.

Note that running at the lowest security level means you cannot copy open/locked files, for example. It also means any profiles that are stored in the same folder as the SyncBack executable cannot be used unless you have write permission to that folder (which is unlikely).

Using a different manifest

In the folder SyncBackSE is installed to there are two files (the same applies to Lite & Pro, but with different filenames):

  • SyncBackSE.exe.manifest
  • SyncBackSE.exe.manifest.nonadmin
The manifest file is used by Windows Vista (etc) to know what security level to run the program at. If you want SyncBackSE to run without prompting, i.e. at the lowest security level, perform the following tasks using Windows File Explorer:
  • Close SyncBackSE
  • Rename SyncBackSE.exe.manifest to SyncBackSE.exe.manifest.admin
  • Rename SyncBackSE.exe.manifest.nonadmin to SyncBackSE.exe.manifest

Creating a non-elevated copy

As an Administrator, open Windows File Explorer and navigate In the folder SyncBackSE is installed to:

  • Close SyncBackSE
  • Copy SyncBackSE.exe to SyncBackSE2.exe
  • Copy SyncBackSE.exe.manifest.nonadmin to SyncBackSE2.exe.manifest

Now when you run SyncBackSE2.exe it will run non-elevated and so not prompt. Also, anything scheduled using SyncBackSE2 will not be run elevated and also will not appear as scheduled in the elevated SyncBackSE.

You will need to repeat any manifest-switch whenever you update (because the update will overwrite your non-admin version of  SyncBackSE.exe.manifest with a new admin-level default version with the same original name). Plus, the copy you made of the old admin-level manifest as SyncBackSE.exe.manifest.admin may not now match the latest/updated EXE, DLLs, etc - you should delete and then re-create it after an update. The same concept applies to any renamed versions of the EXE if you used that method (delete it, and re-copy/name the latest EXE just installed - otherwise your existing/older alternate/renamed version may not match the other new components)

Windows has blocked some startup programs

If you receive the message 'Windows has blocked some startup programs' when logging in then Vista (etc) has blocked the program from starting. This article explains how to run a blocked program.

SyncBack Touch

SyncBack Touch is a cross-platform file server. It lets SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE copy files to and from another device, e.g. Windows, macOS, Linux or Android device, over the network (LAN or Internet). SyncBackFree cannot use SyncBack Touch.

Simply install SyncBack Touch on the device you want to the access the files on and then create a profile in SyncBackPro/SE to use that device.

On Windows, SyncBack Touch run as a service in the background. This means it can copy open/locked files and also access most (if not all) of the files on the computer on behalf of SyncBackPro/SE. Because of this if you use SyncBack Touch with SyncBackPro/SE then you may not need to run SyncBack elevated.