Unable to import files when Live is run as administrator (Windows)

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: Windows

Windows runs programs in user mode by default. Windows only allows drag and drop operations between applications that are running at the same level of privileges. Therefore if you have set Live to run as administrator, it isn't possible to drag files from Windows Explorer/File Explorer into Live. When you try, the mouse pointer changes to a "forbidden" symbol:

cantdragfilesmouse.png__201x200_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale.jpg

How to enable file import from Explorer

In general there's usually no need to run Live as administrator. In case you previously set it to permanently run as administrator, you can turn this off as follows:

  1. Open File Explorer, then ProgramData (this is a hidden folder).
  2. Go to this path: C:\ProgramData\Ableton\Live [Current Live Version]\Program
  3. Right click on the Ableton application
  4. Select Properties → Compatibility
  5. Make sure that "Run this program as an administrator" is unticked:Admin_priv.png

If the rare cases that you might need to run Live as administrator (in order to use certain plugins), then the recommended option is to add your folder of files to Places instead. 

In Windows 10, it's only possible to set File explorer to run with admin privileges by adjusting the registry, so we don't recommend this.

Further possible issues importing files