Even if you are working as a member of the Farm Administrators group you may experience the problem, that some ribbons in the Central Administration are greyed out and some functions are missing completely.
Or when you look at System Settings you will not see the “Manage services on server” functionality.
So there are two things to keep in mind:
- If you are working in the server (via Remote Desktop) make sure that either UAC is disabled, you start Internet Explorer with “run as administrator” privileges or open the Central Administration from the Start menu
- But what if you want to work remotely and just open the Central Administration from a Client? Then those tips do not work at all. You have to make sure that your account (which is member of the Farm Administrators group) is also member of the local Administrators group on the server.
And then you will see again all functionalities and no greyed out ribbons.
The explanation is that those functionalities (Create new web application, start and stop services) require local administrative rights because those settings will change the setup of the Windows services as well as the configuration of IIS. But once those things are set up you can grant access other lower privileged administrators to the Central Administration as well without giving them local administrative rights. You don’t have to be local admin to manage the service applications itself (but of course you can’t create new ones…)