Today I’ll talk about an “Access denied” issue. This problem was given to me by a colleague whom could not access all the content of the central administration (while using the Farm Admin account), on his SharePoint development environment
After looking at the logs in all directions, nothing helped us to solve the problem!
With a little research, I came across this article: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jorman/archive/2010/07/10/missing-links-or-access-denied-in-central-admin-sharepoint-2010.aspx which gives the answer. (Thanks Jerry!)
Apparently the security on the server, including Windows UAC, requires the use of Internet Explorer as an administrator to run correctly.
Hope this helps