You may fire up the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell (which allows you to run PowerShell commands to do cool SharePoint stuff, very technical… I know) and get the following error:
I have found there are two places you may get this error:
The first is kind of a “duh” moment if you will: not running the Management Shell as an administrator will produce this error every time if UAC is turned on. So simply right click and choose the option to Run As Administrator.
The other situation is probably why you are really here (unless you’re like me and did the first case a time or two). The user that is logged in and running the management shell needs some access to the SharePoint config database. Inside SQL Server Management studio connect to the SQL Server instance where the farm config database is stored. In the Security section give the user the following rights on the config database: SharePoint_Shell_Access