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Create Administrator Mode Shortcuts Without UAC Prompts in Windows 7 or Vista

One of the most talked about annoyances in Windows Vista are the UAC prompts that constantly pop up when you are trying to make system changes. It’s especially irritating when you often need to run a particular tool that requires administrator mode in order to run. Thankfully there’s a simple hack that you can do to create an administrator mode shortcut that doesn’t prompt for UAC.

Note: This should also work on Windows 7.

This works by setting up a scheduled task to run the application in Administrator mode, and then setting up a separate shortcut that tells the scheduled task to run. If that sounds difficult, it’s really not… just follow through the instructions below.

Note: Because you are required to click through a UAC prompt to setup the scheduled task, it’s not really a security loophole.

Create the Scheduled Task Item

Open up Task Scheduler through the start menu search box (usually you can just type task), and then on the right-hand side click the “Create Task” link:

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The first thing you need to do is give the task a short, simple name, preferably without any spaces in it. Then check the box for “Run with highest privileges” (very important)

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Now switch to the Actions tab, click the New button, and then browse down to the application that you are trying to start.

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Close out of the dialogs by clicking the OK button, which should create the new task in the list. You can right-click on it and choose “Run” at this point, simply to make sure that it launches the application the way you were expecting.

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At this point our scheduled tasks setup is done, so you can close out of that if you want… as long as you remember the name that you used for the task.

Create the Shortcut to Start the Task

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut from the menu.

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Now here’s where the real magic happens… we need to add a command that will run the scheduled task, passing in the name of the task that we used. As you can see, I used runregedit as the name for the task.

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Make sure you enter the task name like this, replacing the capitalized letters for the name of your task. (It’s not case sensitive)

schtasks /run /tn “TASKNAMEINQUOTES”

Now give your shortcut some useful name, and then click next to create it.

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At this point you should have a shortcut that will launch the application in administrator mode.

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But we can tweak it a bit more… open up the properties for the shortcut, and then change the Run drop-down to “Minimized” (to hide the schtasks command line utility), and then click on Change Icon.

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The simplest thing to do is just browse down to the application that you are opening with the shortcut… and you should see the icons for the application itself.

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So now you have a nice looking icon that launches an application in Administrator mode… with no prompts whatsoever.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/15/08

Comments (58)

  1. shelded

    Seems like a great idea, but once we’re all doing this won’t the hackers look in our scheduled tasks list for opportunities?

  2. shelded

    I almost set up one of these shortcuts to the task scheduler … that might not be such a brainy idea, ha.

  3. The Geek

    There are always security risks when you bypass security… you are probably right, if everybody did this then the hackers would start looking there.

    Of course that would also imply that they have software already running on your computer, which means they are already most of the way towards taking control of your system.

  4. anaxamaxan

    Ah, what a great hack. I’m constantly right-clicking Notepad++ in start menu for the “Run as Administrator” option. Not a big deal, but it’s slow. I created a shortcut as described here, then put the shortcut into RocketDock, and now I have instant access to edit protected files as needed.

    Yes, there is a minor security risk here, but as The Geek says, if a hacker were already able to scan your scheduled tasks, then most likely they’ve already achieved administrator access and thus your shortcuts would be the least of your problems.

  5. TroyTroy

    Excellent article. Of note, on my W2K8 install this requires “\Microsoft\TASKNAME” for some reason. (when I was looking at logging info on why it wasnt working, I saw the task refered to as that rather than just the name.)

  6. spoko

    I like it, but there’s one problem: When the application runs, it isn’t the foremost app. So I did this with the CMD prompt, for example, but I can’t just run the shortcut and then start typing. Running the shortcut opens CMD, but then I have to click on the window to actually select it before I start typing. I’ve tried various settings on the shortcut w/r/t maximizing, minimizing, etc. No joy. Any suggestions?

  7. VHMP01

    Frequent pop up’s can also be reduced simply activating the “Run as Administrator” feature, both on the shortcut icon and on the exe files themselves. For example right clicking on the “Acrobat” shortcut and its “Acrobat.EXE”, going to “Properties / Compatibility / Privilege Level” and activating the “Run as administrator” checkbox. In every program that I have installed consciously, I have done this so that pop up’s from what I authorized are brought to a minimum. Of course, security reduces, especially from some sort of updates that these programs could run, but they are the programs that I choose to install anyway.

    Makes sense to me, popups would show with applications that are trying to install themselves or that I did not approve.

  8. Paul

    Thanks for this , Help me lots.

    I have been trying to solve this for some time.
    Just not had a lot of time to be able to sit and work it out.

    Very Nice.

    Thankyou

  9. Fausto

    Oh man! Very good tip! It’s exactly what I looking for!

    Thank you!

  10. Kyle

    Wow thanks man! I was looking for a way to do this from the command-line, since runas doesn’t work very well (at all). Unless I’m just dumb…but thanks regardless!

  11. James

    The last line is almost like fine print on a contract: “So now you have a nice looking icon that launches an application in Administrator mode…”

    What would help me greatly is to be able to create a task that would run an administrator rights program within a standard user account – during start up of the OS. I’m ok with the idea and practice of most UAC applications; however, it seems that there should be a way to set some programs to run with elevated rights – everytime a standard user logs on and without prompts. It seems that UAC is either all on or all off.

    This seemed like a solution but it is not – any suggestions?

    thanks

  12. jd2066

    @James: In the new task dialog just select the triggers tab, click new and select “At Log On” to run that program with Administrative privileges at login.

  13. dinesh

    i tried the above method on ccleaner, but it still pops up the UAC. what to do?

  14. Ardwych

    I couldn’t get VHMP01′s dual-spec idea to work so I tried Geek’s. No luck. There seems to be some detail missing – like who you are when you set up this schedule and who you are when you run it.

    I tried as a limd user pretending to be admin but that didn’t work. So I tried as admin in a limd a/c and that at least got it established but I did it ‘for’ the admin in the User settings. That didn’t work. So I tried it for the limd user in the settings – and that didn’t work either.

    So, admin for l/user in l/user a/c. On l/user desktop. Finally ran, but prompted for admin pwd.. What could be wrong?
    (Using it to run Total Commander file manager.)

  15. Sonic260

    After I browse for the program I want to run and click OK to go back to the Create Task window, I click OK on that window again, a window pops up that says

    “Enter user account information for running this task.”

    Then it has two rows:

    User name: (name of computer)/(User’s name)
    Password:

    At this point, all I need to do is enter my password, but when I do that it says: “Task Scheduler cannot create the task. The user account is unknown, the password is incorrect, or the user account does not have permission to create this task.”

    More than likely it’s the last one. Is this supposed to happen on a regular account?

  16. dude

    I am getting what Sonic 260 is getting. I am trying to create this from a standard account not as the administrator. If I have this created on the administrator account will I be able to use it on a standard account without the password? That is what I am trying to do.

  17. daddydave

    This is a great hack. I’ve been using the Symantec UAC tool for this, but this is cooler.

  18. Mani

    Great. Its work fine. Thank you.

  19. Jason

    great tip thanks!

  20. Buskieboy

    I can’t get the shortcut to work! I’ve followed the example to the letter and I get nothing.
    Why does your example show schtasks.exe, but mine doesn’t ?

    I entered– schtask / run / tn “runeverything” (everything being the search program I want to open)

    I get a prompt asking me which program to use….

    Help!

  21. Buskieboy

    Oh, and it runs fine in the task scheduler….btw. I just can’t get the shortcut to work.

  22. Toasty

    Yeah I have the same problem. I get an error

    ERROR: The system cannot find the file specified.

  23. John

    If you’re having trouble with the shortcut then try deleting the entire “Start In:” line (leaving it blank). That’s what I did in order to get it working (64-bit).

  24. Greg

    This works great. But, in Windows 7, the default is for changes in Windows settings to not require a UAC prompt. So, none of what I did when setting up the task required me to click a prompt. Doesn’t that nullify your statement: “Note: Because you are required to click through a UAC prompt to setup the scheduled task, it’s not really a security loophole.”?

  25. eor

    If you have problems with the shortcut, try removing the quotes around the task name.

  26. Cole

    uhhh i tryed this with halo 3 toy box a modding program and i got a ton of errors

  27. manu

    Thanks for the tip ;)
    On Seven, you must not have the ” ” arround taskname to get it work.

  28. Aaron

    Doesn’t seem to work well for me. I’m using this alternative so I can add EVGA Precision to startup folder without the UAC prompt on boot up. But the UAC prompt still appears. Strangly when closing the app and clicking the shortcut manually in the startup folder in Start Menu the app starts without a UAC prompt…

  29. Aardvark

    Doesn’t work on Windows 7,the task-scheduling works fine (I can run the tasks and it opens the program) but somehow, the shortcut doesn’t work… I even tried it exactly like in the article (filled in everything the same as in the article with regedit) and at first a window popped up for a millisecond with ERROR, but after trying some of the previous commentors’ suggestions (deleting “” and the start in field), the window that pops up for a fraction of a second reads: SUCCESS: Attempted to run the scheduled task “runregedit”

    But it doesnt run the progam…

  30. Brotus

    if you’re having trouble making it work on your laptop, check the Conditions tab of the “Create Task” window. there might be a box checked “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” which of course will screw up the task if you’re running on battery juice.

  31. Don

    yea i had problems getting it to run on W7 until I removed the quotes, now it works great.

  32. Giles

    The short cuts work fine but in Win 7 it’s not quite a cigar if you are making Registry changes! Can you help please? The Shortcut runs and passes the initial UAC BUT then two further dialogues need to be cleared: the Registry Editor worning and then notifiction that Registry keys have been changed.

    Does anyone have the switches to clear straight through the the additional dialogues please?

  33. dan

    Wanted to use this for RocketDock & SpeedFan under Windows 7 but…..

    When you enter Sleep or Hibernate mode the task started by this ‘tip’ is stopped

    Still looking for a Windows 7 ‘whitelist’ solution like Symantec’s UAC tool for Vista

  34. UncaAlby

    I saw these instructions elsewhere, and I tried it. The result is that the application ran without requiring the UAC pop-up, but, where it would normally start up 5 seconds after answering the UAC prompt, instead it takes 10 minutes (not really, I got sick of waiting and shut it down after 5 minutes)

  35. ned

    will these shortcuts work if I make it with and admin account and run it on a standard user.

  36. xxx

    Why we have to use such hacks? It is stupid from MS to force us to use administrator password to run even most basic programs. Im not speaking about regedit. Even some regular kid games need admin password.

    So solution is basic, go to #### with your security and all the users in my home computer are administrators. I will not share admin password with my kids so they can run some game.

    Great security MS

  37. Erik

    I do NOT understand why you use the Task Scheduler for this (I mean I understand it but),
    when there exists tools that can fix this for you. Very easy and simple. Therefore, I decided
    to suggest that a software tool named “UAC Trust Shortcut 1.0″ is available on Internet.
    That’s your best UAC whitelist.

    Cheers,
    Erik

  38. Roy

    ummm yes i can get as far as making the action then when i click ok to make the task then it asks me for my account credidentials. i dont use a password for my account so i cant do anything cause i have no password to enter

  39. Davis

    I found this just found this site, i found it useful, but i am trying to run Spybot search and Destroy, i am trying to write a script to have it run a scan on startup of the program… any suggestions email me it pro davis 98 at h o t m a i l dot com
    please take out the spaces and the dot

  40. Conn

    I don’t know why but i can’t get any to work, i have followed the instructions and selected everything correctly as you have shown but everytime i make a shortcut and then use the shortcut it simply flashes up a command Prompt for milliseconds and then does nothing.

    Can anyone help me out?

  41. Conn

    Never mind i’ve fixed it now, very simple to fix to, i think i was just rushing and put spaces in the names

    If anyone is haveing trouble, do not put spaces in the task’s name and also when creating the shortcut make sure to type the Quote marks yourselves because my quote marks were completely different to the ones on the task name here on the site.

  42. Jiriki

    Another issue for those of you having problems with Shortcuts. If you create the task in a subfolder of teh Task Scheduler Libary (i.e. many how-to’s say to create a new folder) then you must specify this as well in the shortcut. Thus, if I create a new folder under TSL called “UACBypass” and a task called “CMDnoUAC”, then my shortcut must be:

    %systemroot%\system32\schtasks.exe /run /tn “UACBypass\CMDnoUAC”

    otherwise you will get the msg blipping really fast “ERROR: “System could not find the file specified”

    Also, this will not work if the logged in account is not an Administrator. Either the program will launch as the Admin account the task is set to launch as (i.e. the USer won’t see it but it will be in the TaskManger for all users) or the User still gets prompted for credentials invalidating the whole process.

    You must be admin to run the shortcut and bypass the UAC regardless of how you have the “Security Options” set in the Task.

  43. Suncat2000

    I followed your directions to create a task for Visual Studio 2005 on Windows 7. With the exception that it did not give me a UAC prompt, it worked fine. I created my task in the root folder (apparently folders are new in W7) and has to restart the Task Scheduler to see what I added.

    Thanks for the helpful instructions!

  44. Zom-B

    Doesn’t work for me. After following the steps, clicking the new shortcut pops up a UAC window saying “schtasks” wants to make changes to the computer. :(

    I use Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

  45. Zom-B

    Never mind, it works.

    I made some mistakes

    Mainly, DON’T COPY/PASTE the schtasks command example from this tutorial!!! It doesn’t work!
    The quotes used aren’t normal quotes, but Left and Right unicode quotation marks ( “ ‟ ). Type your own normal quotes instead: ( ” )
    Now it works.

  46. Danny

    I seem to have found a minor problem with this.
    I’ve got it all working fine and programs open without the UAC promt. Happy days.
    The problem is with my laptop. When I unplug it from mains all the things I opened with this trick close.
    I don’t even have the box checked beside ‘Stop if the computer switches to battery power’ so I don’t know why it’s closing them.
    Any ideas?

  47. Wells

    I have used this routine to set up a backup program that non-admin users can initiate. The user doesn’t have access to the files to be copied, but I wanted the user to be the one to decide when to rung the task. All good.

    But now I’m scratching my head to figure out how to pass a message back to the user that the backup has completed. I can use the msg command, but I can’t figure out how to pass the username of the user that starts the process so the message can come back to that same user.

    Any idea how to send a message to the user that starts this task?

  48. cuong

    Hello ! i am using win 7 but i could not find out Task in win 7 and i also used to type the word Task in the search box you direct me but still not available, can you show me clearly?

  49. JeffG

    Great solution. I have it working on Windows 7 as you described. Now I have a new wrinkle. I want to drag a file from Windows Explorer onto the icon and get the file name passed to the schedualed job. Any idea how I can do that? Thanks.

  50. GreenGirl

    And is it working in XP Prof?

  51. Iskander

    powershell -nologo “start-process YourProgramHere.exe -verb runas”

  52. Tony Sosa

    How can I create the task and shortcut programmatically? I need a way to deploy to maybe 100 or so PCs, so a batch routine would be nice.

  53. okido

    I use company laptop and they have enabled UAC with user name and password. I can not install/uninstall anything.

    I have followed the procedure above, but i am requested to give password to creat the task.

    If there is anyway I could pass this username/password on win 7 , that would be appreciated.

  54. Frustrated

    Thanks for this… It worked perfectly on Windows Vista. This should be a simple automatic process, not a hack. What an outrageous thing to have to do!

  55. Altitude

    Microsoft’s Application Compatibility Toolkit is a MUCH better fix for this since it will whitelist the app, the scheduler trick will not work for ppl logged in with standard user accounts, only admins (MACT will)

  56. RudyD

    Hi Wells!

    First thing first – how did you do that. Just trying to set up a task (specialli uvnc to being able to start an uvnc service) for a limited user. I have the passwords – but could not _yet_ figure this out.

    So the question is: How could I set this trick for a limited user to run one specific sw with admin \ elevated (?) privileges. TIA!

    Other hand – for your problem. – Pass the username for a temporary textfile then on the end – pass the textfile for the msg.
    (With ease. Run a scheduled task from a scheduled task? B-) probably ??? )
    Just some possible hints yet.

    R

  57. kered

    Hi,

    No matter what I do I can not get the short cut to show up on the dekstop and I have followed all steps and the task works fine. I have tried it on 2 pc’s. Any help would be great please.

  58. what?!

    ive got the same problem as sonice 260:
    After I browse for the program I want to run and click OK to go back to the Create Task window, I click OK on that window again, a window pops up that says

    “Enter user account information for running this task.”

    Then it has two rows:

    User name: (name of computer)/(User’s name)
    Password:

    At this point, all I need to do is enter my password, but when I do that it says: “Task Scheduler cannot create the task. The user account is unknown, the password is incorrect, or the user account does not have permission to create this task.”

    More than likely it’s the last one. Is this supposed to happen on a regular account?
    i dont think i have a regular account lol.

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