How-To Geek

Always Start an Application in Administrator Mode on Windows 7 or Vista

Many utilities need to be run as administrator in order to function properly, especially older utilities that haven’t been updated to support Windows 7 or Vista yet.

All shortcuts in Windows since Vista have a special property that you can set that will allow the application to run as Administrator. This works perfectly for creating a batch file to restart a service, for instance.

To set this property, just right-click on any shortcut, and click the Advanced button on the Shortcut page to get to the Advanced Properties dialog.

You’ll see a dialog with a checkbox for “Run as administrator”.

From now on, the application will always run as administrator if you use the shortcut to launch it. (You’ll be prompted by UAC if you have it enabled).

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 05/2/07

Comments (48)

  1. Tim

    I’m having a related problem, several applications (IE for one) will not start unless I run as administrator. They just cycle for a bit and then it stops. If I run as administrator, they seem to work. I am the only user on that machine, so I am an administrator. Why should I have to run as an administrator if I already am one. Plus if I try this solution, everything is greyed out, which I thought was due to the fact that I am already an administrator. Most programs have the run as administrator available on a right click, but some do not, so I have to use windows explorer to find the program.

  2. Seab

    I’ve always been a bit of a security nut. As such I’ve always run XP & 2000 from a limited account. This means certain apps need to be run as my one admin account, e.g. Nero 6, ISObuster, et cetera.

    I don’t mind right-clicking an application/shortcut, then going to “Run As,” then inputting the admin password. But if there is a way where an application automatically launches the “Run As”, or just runs as admin on XP, that’d be awesome.


  3. Sean

    Wow stupid me. XP has an almost-identical feature. Right click a shortcut (doesn’t work directly on an exe), go to properties, then advanced, then check “Run with different credentials”. Now the “Run As” dialog appears each time you execute the shortcut.


  4. Rad

    it would be nice in XP if you could prepopulate the “run as” credentials, so a user doesn’t have to enter a username\password each time…any ideas there?

  5. Kari

    In response to Tim:
    ********************************I’m having a related problem, several applications (IE for one) will not start unless I run as administrator. They just cycle for a bit and then it stops. If I run as administrator, they seem to work. I am the only user on that machine, so I am an administrator. Why should I have to run as an administrator if I already am one. Plus if I try this solution, everything is greyed out, which I thought was due to the fact that I am already an administrator. Most programs have the run as administrator available on a right click, but some do not, so I have to use windows explorer to find the program. ****** Tim on May 3, 2007 8:09 am

    Below is a quote from James Bannan from within a document I found when searching for an answer as to Why Administrators didn’t have Adminstrator rights in Vista.
    “Why administrators ain’t administrators ”
    By default in Vista, the first account you create is a member of the Administrators group. You can check that by go into Computer Management (right-click My Computer, Manage) and navigate to Local Users and Groups.
    Take a look at the properties of your own user account under “Member Of”, or look at the members of the Administrators group, and there you are.
    The local Administrator account is also listed there, which should be reassurance enough that you have full local admin access.

    However, let’s suppose you want to do something like change all the security permissions on the C:\Program Files folder. As an administrator you should be able to, right? Wrong.
    Right-click on Program Files and select Properties. Go to the Security tab and there’s a list of currently-assigned access rights.
    Click Edit, go through the standard confirmation, and then try to change something. You can’t – everything is greyed out.

    However, turn UAC off and suddenly all is revealed – you now have full access to the underlying filesystem returned to you.
    There are a number of ways to disable UAC, and I’ll go into them in greater detail once I get some info back from Microsoft, but a straightforward way to do it is to go into the Control Panel, switch to Classic View, double-click User Accounts, and select “Turn User Account Control on or off?. This takes you to another window, where you simply untick the checkbox to disable UAC, hit OK and then reboot.

  6. Ajith

    Is it possible to launch an application in Administrator mode though command prompt. I mean any swich is available?

  7. Ivanilson Ribeiro

    How can i do this programmatically? There’s a API Functions for it?

    For example:

    I want to permit my app create the shortcuts with this option checked…

    Thanks in advance.

  8. Geolino Canaver

    I have a problem when im trying to install my video card it says “Setup will only run in administrator mode.Setup is aborting,”Can any1 tell me the reason? thx

  9. Zander

    I’ve tried to do this, but the “run as administrator” tab is disabled. Any ideas?

  10. me

    This is my computer, I AM the administrator. I shouldn’t have to choose to run everything as an administrator. I don’t see the point. How do I set Vista so I am always the administrator and I can run whatever I want when I want?

  11. jim

    you ARE the admin, but that feature isnt meant to make life hard on you, malware can control your computer and be held back by that annoying feature…

  12. Skullaria

    Best I can tell, Vista is malware.
    I’m having the same problem – my run as admin boxes are greyed out, but my UAC is turned OFF already, and my programs won’t run.

  13. Rachel

    I have the exact same problem! the admin box is greyed out and I need to run DMDX to do my final uni project!

    Please help!!

  14. kyle

    Indeed I’m the Admin of my computer, and for this specific program I’m trying to launch, the “Run as Admin” icon is grayed out and I need it to run the program. This is frustrating. It shows the shield right next to the icon, which leads me to believe that there is a security setting that is putting it there and not allowing me to run it. Which is it though?

  15. Jacob

    I used to be able to run Internet explorer fine but now I have to run it as an administrator so Ive ticked the run as administrator box under the shortcut property tab. But now every time I run EI it comes up with a box that says Iexplorer.exe is made by an unknown publisher, this is a pain because it comes up every time I open IE. I have had a malware problem recently but I think Ive got rid of it using AVG, Spybot and Ad-Aware. Apparently if you disable UAC it can lead to more problems with malware taking over so Im reluctant to do this and dont see why I should if I didnt have this problem before.

  16. JanPB

    Starting application as an administrator??? This is such a NO-NO in general it’s unbelievable Windows actually REQUIRES it. Wow. I mean, wow. Glad I don’t use it.

  17. RJT

    Thanks Much. We appreciate these tips.

  18. shawn

    run as administrator” tab is do i enable it.

  19. Alex

    I’m having the same problem as shawn (above). This doesn’t make sense, seeing as I’m the computer’s only user / administrator. Any help?

  20. John

    Hey guys,

    Here is your SOLUTION:
    If your ‘Run program as administrator’ option is greyed out then click the [Show settings for all users] button which is below it. It will then ask you for your administrator password and the option will now no longer be greyed out.


  21. Peter

    No. The admin option is greyed out because his UAC is disabled. You can only run elevated with UAC on because if you turn it off you run everything elevated.

  22. tom

    >October 31, 2008 3:16 pm John
    >If your ‘Run program as administrator’ option is greyed out then click
    >the [Show settings for all users] button which is below it…

    >November 9, 2008 5:41 am Peter
    >No. The admin option is greyed out because his UAC is disabled…

    Peter: No, no. My admin option is greyed out, but my UAC is enabled.
    John: Whenever my ‘Run as administrator’ is greyed out, the ‘show settings for all users’ is also greyed out.

    Everyone: I saw something somewhere on a Microsoft website (I can’t remember where) that said that these options will be greyed out on all “Vista compatible” apps, or something like that. In other words, if the app has already told Vista what token it wants, then the user isn’t supposed to override that selection.

    But of course, we all want to override that selection, which is how we found this thread in the first place.

    Anyone out there have any suggestions?

  23. matt

    Windows Vista will only start up in safe mode. The ‘help menu’ suggests using the start up tool on the Windows Vista installation cd. However, I purchased this computer with the OS, Vista, already installed and it did not come with any cd. Can you help me?

  24. Jordan

    In response to Geolino Canaver, i am having exactly the same problems as you, i try to install my graphics driver and it says setup is aborting, run in administrator mode. I tried ‘run as>logged into my own account, again… and it still wouldnt work…

    any suggestions for XP?

  25. ben

    go to program files folder, and find the app launcher (*.exe). right click>properties and look in compatibilty tab, there is a setting to run as admin. hope this will help.

  26. Alisha

    I recently installed a new application. It doesn’t work unless i run in on administrator. However, when i run it on administrator, when the application opens, there is a box in the middle of the screen saying “Not optimum mode, recommended mode: 1280 X 1024, 60Hz” when it does disapear after i’ve pressed some random button on the screen, it comes back every 2-3 minutes.? I can’t click or move the box. Infact, the cursor goes behind the box, it is unable to go click ON the box. What should i do?

  27. Chris

    This goes to Shawn and everybody who has the same problems
    run as administrator” tab is disabled. how do i enable it.

    There are several reasons that this is greyed out. On the HOME VERSION there the Administrator Account isn’t enabled. This enables the ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT

    IF Group policies are set from someone else and he disbled it then only this person can enable it..

    Start > Search type CMD above there CMD will show up if possible Run As Admininstrator otherwise just doubleclick – then enter this line below

    NET USER ADMINISTRATOR /ACTIVE:YES and press enter.. this should do it..

  28. m. duBois

    ok so i have done all that you say, but EVERY TIME I START THE PROGRAM UP IT STILL ASKS ME! and i have gotten rid of that stupid thing on programs b4 but i cant do it again!

  29. stephen

    open and admin cmd prompt and type: net user Administrator /active

    log out log in as administrator and never deal with uac again… but beware of the malware!

  30. christian


    I am a co-developer for phpChess, and we found that using some dll libraries in a project will stop the app from running if it is set to administrator mode. We are having this issue with the current version of phpChess for PC. Our app fails when the .exe file is set to run as administrator. So the idea that you can set everything to admin is not great. Better to disable some settings in the administrative set-up in general such as warning levels. That is handled a lot better in Windows 7.

  31. Roi

    you need to contact the vendor of your pc and ask them for the installation disk

  32. Михаило Хаџи-Ценић

    Your site is a fine example of a promise made 20 years ago – of how useful and democratic the internet can be (if there are nice and hard working guys like you to provide the material, of course).
    My SpeedFan would not recognize the hard disk in Vista x64. Looking for this very specific solution (but vaguely in my mind as what to do and where to begin), with merely the search string “AS ADMIN” applied in google, brought me almost instantly to this page. Where the solution is being presented in a clearest way – easy to apprehend and quick to learn.
    It works perfectly! Thanks geeks…

  33. Wes

    I’m having a related problem. But instead of running it as an administrator from that shortcut, I have to open it via the internet. The program is Sony Download Taxi. I can do what you said and open it from a shortcut always as an admin., but I have multiple downloads to do and it only opens the program via the internet. And when it opens(via internet), it tells me I need to run it under administrative privlages. How can I set the program to open via the internet always with administrative privlages?? Or at least just once? If you could give me any feedback, either e-mail or through this site, that would be fantastic.

  34. ash

    I wonder if you can help me, I recently had Vista Internet Security on my laptop… I’ve removed it with Malwarebyte and scanned my computer 3 times to make sure it was gone. However, now in order to open anything on my computer I have to right click and run as an admin. None of my programs run on start up anymore because I have to go through and open them all as admin. Any ideas?

  35. anja

    I’m having a similar problem as Tom did a couples years back.
    When I right click on a certain program’s shortuct, it does not give me the compatibility tab. However, under sthortcut–>Advanced, there is the option to select to always run a program as administrator. I cannot select this option because it is entirely greyed out.

    I’m currently use Windows 7 Professional, with UAC turned on to the max. Help would be appreciated.

  36. Blaine Irwin

    I paid my $10 topaypal but when I went to administrator mode, I got lost. What next?

  37. Joshua Boi

    Hi, I tried to unclick the UAC and reboot, it doesn’t work..

    I tried to key NET USER ADMINISTRATOR /ACTIVE:YES in CMD, still doesn’t work..

    Tried to run as administrator, failed too..

    Please help..

  38. VirtualTomDavis

    I’d like to do this for Virtual PC, but the option to run as administrator is disabled. I believe I need to run as admin in order to accomplish certain tasks, such as ‘ping’.

    Any hints on how to run Virtual PC as admin?

  39. Slim

    After installation I get an error saying “UNable to find a version of the runtime to run this application” and when I run FSX I see a burger meat box sitting on the runway…can’t do anything with it…
    Please Help.!

  40. Michael Hohmeyer

    Where does windows store the “run as administrator” bit ? I’m writing an application that I want to distribute. Part of the distribution is an updater. The file updater.exe needs to run as admin to
    install stuff on C:/Program Files/… . When I build the updater I can manually set the file type
    to “run as admin” but when that file gets installed, it no longer has the “run as admin” setting.
    Any thoughts ?


    isn’t work automatically

  42. Heywood Jablowme

    my porterican wife got phat

  43. kevinp

    To run as the admin from the cmd prompt use:

    runas /user:domain\username application


  44. Frank Duffey

    UAC can be disabled or turned off if you are running a firewall on router/modem then as to your problem the solution was correct in as the rights and usage of a Admin account differ from what you may assume, So Its always better to set administrative Policies on the Install date. You can change the policy for that application by setting your Group or member rights to that application which you want to run.

  45. Adam

    Thank you so much it was getting real annoying right clicking and running as administrator everytime! XD

  46. Rony Varghese

    I owe you one. Cheers :)

  47. Kristy

    I am running Windows 7 Starter. I need to run a program as an administrator. I created a shortcut, went to properties, shortcut, and advanced – but the option to run as administrator is greyed out. Can you tell me step by step how to enable this? No other answer in this thread has solved this issue. Thank you!

  48. Muthu

    I had the same problem(after using AVG) with my Windows 7. To fix it.

    Scan your PC using PC Analyser from AVG (i.e click the “PC Analyser”) on the main AVG Anti-Virus screen. Fix all the problems using the once-free “AVG PC Tuner”.

    Note: You can’t run the file directly, you will get your usual error.
    1. You need to save as the avg_pct….exe file.
    2. Right click and run using “Run As Admin” options.

    Hope it works. It worked for me.

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