All of Microsoft's operating systems, from Windows Vista onward, include UAC or User Account Control which is a feature that prevents apps and malware from making unauthorized changes to your computer. Still, there are times when some programs require administrator permissions in order to work properly or to run specific commands. Some users prefer to disable UAC entirely, but this is not a very good idea because you lose the ability to run Modern applications in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The great thing about the Windows ecosystem is that it offers the opportunity for you to run programs as administrator without needing to disable anything. These are the 7 methods we managed to find and if you know others, you are welcome to share.
Note: This article lists several ways to run programs as administrator. Many of them work in all Windows versions (7, 8, 8.1 and 10), while some only work in some Windows editions. For the methods that work the same way in all Windows versions, we used screenshots taken only in Windows 10, for simplicity reasons.
Modern Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 apps, that are installed from the Store, cannot be run with administrative privileges. Furthermore, they are allowed the same level of permissions as a normal user account, meaning that they will not be permitted to make changes to advanced system settings or the machine's registry settings.
The UAC is a good security feature that helps users control the behaviour of apps by having them need the approval of a system administrator for advanced tasks. Trying to run an application as administrator is one of the changes that requires administrative privileges and will cause a UAC prompt to show up, asking for permission.
For more information about User Account Control, you can read the following guide: What is UAC (User Account Control) & Why you should not turn it off.
In all the modern editions of Windows, you can only run a program with such administrator permissions if it is a desktop app. Some of these applications, like security software, cannot run correctly without having administrative permissions. This situation is related to the fact that they need access to system resources and, usually, perform more complex tasks than Modern apps. So, to reiterate what we have already stated, you cannot run Modern apps (installed via the Windows Store) as administrator, because they have a different status which makes them always run with limited permissions under the scrutiny of the UAC.
To learn more about the difference between these two types of applications, you can read this article: What is a Windows 8 app? How is it different from a desktop application.
How To Run A Program As Administrator From The Windows 8.1 Start Screen Or The Windows 10 Start Menu
If you like to use the Start screen or the Start Menu, then you can quickly launch programs with administrative permissions from them.
You have to find the shortcut of the program you want to launch and right click on it if you use a mouse and keyboard device. If you use a touchscreen, just press on the shortcut and hold. This brings up the contextual menu on the bottom of the Start Screen in Windows 8.1 and beside the app in Windows 10.
You should be able to see, if it is available for that app, an option that allows you to Run as administrator. Click or tap on it and the selected program will be launched. Of course, this action will trigger a UAC prompt that asks for your approval.
If you run the application from an account without administrator permissions, the UAC prompt will ask you to enter the administrator password. If you don't provide the password, the program will not be launched.
There is another easy method to open the app shortcuts in the Start Menu or those pinned to the taskbar as administrator. If you are using a device that works with a mouse and keyboard, you have to click on a program's shortcut while holding down the CTRL + SHIFT keys together on the keyboard. This action will send you directly to Secure Desktop, where UAC asks for your approval to run the program with administrative permissions. This option helps you speed up the launching of programs by avoiding the contextual menu.
How To Run A Program As Administrator From The Desktop Or File/Windows Explorer
This classic way to run any program as administrator will only work if you are on the Desktop or in File Explorer (for Windows 8.1 and 10) and Windows Explorer (for Windows 7). First, you need to find the program you want to run and its main executable or shortcut. Then, you either press and hold on it if you use a touchscreen or right click if you are using a mouse. After this, obviously, you have to click or tap on the Run as administrator option.
UAC will again ask you for approval to launch the program with administrative privileges.
A simpler way to do this in Windows 8.1 and 10 involves using the File Explorer Ribbon. It is fairly simple as all you need to do is to select an application while you are in File Explorer and then go to the Ribbon and select the tab labelled Application Tools.
You should be able to see the option to Run as administrator and you have to click or tap on the upper half of the Run as administrator button. The selected app will be launched and you will receive a UAC prompt.