9 ways to run programs as administrator in Windows

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 system. Still, there are times when some programs require administrator permissions to work properly or to run specific commands. Some users prefer to disable UAC entirely, but this is a bad idea because you lose the ability to run universal applications in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, and you expose yourself to security risks. The great thing about the Windows ecosystem is that it offers the ability for you to run programs as administrator without having to disable anything. These are the 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 an administrator. Many of them work in all Windows versions (Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1), 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.

Important: read this first!

Trying to run an application as administrator is one of the changes that require administrative privileges and will cause a UAC prompt to show up, asking for permission. For more information about User Account Control, 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 administrator permissions if it is a desktop app. Some of these applications, like security software, cannot run correctly without having administrative permissions.

Universal Windows apps that are installed from the Store in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 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.

To learn more about the difference between apps from the Store and desktop apps, read these articles:

1. Run a program as administrator from the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7) or Start Screen (in Windows 8.1)

If you have Windows 10 or Windows 7, and like using the Start Menu, then you can quickly launch programs with administrative permissions from it.

In Windows 10, find the shortcut of the program that you want to launch and right-click on it, if you use a mouse and keyboard device. If you use a touchscreen, press on the shortcut and hold. This opens up a contextual menu with a few options. Click, tap or hover the mouse cursor over the More option and then press the "Run as administrator" button.

In Windows 7, when you right-click on a program shortcut from the Start Menu, you should see the "Run as administrator" option directly. Click or tap on it, and the selected program will be launched with administrative permissions, after you say Yes, in the UAC prompt.

In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen and find the program that you want to launch as administrator. Right-click or tap and hold on it, and then click/tap on the “Run as administrator” option.

In all the three operating systems, before the program you selected is launched, a UAC prompt is triggered, asking 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 do not provide the password, the program will not be launched.

2. Run a program as administrator using the “Control + Shift + Click" shortcut

This is one of the easiest and fastest ways of starting a program as an administrator. Locate the program that you want to launch as administrator. Then click on that 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.

The program is launched as soon as you confirm that you want to run it as an administrator in the UAC prompt. This method is one of the fastest we know because it avoids the contextual right-click menu when launching programs.

3. Run a program as administrator from the desktop

This classic way to run a desktop app as administrator works if you are on the desktop, and it is the same in Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. First, you need to find the desktop app that 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. Next, you have to click or tap on the "Run as administrator" option.

UAC will ask you for approval to launch the desktop app with administrative privileges.

4. Run a program as administrator from File/Windows Explorer

Just like in the previous method, you can run a program as administrator if you right-click (or tap and hold) on a program in File Explorer (in Windows 8.1 and 10) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7), and then click/tap on "Run as administrator."

A simpler way to do this in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 involves using the File Explorer ribbon. All you need to do is to select an application while you are in File Explorer and then go to the ribbon and choose the tab labeled Manage.

You should be able to see the option to "Run as administrator" displayed in the Run section of the Manage tab. Click or tap on the upper half of the "Run as administrator" button.

The selected program is launched after you confirm your choice in the UAC prompt.

5. Run a program as administrator using search and the “Control + Shift + Enter” shortcut

If you prefer using search, open Cortana in Windows 10, the Start Menu in Windows 7, or switch to the Start Screen in Windows 8.1. Regardless of the operating system that you use, start typing the name of the program that you want to run as administrator. Once the search results are displayed, if there are multiple results, use the directional keys on your keyboard to select the program you want. Then, simultaneously press the Control + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard.

As a final step, in the UAC prompt, you have to confirm the fact that you want to run the program as administrator.

6. Run a program as administrator from the Task Manager

Another easy way to launch a program as administrator is to start it using the Task Manager. To open Task Manager, press the Control + Shift + Escape keys on your keyboard or follow one of the methods described here: 10 Ways to start the Task Manager in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. Then, if it opens up in its compact view, click or tap on the “More details” button.

In the expanded Task Manager, open the File menu and click or tap on “Run new task.”

A window called “Create new task” is opened. Use its Open field to enter the path to the program that you want to launch as administrator, or click/tap on Browse to navigate to it using File Explorer. Then, make sure that you enable the option that says “Create this task with administrative privileges” and click or tap on OK.

After you confirm your action in the UAC prompt, the program is launched as with administrator permissions.

7. Run a program as administrator using Command Prompt or PowerShell

If the command line is your favorite means of asking your computer to do what you want, you can also use the Command Prompt or the PowerShell to run a program as administrator. Use one of the methods from this guide to run the Command Prompt: 7 Ways To Launch The Command Prompt In Windows, or one of the methods described here: Simple questions: What is PowerShell & What can you do with it?, to open PowerShell.

Then, in the Command Prompt or the PowerShell window, enter the following command, adjusting it to fit your needs: runas /user:your_computer_name\administrator_name “C:\path\program.exe.”

Replace your_computer_name with your computer’s name, administrator_name with the name of the user account that is an administrator on your system and “C:\path\program.exe” with the complete path to the program that you want to run as administrator.

For example, on one of our work computers, this command could look like this: runas /user:Laptop-Lenovo\codru “C:\Users\codru\Desktop\mediacreationtool.exe”.

If you entered the command correctly, you are also asked to enter the administrator's password. Then, press Enter on your keyboard.

Say Yes to the UAC prompt that is displayed and the program you chose launches with administrator privileges.

8. Always run a program with administrator permissions

To avoid constantly having to use the methods mentioned above for desktop apps that you use on a regular basis, you can set a program to always run with administrator permissions.

To do this, you need to find the main executable of the program you want to run. A simple way to do this is to right-click (or tap and hold) on its shortcut and select the “Open file location” option from the contextual menu.

When you get to the main executable of the program, right-click on it (or press and hold) to view the contextual menu. Then, click or tap on Properties.

In the Properties window, go to the Compatibility tab. At the bottom of the window, check the box that says “Run this program as an administrator” and then click or tap on Apply or OK.

This setting is now applied, and the program will always “Run as administrator.”

Note that you can also edit the properties of a program shortcut so that you do not have to tamper with its main executable. Open the shortcut's Properties window, then select the Shortcut tab and, finally, click or tap on the Advanced button. This action will open the Advanced Properties window.

In the Advanced Properties window, check the box that says “Run as administrator” and then click or tap OK. Finally, you have to click or tap on the OK button again in the Properties window and you are done.

9. Run a program with administrator permissions and without a UAC prompt

The final section of this tutorial helps you understand how to run a program with administrator permissions without being prompted by the UAC (User Account Control) every single time. It is simple, and you do not have to disable UAC and compromise the security of your operating system. You can do this in all versions of Windows, with the help of the Task Scheduler. A detailed step by step procedure can be found here: How to use the Task Scheduler to launch programs without UAC prompt.

Conclusion

In the latest versions of Windows, there are fewer apps that need to run with administrator permissions than there were in the past. However, a few legitimate programs still require elevated privileges. The main thing to remember is that even if you are logged on with an administrator account, you regularly run apps as a standard user. This means that if you need to run a program that requires administrator permissions, you can just use one of the methods described above and then approve it in the UAC prompt that is shown. If you know a different way or if you have some other tips, please use the comments section to share them with us.