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Don’t log on as admin just yet

23/07/2009

On Windows XP you may find that you need to carry out some tasks as an administrator for which you would logon as  an administrator (local or network/domain).  If the user is already logged on then you can choose to run as administrator for many activities by selecting run as from a file’s context menu.  However not every type of file has this option.

My preferred method to get around this is to run a file management application as an administrator and then any file action from within that is run as an administrator.  The RUNAS executable is accessible from the command line and along with the right selection of parameters should make this quite easy to do.  Unfortunately a restriction around instances (and the fact that the Windows Desktop is an instance of EXPLORER.EXE) means that EXPLORER.EXE can’t be run as – at least not without changing some settings in Windows.

The alternative is to use the fact that Internet Explorer is a standard component and has a synonymity with explorer.  So to quickly access the C drive in explorer (via Internet Explorer) I suggest popping the following line into a shortcut and deploying it to every machine or at least a quickly accessible folder on your network (with a short name you can then quickly type into a Run dialog).

runas /user:administrator "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe c:"

This assumes your admin account is called “administrator” (add an ‘@yourdomain’ after this for domain admin access on the appropriate domain) and Internet Explorer is installed under program files in a folder called Internet Explorer.  You could similarly make this a .BAT file rather than a shortcut file (.LNK),  but I think the shortcut is a slightly neater looking option.

When run a command prompt window will be opened and ask for the password.  Type this in and press enter/return to have Windows open your nice admin file management session.  Just remember to close the window when you’ve finished … you don’t want to leave end users with admin access.

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