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Use 'Run As' To Execute Programs As Administrator

Or To Run Programs and Access Files As A Different User

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Don't Log In As Administrator


Security administrators and experts often preach that users should use the least-privileged user account they can, without adversely impacting their productivity, for day-to-day tasks and activities. All-powerful accounts such as the Administrator account in Microsoft Windows should be reserved for only when they are needed.

Part of the reason is so that you don't accidentally access or modify files or system configurations that you shouldn't be. The other part of the reason is that viruses, Trojans and other malware often execute using the access rights and privileges of the account being used. If you are logged in as Administrator, a virus or other malware infection will be able to execute virtually anything with carte blanche on the computer. Logging in as a normal, more restricted user can help secure and protect your system.

However, it can be frustrating to have to log out and log back in as Administrator to install a program or modify a system configuration, and then log out again and log back in as a regular user. Thankfully, Microsoft added a feature called 'Run As' which allows you to run programs using a different username and password than the one currently logged in.

How To Use 'Run As'


If you find that you need to install programs or make changes to the system that require Administrator access, or even if you need to access files or folders of another user but don't want to log out and log back in as that user, you can use the 'Run As' command by following these instructions:

  1. Right-click on the file or program you wish to run. (You can right-click on executable file names in a Windows Explorer window, or you can right-click on programs listed in the Start menu.)
  2. Click the radio button next to "The following user:"
  3. Enter the username of the account you wish to log in as. (You can also click arrow on the drop-down box for a list of available user accounts.)
  4. Enter the password for the account being used.

You do not need to do anything to "turn off" that access. Only the program you execute using 'Run As' will run using the account you choose. Once you exit that program, everything is still just as it was when you started.

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