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Run explorer window with administrator rights in Vista

Easy, don’t you think ?  Right click explorer(.exe), choose "run as administrator" and you’re set ?


Nope – doesn’t work !  And this is why


The UAC (User Account Control) feature in Vista provides a user with two tokens when he logs on… a token that is bound to his real user rights, and a token with non-admin rights.  In fact, at logon, all processes are launched with the non-admin right, including explorer.exe

(that’s why you may not have access to certain files or why you are getting UAC prompts all the time when moving/cutting/deleting/… files)

Explorer has some kind of ‘sticky’ behaviour. Once explorer.exe is launched, it never goes away. Every single explorer window that is opened, is just a child process of the parent explorer.exe. So even if you use the "run as administrator" function, it won’t work.


However, there is a workaround.


Open explorer, go to "Organize" and choose "Folder and Search Options"

Go to the "View" tabsheet

Enable the "Launch folder window in a separate process" option

Optionally, apply to Folders

Click "OK" to save

Now, when you right click explorer and choose to run it as administrator, it will work

(because the option that we’ve enabled will force explorer.exe to spawn a new process, which will inherit the administrator rights)

© 2008, Peter Van Eeckhoutte (corelanc0d3r). All rights reserved.

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