If I use the Administrator account, why do I still have to right-click and choose “Run as Administrator”?

Chris Marcoe April 10, 2013
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So, I can be logged onto a computer as Administrator. If I try running a program, being an administrator, why do I still have to right-click a program and use the “Run as Administrator” option?

Also, is there a registry tweak to change it so everything is run as Administrator without having to right-click?

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  1. Alan Wade
    April 10, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If you have an Admin account then you are Admin capable. When your computer tells you that "You need Admin rights to run this" you can click ok and it will run.
    If you have an "ordinary" account, you would have to supply an Admin password in order to continue.
    You can enable the hidden Admin account by opening an elevated command prompt (right click and Run as Admin) and type net user administrator /active:yes
    Then you will see the account at your logon, but as I previously said for security reasons I would not recommend that you do that.

    To turn the Admin account back off log on to your machine with your own user name, open an elevated command prompt and type net user administrator /active:no.

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      I'm not planning on running without UAC or trying to change it. Its mostly a curiosity question. thank you for the answer.

  2. Faizan Ali
    April 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

    you need to do it so that you are kept safe from malwares.. its just a good step to beef up the users security...

  3. ha14
    April 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    As an administrator, you have the credentials to perform administrator functions. On Windows (7, Vista), an administrator account does not necessarily run a program with administrator privileges, programs are still run in a secured mode, It's meant to prevent unintentional changes on the system.

    On Windows 8, you disable UAC then all your applications will run at “Medium Integrity level”. On Windows 7 will will run at “High Integrity level”. With UAC turned off, user level permissions at the file and directory level are still in effect and Run As Administrator becomes a useful tool in order to gain access.

    Configure Applications to Always Run as an Administrator
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ff431742.aspx

  4. Bruce Epper
    April 10, 2013 at 8:39 am

    The reason for the UAC addition in Vista and its successors is to help thwart the automatic installation of malware on a system. With XP and previous Windows systems, running as Administrator (which most people did by default with their home systems) allowed all programs full access to the system. It should be readily apparent why malware found it so easy to infect and spread through these systems. A zero-day exploit on a website allowed millions of machines to be infected with drive-by downloads since there was no mechanism in place to stop or even prompt the user that the installation was happening. The addition of UAC stops many of those automatic installation vectors when software attempts to modify system files, specific portions of the registry and startup files. At a minimum, it alerts the user that something potenitally dangerous is happening on the system and in some cases, it will prevent any installation at all. (There has been some success in circumventing UAC protections.)

    With Vista & later, when you log in as Administrator, some permissions are stripped from the account (debug programs, install software & drivers, change system-wide settings, etc). A correct response to the UAC prompt when a program requres access to these capabilities results in the appropriate permissions being granted to your access token and they are revoked again once the program exits or the action has been completed (deleting files from C:Program Files...).

    It also provides a little bit of a safety net for new users who may attempt to delete necessary system files (intentionally or not).

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      I think I've seen this somewhere before. Its like Deja vous.

  5. Bruce Epper
    April 10, 2013 at 8:38 am

    The reason for the UAC addition in Vista and its successors is to help thwart the automatic installation of malware on a system. With XP and previous Windows systems, running as Administrator (which most people did by default with their home systems) allowed all programs full access to the system. It should be readily apparent why malware found it so easy to infect and spread through these systems. A zero-day exploit on a website allowed millions of machines to be infected with drive-by downloads since there was no mechanism in place to stop or even prompt the user that the installation was happening. The addition of UAC stops many of those automatic installation vectors when software attempts to modify system files, specific portions of the registry and startup files. At a minimum, it alerts the user that something potenitally dangerous is happening on the system and in some cases, it will prevent any installation at all. (There has been some success in circumventing UAC protections.)

    With Vista & later, when you log in as Administrator, some permissions are stripped from the account (debug programs, install software & drivers, change system-wide settings, etc). A correct response to the UAC prompt when a program requres access to these capabilities results in the appropriate permissions being granted to your access token and they are revoked again once the program exits or the action has been completed (deleting files from C:Program Files...).

    It also provides a little bit of a safety net for new users who may attempt to delete necessary system files (intentionally or not).

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Great answer. Thank you.

      I'll be keeping the UAC on.

  6. Mohit Sharma
    April 10, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I think this is for security purpose,running your system with administrator rights is not at all a great idea , i don't use windows and i am somewhat more familiar to UNIX systems
    which allow you to run as administrator ,the way you want,even that is not recommended
    but UNIX systems assume 'you know what you are doing'.But if you still want to do it you can do two things(in my opinion go for 2nd option):

    1.Enable an hidden admin account 'rename it and delete your's'(not recommended) or login as administrator now that should work there a good how to check it out http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/enable-the-hidden-administrator-account-on-windows-vista/

    2.Easy way is to disable UAC this will let you work without prompting for admin rights

    • Alan Wade
      April 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

      You are a long long way from being right! Disabling the UAC will NOT stop the aking for Admin authorisation.

  7. Alan Wade
    April 10, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Simply as a security precaution you shouldnt attempt any hack that will default all apps and programs to run as Admin!
    What you can do with the apps that are giving you a hard time is to right click on its Start menu shortcut and select Properties.
    Click on the Compatability tab then put a check mark in the Run This Program As An Administrator check box.

    After that any app or program that you do that to will run as Admin without you right clicking it all the time.

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 10, 2013 at 7:02 am

      We actually learned that in class today. Right after I posted this question. the thing is, it seems kind of tedious to do that with every program you run often and want set up that way.

      I guess the question is more l;ike: I'm already administrator. why do I have to tell the computer I am an administrator? Seems redundant. But, I understand its a security issue.

    • justinpot
      April 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Your account is an administrator account, but it's generally a bad idea for apps to be able to use administrative functions without the user knowing. So Windows still requires input for that.

      It used to not do this, and it was one of the key reasons malware was so famously prevalent on the platform. Believe me: while annoying, those prompts are a very good thing. They're kind of like sudo on Linux.

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