How can I use freeware when I have no admin rights for a computer?

Jack March 8, 2010

I work for a state university that does not grant administrative rights to its employees. Before these rights were taken away, I was able to download and install freeware which helped me do my job. Now, unfortunately, I can’t do that.
Is there a way that I may be able work around the restriction to install helpful software? The university turns a deaf ear to our requests.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I know you didn't exactly want this, but you could try to find a web app that does the same thing as a downloaded app, i.e. ScreenToaster instead of Jing.

      July 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      update: screentoaster going out of business, use

  2. helpful hillbilly
    March 16, 2010 at 11:46 am

    What OS's are you familiar with? Have you tried just loading an entire OS with the software you need on a thumb drive then boot from there. once it starts, you should be ready to go. Just a thought from someone in the same boat you're in.helpful hi

  3. Joe B
    March 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Of course, if you need the program to do your work, you can have your superior authorise it. Bring out the heavy hitters if your sysadmins as a bunch of [pre-emptively censored].

  4. bill gray
    March 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

    may i suggest posting the software / type of software in question and,perhaps, we can suggest cloud / browser-based alternatives. you may also want to mention the browser(s) you are able to use.

  5. Oron Joffe
    March 11, 2010 at 12:37 am

    All the points made above are right, and particularly about using portable applications, (which you could try to install on the C: drive).

    However, you should bear in mind that admin rights were probably removed to prevent users from installing software, and if you subsequently need support and your administrator finds you have been installing software illicitly then you could get into trouble. If it is important that you install software on the PC, talk to your support people and see if they will give you an admin account for your PC.

    • Jack
      March 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm


      I've talked to my administrator. There are too many people in the university to be bothered with individual requests to install apps.


  6. ├Žnon1mus
    March 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    As the previous responses have suggested, using portable apps would solve your problem. Heck, even using web apps will be easier than getting the uni IT admins to grant you access.

    Almost any app can be converted in to a portable app: //

  7. timmyjohnboy
    March 10, 2010 at 4:05 am

    As a note, if they really wanted to they can hassle you for using unauthorized software. I've heard of administrators taking rules such as "no unauthorized hardware can be added" and "no unauthorized software" and translate that to include thumb drives and portable programs.

    Perhaps they are trying to keep the system safe and they've had trouble before.

  8. Taty
    March 9, 2010 at 5:28 am

    The suggestions above are great. Make sure you use a different computer to get the software on the usb drive then just bring it to the computer you want to use it on. Sounds logical, but have gotten that questions more than once :)

    • Jack
      March 15, 2010 at 5:35 pm


      What do I do If I don't have another computer available ? I have another usb drive on my PC, but it still won't install afer the app has been downloaded.


      • Taty
        March 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm

        Hi Jack
        The problem is if you are trying to install it on the usb from the same computer that has the security restrictions, it will still prevent you from blocking it. Could you give your usb to a friend and see if they can install it on the usb themselves? Then give it to you? Any way around it would imply hacking into the security system of your network, and that is most certainly a very bad idea. Depending on how it was set, you might not be able to run it even from the usb, but that is worth a try.

        July 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

        Maybe if you buy one with U3 system preinstalled- the box has a little logo on it...

  9. Aibek
    March 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I will join Steve and Tina in their suggestion to run programs from USB drive (aka portable apps). MakeUseOf has covered tons of portable apps in the past.

    - 100 Portable Apps for Mac and Windows
    - See all Portable Apps covered on MakeUseOf

    • Jack
      March 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm


      I have tried that, and it doesn't work. Any specific portable apps that you think might be worth a try ?


      • Aibek
        March 16, 2010 at 4:37 am

        Gor starters I would recommend, they have
        all-in-one package with the essential software.

        For more specific tools check out our portable apps section



          July 16, 2010 at 2:02 pm

          I would recommend installing on your flash drive- use your home computer and then you should be able to use it to install SOME programs to your Flash drive @ work

  10. Steve Campbell
    March 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Unfortunately Jack with my experience in school software systems the only way you will be able to install any programs on the system is if you are granted admin rights by system administration.

    You should be able to install your programs to a USB thumb drive and run them from there, but some systems are simply too strict and won't even allow that. It is worth a try!

    • Jack
      March 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm


      I tried that, and, as you say, it didn't work. I'm sure there is a way; I just don't have the technical expertise to approach the problem.


  11. Tina
    March 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    which operating system is on the computers you are using?
    Can you connect USB devices?

    • Jack
      March 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

      Hello Tina,

      Our operating system is Windows XP version 5.1. I have attached an external hard drive, but I can't install a program even when it has been downloaded there. Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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