Use the "Run as..." option to avoid Logoff/Logon

This is a quick way for an Admin to access files on a user's computer, without having to log the user off and log on as an Admin. It may be useful for access to NTFS-restricted local folders or similarly protected network resources that the Admin may need in order to fix a problem.

Let's say a user needs a copy of a file that is in a restricted folder on the network or simply a change in the permissions on a local .exe in order to fix a problem -- the "Run as..." command in Windows 2000 comes in handy. Instead of logging that user off and killing their session all you have to do to get to a "restricted area" is this:


  1. Open 'Task Manager' and under the 'Processes' tab kill the 'explorer.exe' process.
  2. Then go to 'File...', 'New task (Run...)', and on the 'Create New Task' window, click 'Browse...'. The 'Browse' window should take you to the 'WINNT' folder; if not, just navigate to it, and find 'explorer.exe'.
  3. From here, just use the familiar Shift+Right Click on 'explorer.exe' and do a 'Run as...', entering an Administrator's username and password. This will open a new session for you, you will have a desktop with icons, settings and privileges as if you had just logged that user off, and logged on with Admin credentials.
  4. Perform your task and when done, go to 'Start', 'Shut down' and LOG OFF. Notice

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  1. that Windows will say that it is logging off the ADMINISTRATOR account, not the regular user, whose computer you are working on.
  2. After logging off, the screen will become blank -- just press CTRL+ALT+DEL to invoke the 'Windows Security' window, open 'Task Manager' again and start 'explorer.exe' WITHOUT doing the 'Run as..." this time, executing it with the user's credentials, and you get back the user's session with their personal icons, desktop settings and all their apps still running as before you started.

This was first published in January 2002

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