Gone with Windows 7 : RunAs for Explorer

Gone with Windows 7 : RunAs for Explorer

Summary: One of the most useful support tools for Windows XP that we've used over the years, is the ability to run Windows Explorer as an administrator account, while having a restricted user logged in. This allows an administrator to perform Explorer-related tasks while leaving the end user logged in.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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One of the most useful support tools for Windows XP that we've used over the years, is the ability to run Windows Explorer as an administrator account, while having a restricted user logged in. This allows an administrator to perform Explorer-related tasks while leaving the end user logged in.

This is accomplished by using the command "runas /user:administrator explorer.exe". It is a great tool and we almost use it daily on XP computers.

But, with Windows 7, suddenly this no longer works. Running Explorer with RunAs, simply opens a new instance of Explorer as the currently logged in user. Back when we started migrating users from XP to 7, we searched and searched for the solution for Windows 7 that works like XP. But, even today, none has been found. The workaround? To use Switch User and log in to the PC as an administrator account, and run Explorer. But, the drawback is when trying to switch back to the regular user that is logged in, their password needs to be typed in. This is counterproductive if the user is not at their desk while the admin is troubleshooting.

So, with enhanced "security features" in Windows 7, some features have completely disappeared. I'm guessing there are some 3rd party solutions available, but we normally try to avoid these due to adding costs and other issues into the mix.

Topic: Open Source

Chris Clay

About Chris Clay

After administering Linux and Windows for over 17 years in multiple environments, my focus of this blog is to document my adventures in both operating systems to compare the two against each other. Past and present experiences have shown me that Linux can replace Windows and succeed in a vast variety of environments. Linux has proven itself many times over in the datacentre and is more than capable for the desktop.

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4 comments
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  • There are many things gone in Explorer after XP. See the full list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7 . The Explorer team didn't do a good enough job with Vista and 7 and they aren't with Windows 8 either by refusing to fix all these bugs and omissions.

    As for RunAs, you can use Sysinternals' ShellRunAs to bring the exact functionality back. ShellRunAs can also be registered in the context menu.
    xpclient
  • See if Win7 Explorer will behave the way you want it to after launching it inside a standard user login session. Use the Windows key, or point and click if you must, to open the Start menu. Type char string explorer.exe into the Search box. Ignoring the results, use keyboard combination Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run any program with administrator privileges. Enter your admin credentials into the UAC dialog. Test this instance of Explorer to your heart's content. Oops! Apparently apexwm is correct, because a check of Task Mgr. (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) showed the process running as a standard user regardless of the attempt to elevate! By contrast, a quick check likewise after launching Notepad worked. Oh well. I guess the Command shell will have to do, but elevating the Command Processor just to browse the file system seems like a bit of overkill. And although hardly ideal (impossibly so for searching), don't forget that Explorer's address bar can be used to reveal normally concealed folders, but only if you type the correct path, a la the command line!
    apachegila@...
  • The Command line, in Windows, Surely Not!

    Command line is the main reason given by Windows Fanboi's to try and put people off using Linux, as well as the obsolete idea that you have to write your own drivers from Scratch.
    djflunk-24734705849945462478489202274377
  • anonymuos :

    Thanks for pointing out the Sysinternals solution. I believe we have seen that one before. The point with all of this, is that Microsoft continues to rip out core functionality from the operating system, with no direct solution other than relying on a 3rd party.
    Chris_Clay