You probably have noticed that you can’t run programs as administrator by default in Windows 10. This may be a minor inconvenience, but is a way for the OS to keep the system secure.
The idea being not allowing viruses and malware take admin access without you knowing.
This is the case even if you are using the administrator account set up on your PC. This can get pretty annoying if you are in the middle of tweaking your system, modifying the registry, or simply have programs that require administrator access.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can set up Windows 10 to always run as administrator.
We’ll be taking a look at a few solutions below.
- Run a specific application as administrator
- Keyboard shortcut to run an app in administrative mode
- Always run a specific program in elevated mode
- Registry hack to run chosen programs as an administrator
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, it’s a good idea to clear the air about how accounts are set up in Windows 10. You are asked to set up an account if you install the OS anew on your computer or run it for the first time if it came preinstalled on your device.
This is the main account on the system, and can be configured to be an administrator account by default. Despite this, the User Account Control (UAC) window can still pop up right in the middle of adjusting your system. Or you may get other security warnings when you hit enter after typing a command in the console.
That’s because programs don’t run with the highest privileges by default in these newer versions of Windows. Microsoft has set things up that you have to give your approval for running a particular application with elevated privileges.
Running the program as an administrator is not a complicated process. But doing it each time by right-clicking can get tiresome if you run applications that require elevation on a daily basis.
While you can disable UAC completely, this is not recommended. It can open up the floodgates if you are using an administrator account. Any program, including viruses and malware, will have automatic access to make changes to your system — and that’s the last thing you want.
This is where running programs in administrative mode comes in.
Windows 10 may seem like an overprotective operating system, but all these protections are necessary. They have been put in place to prevent malware and suspicious programs from running amok.
Many old programs need to be run as administrator to properly function. Not to mention you yourself may need to tweak or modify a setting. Working with Command Prompt and PowerShell, most commands need to be run with elevated privileges.
There are a few easy ways to run programs in administrative mode, with each one having its advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation.
You may want a quick workaround or use a keyboard shortcut for occasional use. Or you can opt for a permanent method of turning on administrator mode by default where you specify admin credentials once and use your applications without Windows asking for a password again and again.
Let’s see what we have.
Run a Specific Application as Administrator
If you’re tinkering around your system and want to quickly run an application as administrator, then the easiest way is to use the option that Microsoft already provides. You can access this from the right-click menu in both File Explorer and the Start Menu.
- Open Start.
- Find the app you want to open from the All apps section in the Start Menu, or search for it.
- Right-click the program and look for the Run as administrator
- Click or tap it to start the program with elevated privileges.
Now, while your chosen app will run, doing this will only run it as administrator once.
Keyboard Shortcuts to run an App in Administrative Mode
Another quick workaround for running a program with elevated privileges is by using keyboard shortcuts to run it in administrative mode. This can be done directly from both the Start Menu or the Run dialog, by holding down a key combination before launching the app.
This is what you need to do to quickly run an app in admin mode from Start.
- Find the program icon in Start.
- Press and hold the Ctrl + Shift keys and click on the program tile or icon.
You can also accomplish this via the Run window.
- Press Win + R to bring up the Run dialog box.
- Type the name of the program that you want to open in elevated mode.
- Hold down the Ctrl + Shift keys and hit the Enter key to open the program.
This is a great way to run some of the system programs like Command Prompt and PowerShell with admin privileges. Microsoft added this ability in Windows 10 Version 1803.
Again, these two keyboard shortcuts only work in the Start Menu and the Run dialog, not other areas like File Explorer. You, obviously, have to repeat these steps every time you want to launch that specific program.
This is okay on occasion. But if you regularly use programs that demand administrator access, then you, again, have a couple of permanent solutions.
Always run a Specific Program in Elevated Mode
Have a bunch of applications that you want to always run in administrator mode so that you don’t have to deal with warnings and error messages? There are a couple of ways to get this done.
First is, from the Advanced Properties panel.
- Open Start, and search for the app that you want to run elevated.
- Right-click the result and select the Open file location
- Locate the program shortcut in the window that opens up, right-click and select Properties.
- Click on the Shortcut
- Now, click on the Advanced button to open the Advanced Properties
- Here, select the Run as administrator
- Click OK and Apply, then the OK button again.
Now, every time you start the app, it will run with elevated privileges.
Obviously, if you are using the default User Account Control settings, which is actually recommended, you will still need to approve the UAC dialog to continue with the application. You can also revert the changes using the same instructions. Simply clear the Run as administrator option to do that.
Another way to do this is in Compatibility Mode.
- Located your application or its shortcut, and right-click on its icon.
- Select Properties in the context menu.
- Go to the Compatibility
- Check the Run this program as an administrator.
- Click OK.
From now on, double-clicking or tapping on your application or shortcut will automatically run it as administrator.
Registry Hack to Run Chosen Programs as an Administrator
Finally, if you are comfortable with a little tinkering of the registry, then this neat little hack lets you add a whole list of programs that will automatically run in elevated mode. This is an excellent way to go about this for power users and system administrators.
And it involves a few simple steps.
- Open the Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the following key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers.
- Right-click the blank area in the right pane, and add a new String Value.
- Rename the string to the full path of the program that you want to always run in administrator mode, and then double-click it to modify it.
- Type ~ RUNASADMIN in the Value data field in the window that pops up.
- Hit OK.
Add in additional programs here, if you want to, using the same process.
Close the Registry Editor when you are done, and your applications will now automatically start with elevated privileges from now on.
Running apps and programs as administrator in Windows 10 may be simple, but the important thing is to only elevate the permission for applications that you trust and know how to use.
All the methods listed above can be used depending on your needs and requirements. For quick application, use the context menu or keyboard shortcut. But if you always want administrative access to specific programs, then the next two methods should be up your alley.
Shawn is a WindowsChimp Staff writer, who is a fan of making lists and does the same on this site. He has a Contemporary Writing degree and been in technology niche since last 3 years.