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Among the millions of applications written for Windows, I assume there are probably quite a lot that are too old or too sloppy to run without administrative rights.

To convert users to using non-admin accounts in their day-to-day use of Windows, I need a tool that will sort applications between those than can run safely as non-admin and those that expect to have those rights and will thus show some obvious or not-so-obvious wrong behavior as a result.

Does someone know of such a tool that would be available for XP/Vista/7, and either scan the whole disk for unsafe applications, or would be started at boot time and lurk in the background so that it would show a pop-up and report applications that triggered an error because of this lack of admin rights?

BTW, I know about Process Monitor, but I'm looking for user-oriented tools. Ideally, the app will either display a user-friendly tool explaining why the app failed and/or send me an e-mail so that I can help them out. Thank you.

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closed as off-topic by Moses, Tog, m4573r, techie007, Carl B Dec 24 '13 at 0:44

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It's a good question, but I think you're asking a lot, especially with things like the email feature. –  Sasha Chedygov Aug 12 '10 at 7:39
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3 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Unless you don't look at System Event Logs or use a Sandbox (ie. Sandboxie) and monitoring utilities (ie. ProcessMonitor, RegistryMonitor, FileMonitor), you can't realize what's wrong with your Admin-rights-required application.

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Thanks for the tips. Too bad MS or some other company hasn't come up with some kind of application watcher that would report wether an application can safely run with non-admin rights. –  OverTheRainbow Aug 22 '10 at 12:42
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I don't think this is possible. You'd either have to try your applications one by one to see if they work as they should when running in a user account without admin privs, or you need to contact the software vendor and ask them.

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Some old applications that require admin rights need to do so because they try and write files (log/config/whatever) in to thier installation directory, and you cannot write to Program Files without admin rights.

So, try installing the software in to a base folder other than Program Files (one that you have created so that it doesn't require admin rights to write to) and you might find they are more likely to work without admin rights.

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