I am used to Unix/GNU+Linux and the concept of Root being able to access pretty much anything. Processes run as root inherit root's privileges. Is this not the case in Windows? How do permissions in Windows work?

I am not talking about NTFS file permissions, rather the permissions about processes and programs that are executed. And for that matter, where does the "System user" fall into all of this?

EDIT: To give an example, I can run CMD as administrator just fine. However if I try to view a network device's properties, which require admin privileges, I get the following error:

"You do not have sufficient privileges for configuring connection properties. Contact your administrator."

EDIT 2: I should mention I am on a AD domain, although I am a member of the Administrators group. Thanks for the answers. Also I found these links which explain UAC for anyone who needs to know.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd835548(v=ws.10).aspx https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_Account_Control

  • Can you give us specific examples of a command that cannot be run as an Administrator?
    – Ramhound
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:55
  • just did. Please see my edit. Aug 25, 2016 at 14:56
  • Viewing the properties on a network adapater does not require being an Administrator normally, it sounds like the PC, is connected to a domain and that permission was taken away from normal uses. In my testing on a machine where those permissions had been removed I recieved a UAC prompt, allowing me to view the properties.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 25, 2016 at 15:03
  • 2
    First, I don't think its local privledges that you are lacking, but privledges on the remote devices. Second, in the situation you described, if you need local admin, then you would run Explorer.exe as admin, and then all your actions and any processes spawned by them will be high-integrity processes (admin). Aug 25, 2016 at 15:05
  • A UAC prompt esclates the user's permissions, and allows you to view the network properties, so you actually are at that point viewing the properties as an administrator.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 25, 2016 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


Windows (XP) used to work the way you describe. For windows 7, MS has several actions that do not result in maintaining admin level access. In addition, there are a variety of tools, techniques for blocking admin access. Such that the general rule for trying something new is test and fix if needed to use admin level rights.

Example, The default behavior for cmd is not to run as admin. Typing in cmd in the start box does not result in a admin level cmd window. The general way to run as admin is to make a shortcut for cmd and right click the shortcut and select run as admin from the menu. This method will work for many other applications and uses. There are much more on where the admin rights are being cut, and the how to regain them.


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