113

Is there any way that I can force a program that normally requires administrator privileges (via UAC) to run without them? (ie: no UAC prompt and no system-wide access.)

Added: Without modifying the executable itself.


In spite of James's answer, I have found a few ways that it can almost be done:

  1. By modifying the executable I can remove the trustInfo entry from the manifest (or the manifest entirely, so I can use an external one), allowing the program to start without UAC. Unfortunately this modifies the executable, so it exits shortly after due to an internal checksum test.
  2. By using Process Explorer I can launch it as a Limited User. However this seems to limit it significantly more than I would like (it runs like Protected Mode IE and so can access significantly less than what my standard un-elevated user can).
  • 1
    You specify not modifying the executable, yet modifying the .exe is one of your attempted ways? – cutrightjm Apr 20 '12 at 4:39
  • 2
    @ekaj I only specified that after I found out that it wouldn't work ;) – Andrew Russell Apr 21 '12 at 15:29
  • Could you maybe specify the program, even if you don't use it anymore? That might help people to know what it is trying to access that requires admin privileges – cutrightjm Apr 21 '12 at 16:45
  • @ekaj Unfortunately not. However it's not especially relevant: UAC is triggered by a program asking for elevation during process creation (the usual way - as in this case - is with a manifest). Once a process is started, it cannot change its elevation status - no matter what restricted resources it tries to access. – Andrew Russell Apr 22 '12 at 4:59
  • If a program has no manifest and refuses to run with no admin privileges, it is most likely due to UAC Installer Detection. I posted this question and misha256 has a good solution. I tested it and I can confirm that it works. superuser.com/questions/857616/… I did some research and I found that there is no reason for Installer Detection to exist. Note that if the admin privileges are due to a trustinfo entry in a manifest, obviously this will not work. – user1258361 Dec 29 '14 at 0:28
68
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\forcerunasinvoker]
@="Run without privilege elevation"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\forcerunasinvoker\command]
@="cmd /min /C \"set __COMPAT_LAYER=RUNASINVOKER && start \"\" \"%1\"\""

Save this text in <name_of_file>.reg and add it to the Windows Registry. (Double-clicking on it should do the trick.)

Afterwards, right-click the app you'd like to run without administrative privileges and select "Run without privilege elevation".

In some cases - small amount 0.1% of programs may ask twice about UAC prompt.

  • 1
    I used to use the Application Compatibility Toolkit shim, but that was a lot of work for each executable and left junk in the registry for each file as well. This method works and I like it a lot better. – Ben Voigt Apr 17 '13 at 21:28
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    Accepting this as it seems to be the most straightforward method, and I've (finally!) been able to verify it. Also has the very nice property of being trivially usable as a once-off command line (remove the outer " and then turn \" into "). – Andrew Russell Dec 29 '14 at 15:33
  • @Vom - Do you know of an easy way to get past programs that ask multiple times? Thanks! – Derek Jan 6 '15 at 16:25
  • 1
    I have the same issue as @Derek, the application seems to constantly keep re-asking for UAC, I don't trust it with system wide access but I need its functionality.. – Gizmo Mar 11 '15 at 22:19
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    @jpmc26 I think the /min is an error. The solution works exactly the same without it. Vom must have mixed up cmd and start switches. It seems that cmd.exe doesn't complain of wrong switches. Try cmd /whatever, for example. – cdlvcdlv Jul 2 '17 at 11:50
48

Save to nonadmin.bat:

cmd /min /C "set __COMPAT_LAYER=RUNASINVOKER && start "" %1"

Now you can drag and drop programs to this to run them without admin.

This doesn't require admin privileges as changing that registry key does. Also you won't clutter the context menu.

Based on Vom's answer


Update: Should now work with programs that have spaces in name as well.

  • I tried it on some programs requiring access on my drives and it couldn't detect them or didn't work in the first place :/ (rufus rufus.akeo.ie for example) – keinabel Apr 11 '16 at 19:04
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    @keinabel That's probably because they actually needed admin to work. This script is for programs which demands admin privileges without actually doing something which requires it. Raw access to drives is a typical admin-thing. – Hjulle Apr 11 '16 at 19:23
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    Pretty neat! Was able to install XAMPP using this method. – Krishnaraj Aug 8 '16 at 9:31
  • This doesn't seem to be working for me for any executables in the "C:\Program Files\..." directory. I get a Windows cannot find 'C:\Program'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. I've tried this command manually several times with slight variations and no luck. Any ideas? – Jake Smith Sep 30 '16 at 18:09
  • 1
    I had the same issue with the location of the file being in a folder with spaces. Solved it removing some double quotes: cmd /min /C "set __COMPAT_LAYER=RUNASINVOKER && start "" %1" – ragnar Feb 13 '17 at 17:30
33

I hope I'm not too late to the party, but I was looking for a similar question and without seeing an answer here I found out that Windows' builtin RunAscommand, when run as administrator, can do that with /trustlevel switch.

RUNAS /trustlevel:<TrustLevel> program

/showtrustlevels  displays the trust levels that can be used
                  as arguments to /trustlevel.
/trustlevel       <Level> should be one of levels enumerated
                  in /showtrustlevels.

This worked in my case. Ironically, starting a program explicitly without elevation requires an elevated command prompt. Go figure. :) I hope it helps you.

  • I can confirm this does not work. I just tested it and got an error: "RUNAS ERROR: Unable to run - (program name here). The requested operation requires elevation". – user1258361 Dec 28 '14 at 3:21
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    @user1258361 you have to run this command from elevated prompt, just like I wrote in bold... – Mxx Dec 28 '14 at 4:01
  • It doesn't seem to require an elevated prompt on Windows 7... – SamB Sep 9 '15 at 1:23
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    Tested with elevated prompt, used command line runas /trustlevel:0x20000 (program), program ran as admin anyway. For reference, 0x20000 is basic user. – user1258361 Jan 15 '17 at 23:21
  • 1
    requires an elevated command prompt...of course it does. Otherwise you're already without admin rights and any process you start will also lack them. – Twisty Impersonator Jan 20 '18 at 2:24
13

If you have a particular application that you want to always run without UAC, you can target it with the Registry (add the text to a REG file and import it into the Registry):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers]
"C:\\example\\application.exe"="RunAsInvoker"

Unlike this answer, this solution requires no alternate click or change to user interaction.

Microsoft calls this process adding the RunAsInvoker "Compatibility Shim".

  • The answer to a different, yet related question provided the inspiration for this answer. – palswim Sep 9 '16 at 20:17
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    Thank you very much! This was the only thing worked for me! I had am Application which was being called from the windows context menu, and it was always coming up as administrator, despite it being called correctly from everywhere else. After this fix, the application started being called correctly. – user May 6 '17 at 17:55
3

I solved this problem today using the MS application customization toolkit.

I followed the instructions in a tech republic article.

Basically:

1) you get the toolkit from MS here .

2) Click Fix

3) Choose the RunAsInvoker option

4) Right Click the fix and choose Install

  • Your answer does exactly the opposite of the desired effect. Original question was how to force an app that asks for elevated privileges to run without elevating. Your answer still uses UAC but just disables that prompt. That's a wrong answer for this question. – Mxx Jan 22 '14 at 14:07
  • @mxx actually no. If current user is limited (or you've got UAC enabled), then the process will launch with limited privileges altogether. – LogicDaemon Mar 29 '15 at 9:54
  • @LogicDaemon If you actually read the article, you'll see that it explains that if you follow those steps, you'll run an app as Administrator without UAC prompt. This is opposite of what OP asked for. – Mxx Mar 29 '15 at 14:35
  • @mxx nope. Read on technet what RunAsInvoker actually do. This is indeed what topicstarter asked for, though this only works for older apps. – LogicDaemon Mar 30 '15 at 11:53
  • As long as Explorer, a non-admin cmd, or any other standard process is the parent, RunAsInvoker will run with the same limited rights. (Explorer runs restricted by default, otherwise it would never ask you to elevate to delete a file.) It actually seems to work even with new apps. RunAsInvoker means it inherits the exact same ACL token. – SilverbackNet Oct 30 '15 at 5:59
1

While in his question Andrew stated that the following did not quite work:

By modifying the executable I can remove the trustInfo entry from the manifest (or the manifest entirely, so I can use an external one), allowing the program to start without UAC. Unfortunately this modifies the executable, so it exits shortly after due to an internal checksum test.

I was able to modify an external .manifest file for the software I was using and change

<ms_asmv2:requestedExecutionLevel level="requireAdministrator" uiAccess="false" />

to

<ms_asmv2:requestedExecutionLevel level="asInvoker" uiAccess="false" />

Turns out the software I was using did not really require administrator rights so I was able to run it on a Standard User account without UAC or administrator passwords. Thanks!

  • It might be easier to edit the executable instead, as the manifest may just be included in the file. Note that the namespace prefix ms_asmv2: might also be omitted. Also, it is possible that changing the size of the embedded xml block may corrupt the binary, so "requireAdministrator" should be changed to "asInvoker" padded to the same length with spaces before uiAccess. – kdb Feb 13 at 16:33
-1

I fixed this problem by going changing the permissions on the folder that contained the program.

I added each user that will run that program and gave them "full control" priviledges. That took care of the problem and I left the "run as admin" unchecked.

I don't have any security concerns for the users who will be running the program.

-1

If it's a setup (installation) exe file that is requiring administration privilege, there's a trick to run it without elevated access:

If the file's name contains words like setup or install windows forcefully runs it with elevated access even if it doesn't need elevated access:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Of course, that only works when the application manifest doesn’t explicitly specify it must run elevated. – Daniel B Jan 25 at 11:57
  • 1
    @DanielB: in fact this trick only works when there is no manifest – AntoineL Mar 5 at 15:33
-4

No, if a program requires UAC then it is trying to access something outside of its sandbox. The program will not correctly run without the elevated access.

If you just want to get rid of the notification, you can disable UAC.

Disable UAC on Windows Vista: Start, type "user". Click on "User Accounts". On the window that pops up, click on "User Account Control Settings" and then Turn off UAC.

Disable UAC on Windows 7: Start, type "user". Click on "User Account Control Settings". Drag the choice bar all the way to the bottom to "Never Notify."

  • 5
    Disabling UAC is not what I am trying to achieve. Also: your description of how UAC works is correct only in a general sense. It's possible for a program to request UAC when it doesn't strictly need it. And UAC happens before a program starts - once its running, if it steps beyond its permissions, it will simply get permission-denied errors. – Andrew Russell Aug 4 '10 at 14:32
  • Semantics aside, you can't "disable" UAC notifications for a specific program while still limiting their access. – James Watt Aug 4 '10 at 14:47
  • James: Actually - it looks like you can - I've updated my question. – Andrew Russell Aug 4 '10 at 16:11
  • Short of modifying the program code itself, I would be interested to know of a working solution if you find one. – James Watt Aug 5 '10 at 5:17

protected by Community Sep 22 '15 at 19:34

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