Related to my other question, I need to be able to run the command prompt NOT as an admin. Whenever I launch a command prompt, either from the Start Menu, or by double clicking the C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe file in File Explorer, it runs it with elevated permissions.

Cmd.exe running as admin

How can I run it so it just runs in the normal non-elevated mode? Cmd.exe isn't required to be ran as admin, and typically when you launch it, it doesn't run as admin, but for some reason it is defaulting to run as admin on this machine. This is on a Windows Server 2012 R2 server. My account I'm logged in with has admin privileges (but it's not the default built-in Administrator user account), and the only workaround I can think of is to run it as a different user that does not have admin priviledges, which would require me to first create a non-admin account on the server, which seems excessive. Is there an easier way?

  • Never tried this, but create a cmd shortcut on the desktop, do a properties on the shortcut, then hit advanced button on shortcut Tab, can you uncheck run as admin?
    – Moab
    Sep 28, 2015 at 19:53
  • Do you see anything in the Win-X menu (or right-click Start button), when running as as admin? (not in a position to test from server version at the moment.)
    – paradroid
    Sep 28, 2015 at 19:53
  • @duDE I tried runas and it did launch the cmd.exe as another user, but still as an admin. Titlebar was Administrator: cmd.exe (running as Domain\Username). @Moah I tried that as well, but the shortcut does not have the run as admin checked. @paradroid Win+X does list both Command Prompt and Command Prompt (Admin), but they both launch the command prompt as admin. Thanks for the suggestions though guys :)
    – deadlydog
    Sep 28, 2015 at 20:05
  • you can use Process Explorer from Sysinternals. Open Procexp as admin, and then go to File -> Run as Limited User. A run bar will appear, and you can enter cmd or whatever else you want. technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals You are correct, Runas will always elevate if the user is capable of elevation. you could create a non-elevatable user, and run as them though if you really want to use runas. Procexp is easier. But make sure that cmd.exe is not marked to always run as Admin under the Properties -> compatibility tab. Sep 28, 2015 at 20:32
  • 2
    possible duplicate of Force a program to run *without* administrator privileges or UAC?
    – AStopher
    Sep 29, 2015 at 6:41

3 Answers 3


Turn UAC back on. With that enabled, no program you start will automatically run as administrator.

  • unless you set them to always run as admin in the Compatibility mode for All Users. the app will just refuse to launch for a non-elevatable user. Sep 28, 2015 at 20:42

The short term solution:

  1. Find an icon to run the command prompt.
  2. Shift right click -> "Run as a different user"
  3. Then specify a non-admin user account.

The long term solution: Find 'RUNASADMIN' in your registry keys and delete any entries including cmd.exe

  • I searched the registry for RUNASADMIN, but it did not find anything.
    – deadlydog
    Sep 28, 2015 at 20:07
  • Did you try the temporary solution as well? As for the long term solution, it is just a possibility; try searching for cmd.exe in your registry then and work backwards.
    – BlueCollar
    Sep 28, 2015 at 21:13
  • Wouldn't the temporary solution require him to login to another user, a normal user (something he said he didn't want to do in his question)?
    – Insane
    Sep 28, 2015 at 21:20
  • 3
    @Insane: Kind of silly, really: the OP wants to run cmd.exe as some user other than Administrator, but does not want to create any user other than Administrator? It's a nonsense requirement. Sep 29, 2015 at 9:18
  • 2
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit User is not the same as role. Having administrator privileges does not automatically give those privileges to every program that you run. - That said, you shouldn't log on with admin privileges unless you actually need them - which means that you should have accounts that don't have this privilege.
    – Taemyr
    Sep 29, 2015 at 10:42

I know this topic is > 4 yrs old but I had the same issue and it may help others. My company used software where I would only be able to launch cmd.exe as admin. I had other software (AHK) I could not launch as admin. AHK couldn't interact with cmd.exe in admin. I solved the problem by copying cmd.exe, then renaming it and updating my scripts.

  • Does not work for me: I copied cmd.exe to cmd2.exe, but cmd2 still runs as administrator with elevated privileges. Jan 25, 2021 at 15:08

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