Why does my Run dialog say that tasks will created with administrative privileges?


"I don't know what happened, but now when I open the Run dialog on my Windows Vista machine by typing Windows+R, there is a shield under the edit box that says This task will be created with administrative privileges. What's going on?"

One my colleagues used psychic powers to solve this problem: "I imagine that you manually killed Explorer, and then you used an elevated command prompt or an elevated Task Manager to launch a new one. An elevated Explorer shows this message. To fix it, exit your elevated Explorer, and exit your running elevated copy of Task Manager (if any). Then type Ctrl+Alt+Esc to launch a normal (non-elevated) Task Manager and use File, New Task to run a new un-elevated Explorer."

My colleague's psychic powers were right on target.

"Your psychic powers are better than my memory. I now recall that I did kill and restart Explorer when debugging my shell extension, and I did so from a command line, which—given the evidence—must have been an elevated command prompt."

Comments (30)
  1. SRS says:

    Perhaps the Vista window manager could adorn windows created by elevated apps in some way (perhaps a shield in the title bar?) so people could get used to the idea of apps ‘inheriting’ elevation from their spawners.

    This doesn’t have to be modally intrusive like UAC, just different enough. Maybe overkill for an elevated calc.exe…

  2. steven says:

    Really, SRS? I’d find an elevated calc.exe quite interesting. It would be a good indication that something is wrong with my system.

  3. Neil says:

    I’m surprised there’s no start (or runas or similar) option to request/disable elevation on the created process (at least, not that I could find on a quick application of /? or by use of a well-known search engine).

  4. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    The whole UAC is a wreck. With someone’s “smart” idea of getting rid of Administrator (disabling it altogether) in Home flavors of Vista. Of course, I just installed Ultimate edition from my MSDN kit, but how about all other people? Instead of teaching the users the right security practices and helping them to use it, MS cripples the security and adds such an ugly kludge as UAC. And, by the way, when you disable UAC, Run As Administrator options DOES NOT run your process as Administrator. It’s NOT an equivalent of Run As (which disappeared from Vista).

    [Sigh. I should’ve included a pre-emptive snarky comment. UAC in particular appears to be a virulent trigger. (It’s pretty much a guarantee.) I think I’ll just stop providing tips/support for anything related to elevation. Those of you having trouble are on your own. -Raymond]
  5. asf says:

    And while we are bitching about UAC, I hope windows 7 gives me an option of starting a app that is marked as requireadmin in the manifest as NON-ADMIN! (Its my machine, let me decide, not the author of random shareware app)

  6. Toddsa says:

    Odd, I just checked and sure enough my machine shows the elevated prompt. I patched my machince last night and have not used the computer since the reboot.

    Oh, wait. I normally sleep walk around 2AM surf the web, check email and kill Explorer.exe and restart it using task manager. That must have been it.

  7. Karellen says:

    Neil: you want the command-line "runas" command.

    C: > runas /?

  8. SEA says:

    My Task Manager is launched when I press Ctrl + Shift + Esc … Am I special? :P

  9. David Sokol says:

    Isn’t the keyboard shortcut to open the task manager Ctrl+Shift+Esc?  And yes, I understand it’s a quote.

  10. frymaster says:

    "Odd, I just checked and sure enough my machine shows the elevated prompt"

    If you have UAC turned off, and are using an admin account, you’ve got admin priviledges all the time, so this will always show up.

    UAC is the best chance we have of getting software vendors to stop sticking "you must run this as admin" in the readme for their audio player or similar.  even if noone uses it (and I do) it’s useful for that reason alone

  11. BH says:

    I think I’ll just stop providing tips/support for anything related to elevation.

    Don’t let jerks like Alexandre get you down, Raymond.  Your posts (elevation related or not) are greatly appreciated.

  12. Doug says:

    Raymond, it is a mixed blessing.  Your blog gets more viewers than the hard core programmers, which is mostly good.  However, that means they start complaining about whatever is their hot button.

    I enjoy the deep content, and feel saddened that it now gets filtered because of the snarky comments.

    But, as with all good things, as more jump on the train, you have to "make it safer".

  13. eff Five says:

    [Sigh. I should’ve included a pre-emptive snarky comment. UAC in particular appears to be a virulent trigger. (It’s pretty much a guarantee.) I think I’ll just stop providing tips/support for anything related to elevation. Those of you having trouble are on your own. -Raymond]

    Does this mean that I can run you off a topic if I produce enough snarky comments?

    [It’s happened to other topics. -Raymond]
  14. Note that Aaron Margosis recommends using the "Exit Explorer" (hidden GUI option) rather than killing Explorer.exe via TM.

    Aaron Margosis’ "Non-Admin" WebLog : How to cleanly stop Explorer.exe on Windows Vista:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/aaron_margosis/archive/2007/07/17/how-to-cleanly-stop-explorer-exe-on-windows-vista.aspx

  15. Anders says:

    I’d like the ability to start processes elevated from the regular run dialog. Holding Shift+Ctrl while pressing Enter like in the start menu would be the most logical i my opinion. Please?

  16. Daev says:

    If you launch an elevated calc.exe, you get Mathematica.

  17. @Anders: if you type an executable name on start menu’s search box and press ctrl+shift+enter it’ll start elevated. If the application is not on your path then you have to type the full path obviously.

    @Raymond: ctrl+shift+esc (not alt) launches the task manager.

  18. Dan says:

    Ramesh: That’s cool, Explorer only saves its preferences when it exits cleanly (on logout is usually the only time) which irks me since I’m a "computer always on" guy and I rarely log off… and with an occasional blue screen any changes I made that session to toolbar position/size or Quick Launch icon order is lost and I have to set it back.

  19. Gabe says:

    Ramesh: Where were you 4 hours ago when I had to logoff to figure out what registry keys Explorer saves when it exits?

  20. Anders says:

    @Leonardo Oliveira: I know, and I mentioned the start menu. But as you mention your self, not everything can be done with the search box on the start menu.

  21. Dan says:

    I had this happen to me once… with the exception that I figured out what had happened and why almost immediately.

  22. steveg says:

    So I open my laptop, start calc and then take the lift to the next floor. I didn’t see any elevation message.

    (boom-tish. You’ve been a great audience, I’m here all this week).

  23. wow says:

    those are some very powerful psychic powers

  24. David Moisan says:

    Explorer runs elevated in safe mode.

  25. Yuhong Bao says:

    [Sigh. I should’ve included a pre-emptive snarky comment. UAC in particular appears to be a virulent trigger. (It’s pretty much a guarantee.) I think I’ll just stop providing tips/support for anything related to elevation. Those of you having trouble are on your own. -Raymond]

    The folks at the Windows Vista Security blog (I was just going to say UACBlog except that blog is now closed) are probably better than you at dealing with this.

  26. Miral says:

    Most of my coworkers have disabled UAC (mostly because disabling it seems to make the "open in same window" setting work properly), but I stubbornly keep it enabled.

    It’s definitely a pain in the butt at times (three confirmation prompts to copy/rename files, SUBST and mapped drives not crossing the divide, virtualisation creating confusing duplicate files), but as frymaster said, it’s our best defense so far against the "you must be admin" crowd.

    I also agree with SRS, though.  There ought to be some kind of indicator in the window chrome showing which processes are elevated.  (For that matter, it’d be useful if there were a similar indicator for processes that aren’t elevated but are running with a different token than the "standard" one — on my home PC I often have windows from multiple user accounts sharing one desktop, because I want to segregate registry/file access without the inconvenience of switching desktops.)

    On a related note: it’s mildly annoying that if I’ve logged in as account A, launched TaskMgr as account B (via RunAs or from another process in account B), if I press Ctrl+Shift+Esc with one of A’s apps on top it’ll still just switch to B’s task manager window instead of opening a new one.  (Which I usually don’t notice until I get an "access denied" when changing a process’ priority or ending it.)

  27. @Ramesh Srinivasan:  My post just describes how to do it.  I don’t generally recommend shutting down Explorer (unless you’re a shell extension developer), and I definitely don’t recommend running the entire desktop shell elevated.

    @Miral:  Make sure you’ve installed SP1 — significant prompt reduction.

  28. Friday says:

    quote:

    UAC is the best chance we have of getting software vendors to stop sticking "you must run this as admin" in the readme for their audio player or similar.  even if noone uses it (and I do) it’s useful for that reason alone

    • so that your (Microsoft’s) DRM cr*p can be left alone?
  29. Ulric says:

    I’m assuming the user had stated that UAC wasn’t disabled.

    Because when you turn off UAC, the run dialog indeed always has this message.  Therefore, all the developpers have this here. (There are too many bizzare behaviour with UAC enabled, with regards to ‘substs’ drives disapearing and permission problems running tools at the command line, even if you run an elevated one)

  30. Igor Levicki says:

    Elevated calc.exe results are always off by one :-)

    Joking aside, UAC is PITA and I have a proof:

    "Scott Charney, head of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing division, admitted this week that Windows Vista’s User Account Control (UAC) prompts are not intuitive and confuse users."

    http://www.builderau.com.au/news/soa/Microsoft-admits-Vista-UAC-prompts-need-work-/0,339028227,339289212,00.htm

    So, it seems that Microsoft’s right hand doens’t have a clue what the left one is doing. Business as usual then, nothing to see here, move along.

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