Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stop "Run as Administrator" in Vista

I had a strange exchange with Windows Vista in which I was prompted to run my favorite text editor as Administrator. I ended up clicking “Yes”, and then realized that my text editor was no longer recognizing the drives mapped by my favorite FTP-mapping-to-drive utility.

Assuming the elevation in access was putting me in a different user account context, I decided the solution was to re-run the text editor under my normal privileges. The shortcut icon in my Start menu didn’t seem to want me to though. It retained that familiar shield icon, and launched each time from that point on with Administrator privileges. I’m not sure why I expected to see a “Stop Running as Administrator” when right-clicking the icon, but was frustrated that the command didn’t exist. Ironically, “Run as Administrator” was still an available option, however redundant and, in this moment, tauntingly sardonic like an evil curly-mustached landlord in a melodrama.

When displaying Properties for an application, there’s a convenient checkbox on the Compatibility tab to permanently set the app to always run with elevated privileges. Of course – this box must now be checked for my text editor… I was surprised to see that it wasn’t.

The actual solution lay in the Show settings for all users button immediately below the checkbox. Until this problem, I hadn’t realized that Vista maintains and applies a duplicate set of default compatibility settings for programs. Windows had applied my “Run as Administrator” acceptance on the default user setting rather than on my user account. Unchecking the box there solved the problem.

Incidentally, my favorite text editor is UltraEdit, and I like WebDrive as an FTP-mapping utility. Each is inexpensive and has helped me greatly in my daily productivity.


  1. Hello.

    I just came across your run as administrator coments and I was having exactly the same problems with having to use run as administrator to access mozilla thunderbird correctly.

    Just wanted to say thanks for sorting my problem.



  2. Even more than two years later, your explanation and solution are much appreciated. Many thanks!


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