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Add RunAs to Explorer Context Menu in Vista and Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 Icon ::

As a Domain Admin for a small or large corporation, it’s NEVER a good idea to log in as the Domain Admin (or another privileged user) to read email or surf the Internet.  After all, if you pick up a nasty bug/virus from Outlook or Internet Explorer, your logged in credentials will have the ability to spread the virus to every system in the company.  Not a good thing!


That’s where the RunAs command (XP and Server 2003) came in handy over the years.  You could log in as a non-privileged user, but if you needed to do something which required Admin rights, you could hold down Shift, and Right Click on the application in Windows Explorer and start the application using your Admin credentials.


With the release of Windows Vista and Server 2008, this all changed.  True, you could still use the RunAs.exe from the command line, if you wanted to do it with Windows Explorer.  Fortunately, Mark Russinovich has written a new tool called which adds the RunAs feature to Windows Explorer.

Follow the below Step by Step to get it rolling on your box:


Add “Run As Different User” to Windows Explorer Context Menu for Vista and Server 2008

1) After you download ShellRunAs from here, copy it to your WindowsSystem32 folder


2) Open a command line and Run: shellrunas /reg

Add Run As Different User to Windows Explorer Context Menu for Vista and Server 2008 ::


3) Click OK to confirm Install completed

Add Run As Different User to Windows Explorer Context Menu for Vista and Server 2008 ::


To test, hold down SHIFT and Right-Click on an application.  You should now see the “Run as different user” in your context menu.


Add Run As Different User to Windows Explorer Context Menu for Vista and Server 2008 ::


Add Run As Different User to Windows Explorer Context Menu for Vista and Server 2008 ::


VERY little tool!  Thanks, Mark!

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15 Responses to Add RunAs to Explorer Context Menu in Vista and Server 2008

  1. Taz September 17, 2008 at 7:25 am #

    Thanks a million for saving me mucho time…

  2. bla March 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    didt work for me. nothing shows up at all when right clicking

    • MrGroove March 30, 2009 at 9:11 am #

      @bla, Did you hold down the SHIFT button when you right clicked on the file?

  3. sean June 19, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    it did work for me, after i clicked run as different user, it requires me to enter credentials to use for, however, its keeps denying the user i entered, any solutions to this?

  4. sean June 19, 2009 at 3:13 am #

    erm..problem solved, sorry about that, but thank anyway for the shellrunas info, was really helpful

    • MrGroove June 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

      @sean, No problem Sean. Welcome to the groovyPost community. What turned out to be your problem in comment 5?

  5. Will July 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    G’day MrGroove. I went to the download site and it tells me that “it’s not convenient if you’re a heavy Explorer user”.

    Why would this be? What do they mean by this?

    I am interested in installing this on my terminal server which has around 100 remote users working within it at any one time all using explorer to access documents, etc.

    Do you recommend this for my sitchuation?

    • MrGroove July 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm #


      Hi Will. No worries. I think you might have misunderstood what he was saying. I personally had to read it a few times to catch it. 😉
      What he was saying was you can use the default RunAs command line tool UNLESS your a heavy Explorer user and in that case, you should download the tool and use it. He wasn’t saying don’t use it if your a heavy explorer users. Actually the opposite.

      Make sense?

      • Will July 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

        Thanks for the swift reply. Was interested in using this for a few services to Run As. But was worried that it would affect all my remote desktop users that log onto that server.

        I’ll give it a try. Cheers for your help 🙂

        • MrGroove July 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

          Anytime and Welcome to the site!

  6. Balihai August 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Thank you MARK! You have once again you shown why all bow before you.

  7. Pcobiwan March 1, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    This is a nice idea, but it needs to be set up while you are already an Administrator (system32 is a protected folder in Vista). I most often end up using ‘Run as another user’ when remote end-users get infected. Several online scanning tools require admin rights to install but won’t accept them unless you use ‘Run as another user’ and put in your domain admin creds that way.

  8. Dassie December 8, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I can/could not run “Real Temp” (to measure the core temp of my self-built “Core i5” CPU) as normal user. This trick did it. Brilliant of Mark Russinovich (and as stupid of MS as usual… for having removed the Run-As command, which I still use very often in XP Home).
    Thank you very much, Mr.Groove. A great help!

  9. Dassie December 8, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Uhh, or not… Followed the procedure above, with the same messages as result, but there is no “Run as” in the context menu, only still the “Run as Administrator”… How come?
    Darn you, Microsoft, for Windows Vista.

  10. wha September 19, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    interesting shell. however this is user specific. when shellrunas /reg as me then i get the context entry. however other users for the OS do not. They also have to use shellrunas /reg .

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