2013-02-11

explorer.exe /separate

The runas tool in Microsoft Windows serves the same purpose as the sudo tool on Open [or at least "open"] platforms.  With runas you can execute commands in alternative security contexts.  Only some tools in Microsoft Windows aren't normal; that is if you attempt to run them via runas.... often times nothing at all happens.  One very significant example of this behavior is the Control Panel (control.exe).  Try to run the control panel via runas - for example to change a setting requiring Administrative rights without logging off the current user - and you get buptkis.  A work around to this aggrevating behavior is to simply run an instance of "explorer.exe" in the alternative context.  From explorer you can navigate to whatever tool or utility you need to run an launch it that way... which works (for some reason I have no desire to understand).  The secret sauce for running an independent instance of explorer.exe is the "/separate" parameter.  Without "/separate" every time you try to run explorer.exe it will see the existing instance (the user's shell) and again you will get buptkis.   So, in short, to get a copy of explorer.exe as the local administrator simply run:
runas.exe /u:administrator “explorer.exe /separate”
There you go.

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