Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I get a pinned taskbar item to run with administrative privileges in Windows 7?

I run into this often enough that I thought I’d share this quick tip for
Windows 7 users.

Pinning something to the task bar so that it’s always there ready to be run
is convenient, but if you also, as I do, occasionally need to run items as the
administrator, it’s not obvious where the “run as administrator” option is. In
fact, it’s also not obvious how to run a second instance.

I’ll show you.


I’ll use the Windows Command Prompt as my example, since it’s not uncommon to a) want to run it as administrator occasionally, and b) want to run multiple copies of it.

Here it is, not running, pinned to my task bar:

Command Prompt pinned to Windows 7 taskbar

Click on it, and it’ll start an instance of the Command prompt.

Click on it again, and it’ll … not start an instance, but rather toggle the already running instance between being minimized and being displayed.

Right click on it, and you get this popup menu which would seem to offer some hope:

Right click on an already running pinned Windows Command Prompt in the task bar

Click on the Command Prompt in the popup menu and you’ll get … a second instance of the Command Prompt.

But still no “run as administrator”.

Here’s the trick: right click on that Command Prompt in the popup menu to get another popup menu:

The second right-click menu on a pinned taskbar item

There’s the missing “run as administrator” option we’ve been looking for.

A couple of caveats:

You’ll either need to be logged in as an administrator, or perhaps have to supply the administrator password to run something as the administrator (that’s kinda the point).

Not all programs should be run as administrator. Make sure you know what you’re doing.

Not all programs support running multiple instances. Command Prompt obviously does, but other programs may simply cause the already running instance to come to the foreground.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

9 comments on “How do I get a pinned taskbar item to run with administrative privileges in Windows 7?”

  1. There are times when you want a program to always be run as administrator. (Rare, but it does happen.) In that case, right-click the taskbar icon and right-click the program name, but then select “properties” instead. From there, click “advanced”, and one of the choices is “run as administrator”.

    You’ll still have the same UAC warnings, if enabled, but now all you have to do is click the icon to start it.

  2. Also if you hold the “shift” key and press right click you will get the normal right click menu with “run as administrator” option….. best regards Dear Leo.

  3. I thought you were going to tell us how to make the taskbar icon default to Admin rights permanently. It would be good to find a way to remove the “Shield” from a taskbar icon permanently. For example, I use Winrar, but system doesn’t like me using it unless I provide Admin’s password. How can we set the prog to permanently run with full rights?

  4. once i click on run as administrator, i get an error message saying “the extented attributes are inconsistent”. it’s been preventing me from downloading anything. how to fix?

  5. I already had found how to run as administrator from taskbar icon in Windows 7 Ultimate. However, on the new machine that I just built (also running windows 7 ultimate), I right-click on the taskbar button for the app, then right-click on the app icon, then click on ‘Run as administrator’, and nothing happens. This works on my old machine.

    (ALL Windows updates are installed including SP1 and all subsequent through today. The app is Visual Studio 2008. Run as administrator does work by right-clicking on the main menu item for the app; it only fails from the taskbar.)

    I also just tried Shift+right-click, as suggested by another commentor, and then selecting ‘Run as administrator’, and it still does not work. It only works from main menu.

    Thanks, I’ll appreciate the help.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.