Introduction

When using Powershell, you may need to run Powershell as an administrator to perform a specific task.

The reason for this is the User Account Control (UAC). Introduced with Windows Vista User Account Control (UAC) keeps the user in a non-elevated state if not explicitly told to be elevated as an administrator.

To read more about how the User Account Control (UAC) works in Windows 10, refer to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/identity-protection/user-account-control/how-user-account-control-works

This blog post describes how to elevate to an administrator in Powershell.

For learning more about Powershell, I recommend signing up and using Pluralsight!

Which Powershell actions require elevation?

There are some actions in Powershell which require you to elevate, such as:

  • Changing of the Execution Policy
  • Modifications to System Files
  • Modifications of the Registry

I would say that it is best practice always to start an elevated Powershell window, to not run into any unexpected issues.

The only time I would not recommend this if you are testing a script intending to run as a regular user.

It is also possible to add a snippet in a script to check if the current session is running in elevated mode.

How to elevate Powershell to admin

There are several alternatives for elevating your Powershell window.

Here are three alternatives:

  • Elevate Powershell to an administrator through Windows Search
  • Create a new task in Task Manager
  • Use the runAs command in Powershell

Alternative #1 – Elevate Powershell to admin through Windows Search

The easiest way to start elevated Powershell windows is by searching for it.

Press the Windows button and search for Powershell. Press Run as administrator.

Start Powershell as administrator using the start menu in Windows 10

Alternative #2 – Create a new task in Task Manager

Press the Windows button and search for Task Manager.

Press File and Create a new task

Enter PowerShell and check Create this task with administrative privileges

Start an elevated Powershell window from the Task Manager
Start elevated Powershell window from the Task Manager

Alternative #3 – Use the runAs command in Powershell

Run the following command from a non-elevated Powershell prompt:

Start-Process Powershell -Verb runAs

If prompted by the UAC, enter the administrative credentials.

There are now two Powershell windows, one elevated to an administrator and one not elevated to an administrator.

Use Start-Process to start an elevated Powershell window

Conclusion

I hope you have found one way of opening Powershell as an administrator user. How do you elevate to an administrator? Please leave a comment below! 🙂

For learning more about Powershell, I highly recommend the courses provided by Pluralsight.

References

Further learning

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