How to Open or Run File Explorer as Administrator in Windows

With a simple trick, you can open or run File Explorer as an administrator in Windows. Follow the below steps to learn how you can open elevated File Explorer.

File Explorer is one of the most used applications in Windows. No matter who you are or what you do, you will interact with File Explorer one time or another. After all, File Explorer is the prime way to access files, folders and sometimes programs too.

Generally, File Explorer always opens with the least permissions. That is, no matter the user, File Explorer will only have permissions required to manage files and folders. If you want to execute something, you need to go through the UAC (User Access Control). However, there might be times when you need to open File Explorer with admin rights. For example, you might have a lot of programs to install and don’t want to bother with the UAC prompt. In those cases, you can open elevated File Explorer in Windows and go about your work.

However, since the File Explorer is an integral part of Windows, you cannot simply right-click on it and select the “Run as administrator” option. You have to go through a couple of hoops for it to work like that.

So, without ado, let me show how it’s done.

Caution: Only follow this tutorial if you are absolutely sure and know what you are doing.

Run File Explorer as Administrator

As I said, we need to go over some hurdles to make it happen. To be more specific, we need to modify a registry value which is blocking us from opening the File Explorer as an administrator.

Before proceeding, back up the registry.

1. The value we need to modify is protected by the system. As such, we cannot modify it even with admin rights. Thankfully, I found a neat little program that lets you edit the registry as a Trusted Installer user. So, download ExecTI and extract the exe file to your desktop.

Run-file-explorer-as-admin-run-execit

2. The above action will open Run like command window. In that, type “regedit.exe -m” and press Enter.

Run-file-explorer-as-admin-type-reg-command

3. As soon as you press Enter, registry editor will open as Trusted Installer user. In the editor, go to the following location. If you are using Windows 10, simply copy and paste the path in the address bar and press Enter to go the folder.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID{CDCBCFCA-3CDC-436f-A4E2-0E02075250C2}
Run-file-explorer-as-admin-go-to-reg-folder

4. On the right panel, right-click on the “RunAs” value and select “Rename”. Rename it to “RunAs_bkp”.

Run-file-explorer-as-admin-rename-reg-value

5. Close registry editor and reboot Windows to make the changes apply and take effect.

6. After reboot, we can now proceed to the main task. First, right-click on the taskbar and select the “Task Manager” option.

7. In the task manager, select the “File → Run new task” option.

Run-file-explorer-as-admin-select-run-new-task-option

8. The above action will open the New Task window. In the blank field, type “explorer.exe”, select the checkbox “Create this task with admin privileges” and click on the “Ok” button.

Run-file-explorer-as-admin-explorer-command

That is it. You’ve opened File Explorer as an admin.

Wrapping Up

If you want to verify, open the task manager, go to the “Details” tab, find the “explorer.exe” file. Under the “Elevated” column, you should see “Yes”. Which means that it is running with elevated permissions a.k.a with administrative privileges.

If you cannot see the Elevated column, right-click on the column heading and select “Select Columns”. Now, select the “Elevated” checkbox and click “Ok” to see the Elevated column in the task manager’s details tab.

To reset or revert back:

Follow the first three steps as is. In the fourth step rename the registry value from “RunAs_bkp” to its original “RunAs”. Reboot the system and you are good to go.


That is all. It is that simple to run File Explorer as administrator in Windows 10. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, do check out how to open access new UWP File Explorer in Windows 10 and how to make the taskbar fully transparent in Windows 10.

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