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Run File Explorer as Admin: Step-by-Step Guide

Generally, when you open File Explorer, it always opens with the least permissions. That is, no matter the user, File Explorer will only have the permissions required to manage files and folders. If you want to execute something that require elevated permissions, you must go through the UAC (User Access Control).

However, there might be times when you need to run File Explorer as an admin. For example, you might have a lot of programs to install and don’t want to bother with the UAC prompt. In those cases, opening File Explorer as an administrator is really helpful.

Unlike regular programs, File Explorer has no “Run as administrator” option. i.e., you cannot right-click on the File Explorer option in the Start menu and select the Run as Administrator option. This is an intentional limitation in Windows by Microsoft.

Since there is no built-in option, you have to do a simple trick to open File Explorer as an admin on Windows. The good thing is that the trick is really easy. So, without ado, let me show you how it’s done.

Table of contents:

  1. How to open file explorer as an administrator
  2. How to check if file explorer opened with admin rights
  3. Reverse changes made to Registry
  4. Conclusion

How to Open File Explorer as Administrator

To run File Explorer as an admin, you must modify a registry value that is blocking us from doing thing action. The problem is that the registry key we are trying to modify is protected. That means you cannot change it even if you are an administrator.

So, we will use a small free program called ExecTI. It allows you to run any program as a different user, specifically as a TrustedInstaller user. Since TrustedInstaller is one of the highest users on your system in terms of permissions, you can make the required changes. The good thing is that when using this program, you don’t have to take ownership of the registry key.

This all sounds complicated, but it is really easy in practice. Let me show you how.

Back up the registry before making changes. The backup helps in restoring the registry if something goes wrong.


  1. Download and open ExecTI application.
  2. Type “regedit.exe -m” in the blank field.
  3. Click the “Ok” button.
  4. Go to the “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\{CDCBCFCA-3CDC-436f-A4E2-0E02075250C2}” in the Registry.
  5. Right-click on the “RunAs” value.
  6. Select the “Rename” option.
  7. Rename it to “RunAs_bkp.”
  8. Close the Registry Editor.
  9. Reboot the computer.
  10. After rebooting, right-click on the taskbar.
  11. Select the “Task Manager” option.
  12. Click the “Run new task” option at the top.
  13. Type “explorer.exe” in the blank field.
  14. Select the “Create this task with admin privileges” checkbox.
  15. Click the “Ok” button.
  16. File Explorer opens with administrator rights.

Download ExecTI from this link: https://winaero.com/download.php?view.1991

Detailed steps:

First, follow the above link and download ExecTI. Next, open the zip file and extract the EXE file to your desktop. After extracting, open the ExecTI.exe file by double-clicking on it.

open ExecTI application

The above action opens the Run as TrustedInstaller window. Type the “regedit.exe -m” command in the blank field, press the Enter button on your keyboard or click the “OK” button.

open registry as trustedinstaller

As soon as you do that, ExecTI opens the Registry Editor as a TrustedInstaller user. Go to the below folder in the Registry Editor. You can paste the below path in the Registry Editor’s address bar and press Enter.

go to registry key

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

modify registry value

After making the changes, close the Registry Editor and reboot Windows. Restarting applies the changes to the system.

Once the system has been rebooted, we can proceed to the main task. i.e., run File Explorer as admin. To start off, right-click on the taskbar and select the “Task Manager” option.

Click the “Run new task” option at the top of the task manager. Windows 10 users can select the “File → Run new task” option.

click on run new task

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

open File Explorer as administrator

Windows will instantly open File Explorer with administrator rights.

How To Check if File Explorer Opened With Admin Rights

If you want to check whether File Explorer is opened with administrator rights, follow the below steps.

  1. Right-click on the taskbar.
  2. Select the “Task Manager” option.
  3. Go to the “Details” tab.
  4. Find the “explorer.exe” process.
  5. Take a look at the “Elevated” column.
  6. If it says “Yes,” File Explorer runs as an admin.

You can follow the same steps to find if a process is running as an admin on Windows.

Note: If you cannot see the Elevated column in the Task Manager, right-click on a column heading of your choice and click on “Select Columns.” Next, select the “Elevated” checkbox and click “Ok” to see the Elevated column in the Task Manager’s details tab.

Reverse Changes Made to Registry

If you no longer need this option and want to reverse the changes, all you have to do is rename the modified value to “RunAs” or restore the registry backup.

Here are the exact steps to follow:

  1. Open the ExecTI application.
  2. Type “regedit.exe -m” and click “Ok.”
  3. Go to the “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID\{CDCBCFCA-3CDC-436f-A4E2-0E02075250C2}” folder.
  4. Right-click on the “RunAs_bkp” value.
  5. Select the “Rename” option.
  6. Rename it to “RunAs.”
  7. Close the Registry Editor.
  8. Reboot Windows.

Opening File Explorer as Admin — Conclusion

As you can see, though you have to go through some hoops, it is possible to run File Explorer as admin when you need it. Sure, you need to make a registry edit, but it is simple and reversible.

However, it is important to remember that opening File Explorer with admin privileges carries a level of risk, as incorrect modifications to system files or unintended file deletions can cause severe problems with your system. In a worst-case scenario, it could lead to data loss and/or an unbootable system.

So, always be careful when opening anything as an administrator.

That is all. It is that simple to open File Explorer as an administrator.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need help, email me, and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, check out how to open the hidden UWP File Explorer on Windows and how to make the taskbar fully transparent on Windows 10 & 11.

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