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Mon, Jan 03, 2022 10:03 pm

Running an application under another account on a Windows system with runas

If you are logged into a system running the Microsoft Windows operating system and wish to run an application, e.g., Microsoft Outlook, under another account other than the one you are currently logged in under without switching to that other account, you can run the application as the other user using the runas command from a command prompt. If you don't know where the application is located on the system, you can find its location from a command prompt by changing the directory to the root directory of the drive where applications are stored, which is typically drive C:, then use the /s option of the dir command to search all subdirectories for the program, e.g., outlook.exe, which is the executable file for Microsoft Outlook.

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office>cd \

C:\>dir /s outlook.exe
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 9420-A68C

 Directory of C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14

03/16/2021  12:41 AM        15,794,840 OUTLOOK.EXE
               1 File(s)     15,794,840 bytes

 Directory of C:\Windows\Installer\$PatchCache$\Managed\00004109D30000000000000000F01FEC\14.0.4763

03/23/2010  12:57 PM        15,889,248 OUTLOOK.EXE
               1 File(s)     15,889,248 bytes

     Total Files Listed:
               2 File(s)     31,684,088 bytes
               0 Dir(s)   3,328,741,376 bytes free


In the example above, the program is located in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14 directory, so I can start the application as the user jdoe in the Windows domain Mordor with the command below (enclose the directory path and application name in double quotes if there are spaces in the directory path):

C:\>runas /user:mordor\jdoe "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe"
Enter the password for mordor\jdoe:
Attempting to start C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe as user "mordor\jdoe" ...


If the account under which I wanted to run Outlook is not in a Windows domain, but is, instead, an account on the same computer, I could omit the domain specification and just use /user:jdoe. You can also use the format user@domain, e.g., jdoe@mordor.lan, instead of the format domainname\username. To run a program as another user, you will need to know the password for the other account. In this case, the graphical user interface (GUI) for Outlook will open with the email, calendar entries, tasks, and contacts for the domain jdoe account once the password for that account is provided.

[/os/windows/commands] permanent link

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