Launch Windows Applications With A Seperate User Account Via an Application Shortcut

If like my place of work, your company follows best practise and gives you administration accounts separate from your main user account, this can be a bit of a pain in the backside.

I kid you not, at my current place of work I have SIX separate administration accounts for various services.

Remembering to hold down the shift key when opening certain application shortcuts, or entering the incorrect username can be a serious time waster. It occurred to me there has to be an easier way of doing this, and there this. Thankfully.

Follow the below steps to create a shortcut with your necessary administration account details already entered.

  • Find the application you wish to run as a different user in the start menu.
  • Right click the application and click properties (In Windows 10 you’ll have to click more -> open file location first, and then right click the icon and choose properties)
  • Copy the target. This is the full UNC path of the executable file that you want to run as a different user
  • navigate to C:\Users\<YOUR-USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
  • Right click in the window and Click new > shortcut.
  • Enter the location as follows :

    Runas /savecred /user:DOMAIN\Username <application>

    The /savecred option will save the credentials after you first enter them. They will be stored securely in windows credential manager. You can remove this option if you would prefer to enter the password each time.

    So in this example my domain is ADF, the user name is admin_test and the application is System Center. The location will be:

    Runas /savecred /user:adf\admin_test “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\Admin Console\bin\Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe”

  • Name the shortcut: I would recommend adding [ADMIN_test or whatever your username is] before the name of the application so you can clearly differentiate it from the standard application shortcut.
  • The first time you run the shortcut you need to right click it and run as administrator. You should be prompted for a password. Enter the password. The application will now open as the specified user! Woohoo. You won’t be prompted for credentials again until the password is changed.
  • To change the icon, right click the original application shortcut, click properties, click change icon. Where it says ‘Look for icons in this file’ copy the full path.
  • Now right click the new shortcut, click properties, click change icon. Under ‘look for icons in this file’ paste the path you have just copied. Now click on the icon you wish to use and click OK.

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