How to Open an Elevated Command Prompt on Windows 10

A lot of the fixes and tweaks featured on the web will require you to open a Command Prompt window as an administrator. This can be confusing for non-technical persons because a lot of articles don’t mention the actual steps of opening an elevated Command Prompt.

Most of the time, opening a Command Prompt window as a regular user is more than enough. But there are some situations where you’ll need administrative privileges – you will be required to perform certain actions in an elevated Command Prompt window.

What is an elevated command prompt?

The elevated Command Prompt mode was introduced with Windows Vista. In an attempt o protect the user from those potentially harmful commands, Microsoft restricted the functionality of some commands to the elevated mode only. This means that some commands will only work as long as you run them from an elevated Command Prompt.

You can easily distinguish between a normal Command Prompt window and an elevated one by looking at the starting point. The Elevated Command Prompt starts in the System32 folder while the normal Command Prompt window starts in the User Profile folder.

As with most Windows related things, you can open an elevated Command Prompt in several different ways. While most of the methods featured in this articles can be replicated on the older Windows versions, keep in mind that this article was tailored specifically for Windows 10.

Here’s a list of different methods that can be used to open an elevated Command Prompt:

Method 1: Opening an elevated Command Prompt via the Start menu

This the standard approach that most people use. It’s arguably the longest route but can be considered the most simple method since all the steps are done through the user interface.

Here’s a quick guide to opening an elevated Command Prompt via the Start menu:

  1. Click the Start menu in the bottom left corner. You can also press the Windows key for the same result.
  2. With the start menu opened, type “cmd” to automatically use the search function. Wait until the search results are generated, then right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator.
    Note: You can also use the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keyboard combination if you want o to avoid right-clicking.

This is the classic approach. If you’re looking for a quicker way, move to the other methods below.

Method 2: Opening an Elevated Command Prompt via the Power User Menu

If you’re on Windows 8 or Windows 10, you can open an Elevated Command Prompt directly from the Power User Menu.

Note: Keep in mind that the Power User Menu is not available on Windows version older than Windows 8.

To access the Power User Menu, right-click on the start icon or press Windows key + X. Then, simply click on Command Prompt (Admin) to open an Elevated Command Prompt. You will then be asked to confirm the administrative permissions via a User Account Control (UAC) window – hit Yes at the prompt to open the Elevated Command Prompt.

Keep in mind that if you have updated your Windows 10 version with the Creators Update, you will see Windows Powershell (Admin) instead of Command Prompt (Admin). This change was implemented by Microsoft in order to tempt more users to migrate to Powershell.

If you want the old behavior back, you can follow this article (here) to replace the Windows Powershell (Admin) with Command Prompt.

But you can also click on Windows Powershell (Admin) and then type “cmd” inside the Elevated Powershell window to switch to an Elevated Command Prompt window.

Method 3: Using the Run box to open an Elevated Command Prompt

Another way to go around opening an Elevated Command Prompt window is to make use of the run box. Normally, opening Command Prompt from the Run box will not have administrative privileges, but we have a workaround for this.
To open an Elevated Command Prompt window via the Run box, press Windows key + R to bring up the Run menu. Then, type ” cmd ” but instead of pressing Enter directly, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open it with administrative privileges. You’ll then be prompted by a UAC (User Account Control) window in which you’ll have to hit Yes.

Method 4: Creating an elevated Command Prompt shortcut 

If you find yourself running Command Prompt command that requires administrative privileges, it makes sense to create a dedicated shortcut for an Elevated Command Prompt. This is arguably the most efficient way of opening an Elevated Command Prompt window, but it requires some time setting it up.

Here’s a quick guide to creating a shortcut for an Elevated Command Prompt:

  1. Right-click anywhere on a free space (on the desktop or in a folder) and choose New >  Shortcut.
  2. In the box directly under “Type the location of the item” type ” CMD ” and hit the Next button.
  3. At the next button, grant the newly created shortcut a name and hit the Finish button to finish the process.
  4. Next, right-click on the newly created shortcut and choose Properties. Then, go to the Shortcut tab, and click the Advanced button.
  5. In the Advanced Properties window, check the box next to Run as administrator and hit OK. Finally, click on Apply to save the changes.
    That’s it. Your Elevated Command Prompt window is configured and ready to be used. But keep in mind that even if you set it to run with administrative privileges, you’ll still be prompted by the UAC window.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Open an Elevated Command Prompt on Windows 10

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