runas_context_menu ShellRunas v.1.0 is a new Sysinternals tools by Mark Russinowich. It enables you to run a program with different credentials from Windows Explorer. The tool works with Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

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Tools such as RunAsAdmin or RunAsLimitedUser allow you to run commands only with a certain account. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 already have this run as option in the context menu of Windows Explorer. Microsoft removed it for some reason in Windows Vista and Server 2008. ShellRunas weeds out this mistake. You can use ShellRunas from Windows Explorer by right clicking on the application you want to start and then on “Run as different user”.

The most common use would be if you want to check whether a program works properly with certain credentials. Or you can use it if you need admin privileges of another Windows domain. ShellRunas works on the command prompt as well.


Before you can use the tool in Windows Explorer you have to run ShellRunas once from the command line with ShellRunas /reg. These are command line switches, the tool understands:

Usage: shellrunas [/reg | [/quietreg ] | /regnetonly [/quiet] | unreg | [/netonly] <program> <arguments>

/reg Registers ShellRunas shell context-menu entry

/regnetonly Registers Shell /netonly context-menu entry

Note: a command prompt will flash when the program starts

/unreg Unregisters ShellRunas shell context-menu entry

/quiet Register or unregisters ShellRunas shell context-menu entry without result dialog

/netonly Use if specified credentials are for remote access only

<program> Runs program with specified credentials and parameters


  1. Gordon Martin 15 years ago

    I have a lot of complaints with this tool – particularly when it comes to the things it still doesn’t do. Read my review on VistaVitals:

  2. Ben 15 years ago

    Stupid Microsoft for removing a useful shell option. Why do they do this daft stuff? Hope Mark Russinovitch is being listened to since he started working with them.

  3. Steve 13 years ago

    I agree — this tool doesn’t do anything that the Shift-Right-click option can’t do….

  4. Microsoft added this feature again to Windows 7. Thus Sysinternal ShellRunAS is mostly interesting for Vista and Windows Server 2008 users.

  5. Anonymous 13 years ago

    No, the great benefit of this tool outside of Vista/2008 is the ability to add a context menu item for the “NetOnly” version of RunAs, which is otherwise only accessible from the command prompt.

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