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Installation packages that use msi files may require administrative rights in Windows Vista, but it might not be obvious how to grant those rights.

I was trying to install software on Windows Vista Home Premium, but it required admin rights. It's an msi package, which doesn't include "Run as administrator" in the context menu. How do I install it?

I'm somewhat surprised that "Run as administrator" wasn't available. I'm also somewhat surprised that the install just failed, rather than asking for permission to run as administrator - I believe that the installer can take care of that itself with your permission.

However, it is what it is, and thus we need to find a way to work around it.

The good news is that there are a couple of ways.

What most people don't realize is that most files that have a program association can be executed directly from the command line in the Windows Command Prompt. ".msi" files are no different, and are associated with the Windows installer. That realization gives us perhaps the quickest and easiest work around to this problem.

Locate the Windows Command Prompt shortcut in your Programs menu (typically Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt), and right click on it:

Run as Administrator on Command Prompt

"... most files that have an program association can be executed directly from the command line ..."

As you can see, "Run as Administrator" is present. After confirming with the admin password, you can now use this instance of the Command Prompt to run whatever you like. Including an MSI:

C:\> whatever.msi

The command prompt may return immediately, but Windows Installer will also launch in a new window, with the administrative privileges it needs.

I also have to be honest and say that I don't use this approach.

For my security needs, the whole concept of confirming each time that I want to do something as administrator is overkill. Hence, I turn off user access (or account) control in Windows Vista.

If I'm logged in as a user with administrative privileges, this means two things:

  • Just running the Command Prompt normally would result in it being run as administrator.

  • More importantly, just running the ".msi" file, through Windows Explorer or the Command Prompt, would also give it the administrative rights it needs.

Yes, this approach bypasses some of the additional security measures built into Windows Vista, so use this approach only if you're certain that it's appropriate for your situation.

But on the other hand, realize that this approach is no less secure than logging in as an administrator in Windows XP.

Article C3527 - October 10, 2008 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Mike Santarcangelo
October 14, 2008 12:16 PM

I'm running Vista home Premium and when I right click on "Run", I don't see the "Run as administrator" option. I haven't turned off USer Access or Account Control, but could it be that my machine came from HP that way? How can I verify?

It's not "Run" that you right click on. Right click on the shortcut to the program you want to run.
- Leo

Kitty Ashenbrenner
October 14, 2008 1:55 PM

Mike, I also have a new HP with Vista Home Premium. Right clicking on "Run" doesn't do anything, but a left click brings up a new window to type in the name of the program. Below the box is a statement: "This task will be created with administrative privileges." I was thinking that maybe whenever run in used that it automatically runs as administrator and therefore no additional options are needed. I don't know, just a guess.

Kirk Ransom
February 5, 2009 5:38 AM

I had a similar problem with a downloaded update file from HP for my scanner. Every attempt to run it, even using "Run as Administrator" failed with a comment that it must be run by the administrator.

The solution: right clicking on the file and getting the properties showed at the bottom this statement:

"This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer" and next to it was an unblock button.

I click on it and then clicked Apply. When I clicked the Apply the message disappeared and it ran with just a double click as it should

Adolph Kpesese
May 7, 2009 7:27 AM

This is brilliant. It worked.

To run .msi file as an Administrator.


December 21, 2009 9:39 AM

hey im experiencing a problem...this stupid anti virus deleted my some files from WINDOWS folder and now i can't view videos(only audio is coming),also i can't replace the files by copying the entire folder and merging it coz that requires admin priveledges and the file that controls the option has also been deleted...please help me asap...i really need your help...

Sounds like you either need the System File Checker, or to repair Windows or the steps outlined in How do I remove a virus?

May 13, 2010 9:20 AM

So you're telling all users they should just log in and run everything as administrator?

That flys in the face of all conventional security advice. Running as admin means that if you happen to hit malware, it ALSO can install as admin. Brilliant. MSFT put that control in place for a reason.

Julio Luzardo
October 26, 2010 4:43 AM

We also had the same problem with the .msi files we were creating. It was very frustrating. After googling for a very long time we found a registry based solution which worked, we adapted it and came up with the following:

Once the Install_As_Administrator.Reg patch is applied, it makes any .msi file run with elevated permissions.

February 8, 2011 5:50 PM

you are the best! it has worked!

July 25, 2011 1:02 AM

Hey nice screenshot too ?
Where did you get the screenshooter ?

December 25, 2011 8:02 AM

Wow, what a great briefs ! Thank you sir, my problem with MSI solved now. Run as administrator in W7-HP almost make me suicide. Thanks again :)

May 23, 2012 12:29 AM


I installed msi package in windows 7 altimate that pcakage created by me. oftere install that pcakage my os was correpted. that issue killing me

November 27, 2012 1:15 AM

I'm using Standard User on machine. After right-click on cmd to 'Run as Administrator'. The cmd window title is not show 'Administrator: Command Prompts'. After open file .msi package at cmd, the installation is failed. Someone help me please..

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