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How to run File Explorer with admin rights on Windows 10

Apps can run with regular user privileges, or they can run with admin rights. When an app needs to run with admin rights, it’s usually because it needs to make a significant change to the system. This may be something big like editing the Windows registry, or something small like saving a file to a certain protected location. With apps, it’s pretty obvious that they use different types of privileges depending on what they need to do but the File Explorer also follows the same rules. By default, it always runs with normal user rights. If you need to run File Explorer with admin rights, you will have to launch it from the Explorer.exe file.

File Explorer with admin rights

In order to run File Explorer with admin rights, you need to open a File Explorer window and navigate to the following location;


Here, look for explorer.exe and right-click it. From the context menu, select Run as administrator and File Explorer will launch with admin rights.

You can also run File Explorer with admin rights from the Task Manager. Open the Task Manager and go to File>Run New Task.

In the Create new task box, enter explorer.exe and check the ‘Create this task with administrative privileges’ option. Click Ok, and a new File Explorer window will open with admin rights.

Remember that File Explorer can run several instances of itself. When you run it with admin rights, you run one instance of the app with those rights. All other instances that were already running with normal privileges will not be elevated to admin rights.

Running File Explorer with admin rights will allow you to access certain restricted directories on your system however, it will not magically unlock every single directory. Some folders on your system are owned by TrustedInstaller and if TrustedInstaller prevents you from accessing a folder, you will not be able to do so even if you’re running File Explorer with admin rights.

It’s rare that you’ll ever need to run File Explorer with admin rights. The app is used to find other apps or files on your system and normally, it’s those apps or files that you need to run with admin rights. An Explorer window with ordinary rights will work just as well as one with admin rights. That said, for those rare occasions when you do need to run File Explorer with admin rights, you can.

It goes without saying that if you’re doing this from a normal user account, you will be prompted to enter the admin username and password.

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