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Windows Vista: Script Elevation PowerToys

Among the many features Windows Vista introduced to address security concerns, User Account Control (UAC) is one of the most significant. With User Account Control, even users who are administrators run most applications with standard privilege, but have “elevation potential” for specific administrative tasks and application functions. After using Windows Vista™ for many months, elevating a task or application as necessary has become second nature. However, I also encountered a number of shortcomings when trying to elevate some types of tasks in Windows Vista, and that became frustrating.

So in the spirit of the old Windows® PowerToys, I’ve created a few Script Elevation PowerToys to overcome these limitations. You can find all of the PowerToys I’m about to discuss in the code download at technetmagazine .com/code07.aspx. And you can read about how UAC works in the November 2006 article “Achieve the Non-Admin Dream with User Account Control” by Alex Heaton (see the “Additional Resources” sidebar).

Elevate Command PowerToy: The first annoyance was that there was no method to elevate an application from the command line or from the Run dialog box. So after asking around within Microsoft, I came across a sample script from John Stephens (a Software Design Engineer at Microsoft) that provided the information I needed. It turns out that if you pass the verb “runas” to either the ShellExecute API or to its COM equivalent, the ShellExecute method of Shell.Application, the application launched will prompt for elevation (see the sidebar for details). This allowed me to create the first Elevation PowerToy—the Elevate Command PowerToy.

This tool (which consists of the files ElevateCommand.inf, elevate.cmd, and elevate.vbs) adds an elevate command to your system. This lets you launch applications that prompt for elevation from the command line, a script, or the Run dialog. For example, the following command opens Win.ini with Notepad (after prompting for elevation):

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Microsoft, Windows Vista, Script, Elevation, Power Toys

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