How to determine Windows and Administrator Rights

Products affected: MapInfo Pro™

Here are links from a community site and Microsoft regarding Admin Permissions on Windows:
Community site information:
From Ask Leo...

My computer says that I need to be the administrator [to perform a task], but I already am! Any ideas as to what is happening?===========================================


You're not the administrator. Not really.

Oh, sure, you may think that you're the administrator. And Windows may have even lead you to believe that you're the administrator.

But, as the result of a new security feature introduced in Windows Vista and made less obnoxious in Windows 7, you're not the real administrator by default.

But you can be.

Administrator ... But Not

UAC, or User Account Control, is an important security feature that, in essence, makes the account that you've created to be the administrator not have administrative privileges by default.

"Use 'Run as administrator' with caution and only when you're sure you need to use it."

The reason is that most users run as administrator on their own machine. That means that without this feature, any programs you run also have full administrative privileges.

Including malware.

Whether you want it or not.

The solution is to think of your administrator account more like "administrator capable", rather than being the actual real-life administrator.

By administrator-capable, I mean that Windows will often ask you for permission before performing tasks that require true administrative access and you'll just have to say yes or no.



Accounts which are not administrator-capable will have to supply the administrator password to prove that the user has the authorization to do something that requires administrative privileges.

Asking Versus Denying

Not all programs are written in such a way that they can ask and it's not always possible to ask in every situation. The best that can happen then is to deny whatever it is you're attempting if it requires administrative access.

The solution is to run the program as administrator. Because your account is administrator-capable, you can run a program with full administrative privileges.

Many programs have this option, including the Windows Command Prompt, which is where I most often use this trick. I'll use the more commonly used Windows Explorer as an example.

Right-click on the Windows Explorer icon:

Now, right-click again, but this time, on the Windows Explorer line in that pop-up menu:

As you can see, there's what we're looking for: "Run as administrator". Click on that. You'll get the UAC confirmation prompt. After clicking Yes, that instance of Windows Explorer has full administrative privileges.


It's tempting to just leave that Windows Explorer open and running so that you'll never bump into the restriction, but this opens up risks.

Any program that you start from within that copy of Windows Explorer inherits administrative privileges. If you run your mail, your browser, your word processing program or instant messaging client by double-clicking on their icon in this instance of Windows Explorer, they'll be able to do anything. And that includes any malware, such as emailed attachments, that they might "invite" onto your system. Essentially, you'll have completely subverted the security measures that the UAC puts into place.

In addition, Windows treats file ownership and security differently, depending on what user you are and whether you have full administrative privileges. In other words, the files that you create with full administrative privileges might not be accessible to you without those privileges - even though you were logged in with the same administrator-capable account.

In short, the security put into place with the UAC is there for an important reason and helps keep your machine safe from many forms of malware and exploits. Use "Run as administrator" with caution and only when you're sure that you need to use it. And even then, use it only for those things that require it. Close the program (Windows Explorer in our example above) as soon as you no longer need the extra capabilities.

From Microsoft support:

On Windows-based operating systems, your user account type controls what tasks you can perform on your computer, in some cases you may need administrative rights to perform some tasks or to use some applications. The following describes the three types of accounts on Windows-based computers and then helps to determine your user account type.

  • Standard User accounts are for everyday computing.
  • Administrator accounts provide the most control over a computer, and should only be used when necessary.
  • Guest accounts are intended primarily for people who need temporary use of a computer.


Note: If your account is a domain account there are several additional account types. You may need to contact the network administrator to change your permissions.

To determine your current user account type, follow the steps below for your version of Windows:


For Windows 7

To determine your user account type on Windows 7, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and type User Accounts in the Searchbox
  2. Click User Accounts from the list of results (The User Accounts window opens)

    Your user account type is listed beside your user account picture
Note: if you’re on a Domain account you will need to click Manage User Accounts from the resulting window. Your user account type will be listed under the Group column.

For Windows XP

To determine your user account type on Windows XP, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, Control Panel and click User Accounts

    Your user account type is listed beside your user account picture
UPDATED:  September 6, 2017