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Maximizing Windows: Restoring “Run As…” in Windows Vista

This article was originally published on July 21, 2008.

At work, we use Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The client software requires Windows authentication to connect to a database. However, the credentials are pulled from your logged in Windows account. If you’re not on Purdue’s domain, you can’t connect. While putting my workstation on the domain wasn’t an issue, I prefer using my local user account on my laptop.

Vista supports fast user switching on a domain (XP does not, unfortunately), so I could switch between local and domain to use the SQL client, but running two profiles simultaneously is a bit of a resource hog.

Windows XP has a handy “Run As…” feature. If you right-click on an executable or shortcut, you can click “Run As…” and enter different credentials to load an application. This is especially handy if an admin needs to run something like the Management Console without logging out the user first.

Vista, for some inexplicable reason, has removed this feature. Fortunately, SysInternals came up with a handy little application that brings back the “Run As…” menu. It registers in Explorer’s context menu, and it can be used at the command line to load an application – which means you can create shortcuts specifically to run something as a different user.

It’s small, easy to install, and works great!