ShellRunAs - CMD


ShellRunAs is a command-line utility in Windows that allows users to run specific programs with different user credentials. Primarily designed for system administrators and advanced users, this tool is essential for managing permissions and conducting operations under various security contexts. ShellRunAs proves most useful in environments where multiple users access a single workstation and require varying access levels or where tasks need to be run under accounts with specific privileges.


The basic syntax to use ShellRunAs is as follows:

ShellRunAs /user:[Username | Domain\Username] command


  • /user: Specifies the username or domain\username with which the command will be run.
  • command: The command or program to execute under the specified user credentials.


  • /netonly: Use this flag if the credentials provided are for remote access only. The application will run with the local credentials but use the specified user credentials in any network interactions.
  • /smartcard: Indicates that the credentials will be provided via a smart card. This option requires a smart card reader and a smart card that has been configured with user credentials.


  1. Running a Program as Another User:
    Run Notepad as user “JohnDoe” in the domain “DOMAIN”.

    ShellRunAs /user:DOMAIN\JohnDoe notepad
  2. Using Network Credentials:
    Launch a script that accesses network resources under a different user’s network credentials:

    ShellRunAs /user:DOMAIN\JohnDoe /netonly "\\DOMAIN\path\to\script.bat"
  3. Application with Smart Card:
    Initiate a secure application using a smart card for user authentication:

    ShellRunAs /user:DOMAIN\JohnDoe /smartcard secureapp.exe

Common Issues

  • Credential Mismanagement:
    Users often face issues with incorrect username or password entries. Ensure that the credentials entered are accurate and that the CAPS LOCK key is not enabled.

  • Network Configuration Errors:
    When using the /netonly flag, ensure that the network paths and permissions are correctly configured, as improper settings can lead to access errors.

  • Smart Card Reader Issues:
    Ensure that the smart card reader is correctly installed and that the drivers are up-to-date. Problems often arise from misconfigured or faulty readers.


ShellRunAs can be effectively combined with batch scripts to automate tasks that require different user credentials. For example, to automate a backup process under a specific user account, you could write a batch file that uses ShellRunAs:

@echo off
ShellRunAs /user:BackupAdmin /netonly "backupscript.bat"
  • runas: Similar to ShellRunAs, but integrated into the Windows operating system, allowing users to execute a program under a different user account.

For more information, consult the official Windows documentation on user account management and command line utilities.