Posts Tagged ‘administrator’

Installing Google Earth as a Non-Administrator

Posted in Blog, Tech, Tutorial on June 4th, 2010 by Matt – 8 Comments

Many of the users I support use Google Earth on a day to day basis. With previous versions maintaining the installs was a pain. It required me to install the program as an administrator and make sure it worked. In some previous versions I also had an intermittent issue where Google Earth would place files that all users needed to access in the profile under which the program was installed. Then when there were updates, I had to run those as well.

Here's the solution; Use the non-administrative user install for Google Earth. Too bad it's hard to find.

Within the last two versions Google has added a feature to Google Earth to install under a user's profile folder and not into the Program Files folder. This means users do not need admin privileges to install. Unlike Google Chrome, the non-admin installer is not the default for Google Earth and they've made finding it difficult.

To get the per-user installation of Google Earth you need to click on the "advanced setup" link under the regular download page for Google Earth. From there you need to un-check the "make Google Earth available to all users profiles" option. Then click download and install.

Downloading the Non-Admin Installer for Google Earth

Since our internet access is filtered to block, and the default Google Earth installer attempts to download some files as it installs, I get an 0x80040508 installation error. The solution to this error is to download the full version of Google Earth that does not attempt to download some files at run-time. This is also known as "offline installer". To get this version uncheck the box "Allow Google Earth to automatically install recommended updates" when under the "advanced setup" section as above.

I'm not sure why Google Earth doesn't do as Chrome does and just offer the non-administrative install by default.

Administration While Running as a Limited User

Posted in Blog, Tech, Tutorial on May 12th, 2010 by Matt – Be the first to comment

Around here we have a policy that administrative accounts cannot have web access. This prevents many of the common malware and virus issues. At first I spent a lot of time logging in and out of my machine, going from admin to regular user. Then I set up a spare computer that I could remote to to run administrative commands. Then I spent some time using the run-as command, typing my password every time I wanted to do something. Now I have a solution that lets me run as a limited user and still run administrative commands without any extra work.

Heres the end result:

Running as a limited user with a Admin level window

That's a limited user account logged on with an admin level window running. Anything launched from that window will have admin level authorization.

You might say "No big deal. You just used "run-as" on an explorer window." Indeed I did, but go ahead, try it on your machine. Didn't work did it? This had me stumped for ages. I could get this to work, but none of my coworkers could.

Here's how to get it to work:

First, we need to set both the admin and limited user accounts on the computer to run the explorer windows in separate processes. This is the key that lets you have side-by-side explorer windows with separate credentials. While logged on as each user, open up explorer (Windows + E) > Tools > Options > View > Check the box next to "Launch folder windows in a separate process".

Now we can set up the shortcut to spawn the window. You can, of course, have this launch just plain a plain old explorer window to "C:". However, when I want to run something as admin, it's usually in my administrative tools list. So here's the shortcut I use:

First, right-click and make a new short cut. Set this for the target for the shortcut:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /c runas /user:domain\admin "explorer C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools"

Set the name to whatever you want. I use "Admin Run". Now lets give it a pretty icon. Right-click the shortcut >properties > Change Icon >then paste this in the "Look for icons" line and hit enter:


Now whenever you click this newly made shortcut, you'll get a command prompt for your admin user password. Once you've authorized you'll get an administrator level window with all of your admin tools.

Just add shortcuts into your all users Administrative Tools list for those programs you'll also need to run as admin. I also added links for windows explorer:  (%windir%\explorer.exe) and for the command prompt (%windir%\system32\cmd.exe) considering how much I use them.

Now you too can run as a limited user account, yet still get administrative tasks completed without wasting a ton of time logging in and out or using run-as and typing your password all the time.