Windows 8.1 Tip: How To Open File Explorer As Different User

To be clear, I am not talking about Run as Administrator here. Rather, I am referring to a feature that is very useful in Windows 7 but somehow missing in Windows 8.1.

In Windows 7, I can launch Windows Explorer as a different user, such as domain administrator, to access files and folders that I couldn’t under my regular account. And I can do so easily by right-clicking Windows Explorer icon from Taskbar, holding down the shift key while right-clicking again on Windows Explorer the same time, and clicking on Run as different user from the context menu.

Launch Windows Explorer as different user in Windows 7

Launch Windows Explorer as different user in Windows 7

And you will be prompted by a security screen asking for the new username and password to be used in opening the new Windows Explorer.

Run as different user dialog box in Windows 7

But you don’t see the same thing in Windows 8.1 when doing the same thing trying to open File Explorer as a different user. The command is just gone from the context menu.

No Run as different user command in Windows 8.1

No Run as different user command in Windows 8.1

So, is it possible at all launching a new File Explorer instance that runs a different user credential in Windows 8.1?

Unfortunately, I don’t find a way that does as easy as in Windows 7 but what I do find out is that there is a workaround that at least lets me archive what I want. And here is how:

First of all, launch Command Prompt as different user. Here is how you can do it.

  1. Pin Command Prompt onto Taskbar.
  2. Hold down Shift key, and right click on the taskbar pinned Command Prompt icon.
  3. Choose Run as different user.
Launch Command Prompt as different user in Windows 8.1

Launch Command Prompt as different user in Windows 8.1

Type in the user account login info in Windows Security popup and hit OK.

Windows Security popup

And in the new opened Command Prompt window, which has the privilege from the a different user, run explorer.exe to open the File Explorer that runs as a different user.

That’s it. Hope this helps. Leave a comment below if you either find it useful or know another way that is even better.

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