# How to automatically run an elevated program shortcut at Windows startup, without login or UAC prompts

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 10 2016 (updated on Nov 14 2016) in
• Windows
• Productivity
• ## Backstory

Why did I want to do this? Well, I was setting up to record this one-long-shot 4K test video, where I wanted my Window Server 2016 test system to automatically go right into maximum CPU and RAM abuse mode, without requiring a keyboard or monitor. A little strange, I know, and certainly a corner case. That said, the little tricks featured in this intermediate-skills article can be applied to many other use cases too.

So the first hurtle I had to clear was to grab the new 64 bit version of the simple, oldie-but-goodie Prime 95 that bangs away at all CPU cores and RAM. But alas, the dang thing also invokes that UAC prompt. Requires it actually. What to do? How about a mashup of three techniques:

1. get past the UAC (User Access Control) prompt
3. set that special shortcut to auto-start

This is one of those articles I'm writing both for you and for my future self, because I know I'll be using these techniques again.

## Warning

This technique is done at your own risk, see also the usual disclaimer found with every article.

Not that this article doesn't suggest disabling UAC is a good idea, even if it is admittedly simpler than this work-around which only creates a single exception to the usual UAC prompt. It may be more helpful for the Windows Server family of operating systems.

I realize that setting Windows to automatically log you in is not exactly a great idea from a security perspective, but remember, I said test system. This is a private, temporary, isolated home-lab. I'm using the free 180 trial of Windows Server 2016. This auto-login behavior requires an encrypted, saved password. It's also handy for test VMs as well, including reboot time on SSD tests.

## Prerequisites

• an executable that requires elevated rights, and you want to run it unattended, automatically, at system reboot, and be able to interact with it
• Windows 7
• Windows 8 / 8.1
• Windows 10, including latest Anniversary Edition
• Windows Server 2012
• Windows Server 2016
• if you don't mind external downloads or third party software, per James Senecal's suggestion below, you may find it simpler to use the portable RunAsTool by Sordum as a substitute for the Task Scheduler first step below

## Instructions

1. ### Create the special shortcut using Task Scheduler

by following along with this excellent set of instructions:

How to Create an Elevated Program Shortcut without a UAC Prompt in Windows
Jul 28 2016 by Shawn Brink at Windows TenForums
For my use, as demonstrated in the video below, I only had to make the following minor tweak to the essentially identical Windows 7 version of the same procedure:
a. paste the following line line of code into the Actions tab, with -t being a Prime95.exe unattended test startup option (your optional startup parameters will vary):

%windir%\System32\cmd.exe /c start "Prime95" "C:\util\prime95.exe" -t

When you're done creating and testing your special desktop shortcut, run it to test that it works, then continue with these instructions.

2. ### Open your Startup folder

b. type Win + R, brings up Run dialogue
c. press Del key, to delete whatever was there
d. paste the following one-liner into the Run dialogue:

shell:common startup

then press Enter
d. Windows Explorer opens right up, to the special Startup Folder

3. ### Move the special shortcut to your Startup folder

that you created in step 1 to this special folder, using drag-and-drop

4. ### Launch User Accounts

it's built-in to Windows, and it saves your credentials, so Windows no longer prompts you for a password after reboot, here's how to set it up:
b. type Win + R, brings up Run dialogue
c. press Del key, to delete whatever was there
d. paste the following one-liner into the Run dialogue:

netplwiz.exe

then press Enter

5. ### Use User Accounts to configure automatic login

on netplwiz's Users tab, Uncheck:
Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
then click OK, you'll now be prompted to enter admin credentials, then press Enter

6. ### Reboot to test

watch what happens after rebooting

Tada, you're done! Your special shortcut automatically runs your program shortcut as Administrator after that reboot, without the User access Control pop-up. Nice!

Have a problem following along with these written instructions? Worry not, my detailed, step-by-step video below should help.