How to Fix: Can't run Command Prompt as Admin (Win8)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Dave T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently installed Windows 8.1 on my netbook and downloaded all the updates which took almost 2 days to complete. Towards the end there was a slew of failed updates which did not install; one of them which was a cumulative patch for Internet Explorer. I read that to fix the issue I need to open a command prompt as Administrator user and then run 'sfc /scannow' to fix the failed updates, but I cannot seem to run cmd.exe as the Administrator user. When I try and run 'sfc /scannow', I get the error message that 'You must be an administrator running a console session in order to use the sfc utility.' I have verified that my user account has administrator access and have right clicked cmd.exe and selected 'Run as Administrator', but it just will not work. How in the world can I run the command prompt as administrator so I can properly run 'sfc /scannow'? "

My response:

I had this exact same problem recently and it also threw me for a loop. I'm also running IOBit Start Menu 8 and have the Modern Interface disabled. When I typed in 'cmd' at the start menu and right-clicked it to "Run as Administrator", it would open a regular command prompt (not as administrator). In the past, this method worked fine with Windows 7 without any issues.

There are are a few ways to get around this, and I'll explain below.

Enable Part of the Modern UI

If you're running IOBit Start Menu 8 or some other alternative start menu, this may be interfering with the right click "Run as Administrator" dialogue. To resolve this problem, you need to enable the 'bottom-left hot corner' OR the Charms sidebar so you can run elevated command prompts properly.

To fix this (using IOBit Start Menu 8): click the Start Menu, then click the settings icons. A new window will appear; go to the Modern UI menu on the left, and ensure that either "Disable bottom-left hot corner" does NOT have a check mark, or "Disable sidebar" does NOT have a check mark.

You can now open an elevated command prompt using any of the steps I describe below.

Run Command Prompt as Admin using the Bottom Left Hot Corner

The start menu in Windows 8 has an alternative menu if you use a right click instead of a left click - but only if you have the "Bottom Left Hot Corner" enabled (this is enabled by default if you did not use an alternative Start menu for Windows 8). To access the alternative menu: move your mouse to the very bottom left of the screen. Wait a second, and then right click on the mouse and you will be presented with a dialogue menu that has the option that says "Command Prompt (Admin)". Click that and it will open an administrative command prompt.

Run an Elevated Command Prompt using Charms

Optionally you can run elevated command prompt using the charms menu (also known as the "Sidebar menu"). To do so: move your mouse to the bottom right of the screen and leave it there for a second. The charms menu should appear; left click the Search icon at the very top. Type in 'cmd' (no quotes) and wait for the CMD.EXE black icon to appear in the list of search items. Important: right click the CMD.EXE icon and choose "Run as Administrator". This will open an elevated command prompt (properly).

Run Command Prompt as Administrator using Task Manager

You can also run an elevated command prompt through Task Manager. To do so: press CTRL + ALT + DEL on the keyboard and click on Task Manager. Next, click the File (menu) option and then click "Run". Type in "cmd" (no quotes) and then check mark "Create this task with administrative privileges".

I hope that helps!

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 3.5 (15 votes)