Do I have local admin rights? Find out how in three mouse clicks (or two keys plus a mouse click)….

I use this quick-tip frequently to determine if I'm a local administrator. The trouble with some tips is that you just know them, they're so simple so you don't bother to tell people as you're under the assumption they "must have known that". This exact circumstance happened today in the office when a colleague was having problems installing some software. They thought they had local admin rights, but didn't.

Click 1: Right-Click My Computer
Click 2: Select Properties
Click 3: Select the "Computer Name" tab

If the "Change" box is available, you're a local administrator. If it's greyed out, you're not. It's that simple.

So as to combine one tip into two, if you didn't know, you could change Clicks 1 and 2 above with 2 keyboard hits: Windows Key + Break.

Comments (11)

  1. Jerry Pisk says:

    How about double clicking the tray clock? If you’re not an admin it will not show up the Date/Time control panel applet.

  2. John Howard [MSFT] says:

    Jerry – I’m very impressed! Hadn’t heard of that one. So we’re down to two mouse clicks. Here’s a challenge then, can anyone identify those admin rights in just one click? Pretty sure I’m on a safe bet though!

  3. Marcus Libäck says:

    I never log in with administrator rights. I use RunAs or a CMD with admin rights when i need to install/remove software or change something…

  4. John Howard [MSFT] says:

    Hi Marcus – This is very sound advice and I respect anyone who rigorously adopts this procedure. It is certainly a very worthwhile point to make from a security perspective. Without going into the rights and wrongs of this particular debate (ie is a can of worms), I’d definitely have to hand any comments or discussion on this one to my colleage, Steve Lamb who is a Security Evangelist. His blog is at



  5. Matt Elliott says:

    even better.

    right click the start button. if you see "explore all users" you are an admin.

  6. John Howard [MSFT] says:

    Matt – It would make sense that you’re right (but the machine I’m logged on at currently is an account with local admin rights). I’ll check this one out a bit later… A single mouse click – I’m _VERY_ impressed!

    The challenge now has to be telepathy – no mouse clicks, keyboard strokes or other UI devices. I’m pretty confident that no-one will get there though 😉

    Unless you know better….?

  7. Garry Martin says:

    I can’t take credit for this one (that belongs to an old colleague from BMW) but apparently it used to be possible to tell if someone was a local admin based on the number of Command Prompt windows they had open at once. Not sure that still stands nowadays 😉

  8. Brant Gurganus says:

    Some of these might need checked to be actually be accurate. For example, a Power User can change the system time, but a User cannot. Therefore, that doesn’t actually tell if you are an administrator. For the Explore All Users option, it may depend on folder permissions which can be set at an individual level instead of on you group.

  9. Jesper Holmberg says:

    How ’bout Windows+R followed by dfrg.msc?

  10. Mark says:

    I usually do Windows Key + Break and if you can only see 5 tabs (one row only) you’re limited. Not sure though if you have to be admin or if poweruser is enough to see all tabs.

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