ShellExecAsUser plug-in

From NSIS Wiki


Execute the specified program using ShellExecute in non-admin context.

The ShellExecAsUser plug-in is intended for installers that run with admin rights, but need to execute something as a normal non-elevated process.

This is accomplished by having Explorer launch the application on the installer’s behalf (

As such it's a light alternative to UAC plugin.


Syntax is exactly the same as NSIS built in ExecShell command:

ShellExecAsUser::ShellExecAsUser action command [parameters] [SW_SHOWDEFAULT | SW_SHOWNORMAL | SW_SHOWMAXIMIZED | SW_SHOWMINIMIZED | SW_HIDE]

Note that action is usually "open", "print", etc, but can be an empty string to use the default action. Parameters and the show type are optional. $OUTDIR is used for the working directory. When installer process is non-elevated (e.g. executed on Windows XP, or UAC is disabled, etc), defaults to ShellExecute method.


 ShellExecAsUser::ShellExecAsUser "open" ''


  1. If Explorer is not running or running as elevated process, plugin will launch elevated process.
  2. The process is launched under the same user Explorer is running. Under some circumstances (e.g. using runas to run installer on behalf of another user) desktop user may be different from before-elevation user.

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