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# 137915 13-Dec-2013 09:28
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Hi,

OK, I know I'm a bit rusty on "Modern" Windows, having primarily been a Unix guy for the last 15 years; so hence this question.

I'm at a client site, where I'm using their locked-down workstations, so I don't have Admin privs (not do I want them!) in Windows 7.

I've downloaded (from a vendor website) a self-extracting .exe file (which is a patch) for a server which is running a Unix OS; but the patch is a Windows .EXE (don't even ask!).

However, whenever I run said .EXE file, it immediately prompts for Windows Admin credentials via UAC which, of course, I don't have, in theory need, or actually want.  If I click "Cancel", then the binary immediately terminates with an "access denied" message (when running from the Command line).

Is there not some mechanism within Windows to say I wish to run this binary as a non-privileged user, so don't even bother asking for elevated rights? Because if there is, I can't find it.  And if there isn't, then I find it particularly irritating that in this modern day of "least privilege" being the "correct" thing to do that there is no way of running what is effectively a self-extracting compressed file without giving it total admin rights to the entire workstation. 

That seems so wrong...

Thanks!

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8034 posts

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  # 951660 13-Dec-2013 14:37
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Sounds like the vendor hasn't signed their EXE with a trusted cert, if they did this properly you shouldn't see a UAC prompt.

If it's just a zip or rar you might be able to right click the file and extract it or that or another machine.


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  # 951726 13-Dec-2013 15:41
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If they have something like 7-Zip installed, try opening the exe with that and see if you can pull out the contents.




Information wants to be free. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.


 
 
 
 




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  # 951743 13-Dec-2013 16:01
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Thanks for the replies; I don't at this stage need help on how to get the files out of the self-extracting archive - a USB key and my own laptop (which I do have Admin rights on!) sorted that out pretty quick.

In response to answer #1, it's a major international hardware vendor; pretty sure the app is built correctly; and pretty sure the reason it's prompting for credentials is that my domain-account doesn't have Admin rights; the binary (or windows) "thinks" or "knows" it needs them (for example, escalation may be tagged in the manifest - I haven't checked), and is asking for credentials with local admin rights.  Pity all it does is create a subdirectory of your choice, and write files into it - none of which "need" (i.e. mandatory require) admin rights....  sigh.

However, I'd still like to know if there is a way to prevent Windows from attempting and then subsequently failing to gain elevated rights, and then point blank refusing to run the software.  I.e. is there a way to force it to run un-elevated.

As I've mentioned, I'm a Unix guy; so I like (where possible) to use Cygwin utilities on a PC.  The older Cygwin "setup.exe" file used to trigger a UAC elevation when run purely because the name was "setup.exe"; renaming it to something else (like "cygset.exe") would let it run, and as a non-priv'ed user you could say "install just for me", and as long as you had write-access to some directory it would be perfectly happy.

I notice that the latest version doesn't do that any more - even when renamed, it still attempts UAC escalation.  There is documented setting for an application manifest which tells Windows to automatically escalate; which would be fine, except it makes the whole "install just for me" non-priv code in the installer completely redundant!   (this is presumably what my vendor file I referred to earlier does too).

(Note: "Windows XP compatibility mode" still prevents the Cygwin installer from UAC prompting; that workaround still doesn't work for the vendor patch).

I guess at the end of the day, I'm just venting - my problem is solved; but it would be nice to know if there was a mechanism by which I could tell Windows to "just freaking do it" without Admin rights - yes, the app in question may then fail if it tries and/or needs to do something "special", but I know that these vendor patches just simply unpack into a sub-dir.  Yes, running the actual patch itself would be a privileged Op; but to just unpack some files?  Nope.

I'll log a support case with the vendor too, just to make a point....


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  # 951782 13-Dec-2013 17:30
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Best way to think of UAC is that of sudo on Linux. There are things you may want to do and things you can no longer do - like run badly written installers by vendors who should no better :)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.07.uac.aspx





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  # 951891 13-Dec-2013 20:43
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jamesrt: Thanks for the replies; I don't at this stage need help on how to get the files out of the self-extracting archive - a USB key and my own laptop (which I do have Admin rights on!) sorted that out pretty quick.

In response to answer #1, it's a major international hardware vendor; pretty sure the app is built correctly; and pretty sure the reason it's prompting for credentials is that my domain-account doesn't have Admin rights; the binary (or windows) "thinks" or "knows" it needs them (for example, escalation may be tagged in the manifest - I haven't checked), and is asking for credentials with local admin rights.  Pity all it does is create a subdirectory of your choice, and write files into it - none of which "need" (i.e. mandatory require) admin rights....  sigh.



If its asking for admin rights then either its actively trying to do something that requires it (such as write to a folder you don't have permissions too with your account) or the package has been set to prompt for elevation when run. You'd be amazed how many major international vendors assume everyone has admin rights.




Information wants to be free. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.


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