How to Grant Full Admin Privileges to Standard Users in Windows OS

In the Windows operating system, user accounts are categorized into two main types – standard users and administrator users.

Standard Users

  • Have limited privileges and access
  • Cannot make changes that affect other users or the system
  • Suited for regular day-to-day work

Administrator Users

  • Have full privileges to make any changes
  • Can access all files/folders, install programs, change settings etc
  • Risky to use for routine activities

While administrator accounts provide more flexibility, they also pose security risks if compromised by malware or hackers. So most experts recommend using standard accounts for daily work and only switching to admin accounts when required.

However, at times you may need to grant standard users increased privileges without giving them full admin access. Here are a few methods to achieve this on Windows OS:

Use Group Policy Editor

The Group Policy Editor allows you to grant standard users the ability to perform specific admin tasks through group policies.


  1. Open Run command (Windows + R) and type gpedit.msc
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Restricted Groups
  3. Right click on Restricted Groups and click Add Group
  4. Add the group name (e.g. PrivilegedUsers)
  5. Under Members, add the standard users you want to give privileges to
  6. Under This group is a member of, click Add
  7. Select the admin groups they should be part of e.g. Administrators

This allows flexibility to give standard users granular admin rights without full access.

Use Desktop Authority

Desktop Authority from ScriptLogic is a popular tool that allows creating standard user groups with custom admin privileges.

Some key features:

  • Apply custom local group memberships
  • Grant task-specific privileges
  • Control what programs they can run
  • Revoke rights after work is done

This avoids having to manually add users to groups in Group Policy Editor.

Use Privileges Management Software

Specialized privilege management tools like PowerBroker from BeyondTrust allow granting standard users elevated privileges easily through on-demand elevation policies.

Benefits include:

  • Grant temporary privileges elevation
  • Revoke rights automatically after timeout
  • Create rules for specific tasks/programs
  • No disruption to user workflow

These tools provide added layers of security while empowering standard users.

Switch User Accounts

Manually switching between standard and administrator user accounts is another option.

It allows working normally on the standard account, then providing admin credentials to elevate privileges only when required.


  1. Create a separate admin local account
  2. Set your main account to a standard user
  3. When admin rights needed, use Switch User option to shift to admin account
  4. Enter admin password to confirm privilege elevation
  5. Work is done, switch back to standard user account

This can be inconvenient but gives good accountability over admin access.


Granting standard users increased privileges while restricting full admin access improves Windows security. Group Policy Editor, privilege management software and switching user accounts are some methods to achieve this balance.

Organizations should adopt a principle of least privilege access – give users only the admin rights they need and only when they need it. This minimizes opportunities for malware and hackers to exploit admin loops holes.

Implementing these solutions does involve some learning effort and workflow changes. But improved security and reduced risk of infections or breaches make it worthwhile.