Launch SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) as a different user

EDIT – this is fixed in newer versions of SSMS.  Better to upgrade!

Many organisations require that administrators have a separate user account for work on production systems, different to the one they use for day to day work.

Unfortunately, newer versions of SSMS display this when you try to launch (or ‘runas’) SSMS as another user.

Neither option, “Restart under different credentials” or “Cancel the task and return to Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio”, will allow you to run SSMS as another user account.

One option is to turn off UAC (in case you don’t know what that is – it’s “User Access Control” – the box that takes over your screen when you try and do something needing admin rights, e.g. install software)

Whilst there is no shortage of opinions and holy wars on the usefulness of this security feature, I believe that in this age of ‘drive-by website attacks’, turning off security protections puts your machine at greater risk. If you agree & would like a quick fix, read on.


To allow you to run SSMS as a different user, you need to make one change to the SSMS shortcut.

First, find SSMS on the start menu, right click on it, and select “Open File Location” to find the application shortcut:

Right click on the “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio” shortcut, select Properties. Under the compatibility tab, click ‘settings for all users’, & tick “Run this program as an administrator”

Then, you’ll be able to run SSMS as another account.

How do you launch an app using another account?

In order to launch a program as another user, you need to copy the application shortcut to your desktop, or right-click on the shortcut and select “Pin to taskbar”.

Having done this, hold down shift and right click on the SSMS shortcut, and select ‘Run as a different user’

Put in your admin credentials, then you will be able to successfully launch SSMS, using your admin account.

If you can’t see ‘Run as different user’, make sure the shortcut is on your desktop or pinned to your taskbar.  Note, the start menu doesn’t seem to offer this function.  Make sure you have shift held down before you right click on the shortcut.


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