Installing software as an administrator vs *The* administrator

Posted on 2011-09-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Recently attempting a software installation as a user marked as an administrator under Windows 7, we ran into the issue of not being able to execute msi files, causing the installation to abort.  Please note that all other software installations went fine - we only had issues with a single installation of a CAD program.  We tried the various fixes found when searching on this issue such as changing the registry and adjusting the local security policy, but the only thing that worked was signing in as the user that was created when Windows 7 was initially installed.  Is there a reason for this behavior and if so can it be bypassed?  Thanks,
Question by:james_axton
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

athomsfere earned 50 total points
ID: 36575708
Were these domain admins?

I have seen a couple installers that required the default / local admin to install the software. It appears to be something in the way the installer was built, and I have not found a resolution other than using the built in admin account.
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

Qlemo earned 50 total points
ID: 36575743
Besides UAC prompts not appearing, and the fixed usage of admin accounts for some tasks in the installer, I cannot see a reason. The Admin account itself does not require or issue UAC prompts, but accounts being member of administrators do.

Author Comment

ID: 36575759
The user in question was a domain user, yes, but not a domain admin.  The user was set up only as a local administrator, which happens in the course of joining a machine to a domain.  Does that qualify?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 36575765
BTW, if you really want to find out, use ProcMon ( with an reasonable filter condition. ProcMon catches all system events, which can be file access, registry access, tcp connections, and logs them according to your settings. In your case you will get ahead best by step-by-step exclusion of event sources (processes) not being part of what you want to monitor, until you'll see Access Denied messages or the like.

Author Comment

ID: 36577867
Qlemo, in your first response I'm reading that to say that something could go wrong with an account that has been placed in the Admin group, but not with the original admin that gets set up on a first boot of Windows 7, is that correct?  If so then it fits with what athomsfere was saying as well about it going back to the way a specific installer was built.  Thanks.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 36578810
"something could go wrong" is vague, but yes, it is what I meant. I bet on the fixed build-in admin in the installer, as athomsfere guesses.

Assisted Solution

Babcy earned 25 total points
ID: 36582444
Just Change the Compatability of the software to XP SP3  and install as administrator, It should help you

LVL 66

Assisted Solution

johnb6767 earned 25 total points
ID: 36582846
If the installer isn't hard coded to only see Administrator (built-in) account, then perhaps it is a rights issue. UAC doesn't affect that account if not mistaken.....

Author Comment

ID: 36588318
babcy, we tried that but with no success.  It really does appear that this was an installer issue and not a Windows 7 admin issue, and that the solution is just to, unfortunately, sign in as the original admin and install the software.  Thanks to everyone for the input and I'll split the points accordingly.  

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