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SCCM How to Run Application or Process from SYSTEM Context or Account

Really a quick note on how to execute application or processes from System context. Our old friend psexec.exe from PSTools will help us to achieve. In SCCM, most of the time system accounts are used to connect to the site systems and site servers. At the time of troubleshooting, it’s always better to check whether you’re able to connect to the site servers or site systems from system account or system context. You can download PsTools from here.

For example: If you want to run a command prompt from System account then open up a command prompt and type in  “PsExec.exe -ids cmd.exe” (without quotes).  Also, make sure that the cmd.exe is (with PID 5996) is running in SYSTEM context from task manager.

D:Sources>PsExec.exe -s cmd.exe

PSEXEC System Accunt

C:\Users\Anoop\Downloads\PSTools>PsExec.exe -s cmd.exe

PsExec v2.11 - Execute processes remotely
Copyright (C) 2001-2014 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.9926]
(c) 2015 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>whoami
nt authority\system

PSEexec can be used for following purposes as well.

1. To Connect to the remote server or system with computer account.

2. To Run the scripts on remote computers with system account or administrator account.

3.  To copy the specified program to the remote system for execution.

4.  To execute remote scripts without loading local profile.

5.  To Copy the specified file only if it has a higher version number or is newer on than the one on the remote system.

6. To execute the command on each of the computers listed in the file.

Following are the command line options available with PSExec.exe /?

PsExec executes a program on a remote system, where remotely executed console applications execute interactively.

Usage: psexec [computer[,computer2[,…] | @file]][-u user [-p psswd][-n s][-l][-s|-e][-x][-i [session]][-c [-f|-v]][-w directory][-d][-][-a n,n,…] cmd [arguments]

-a Separate processors on which the application can run with commas where 1 is the lowest numbered CPU. For example, to run the application on CPU 2 and CPU 4, enter: “-a 2,4”

-c Copy the specified program to the remote system for execution. If you omit this option the application must be in the system path on the remote system.

-d Don’t wait for process to terminate (non-interactive).

-e Does not load the specified account’s profile.

-f Copy the specified program even if the file already exists on the remote system.

-i Run the program so that it interacts with the desktop of the specified session on the remote system. If no session is specified the process runs in the console session.

-h If the target system is Vista or higher, has the process run with the account’s elevated token, if available.

-l Run process as limited user (strips the Administrators group and allows only privileges assigned to the Users group).On Windows Vista the process runs with Low Integrity.

-n Specifies timeout in seconds connecting to remote computers.

-p Specifies optional password for user name. If you omit this you will be prompted to enter a hidden password.

-s Run the remote process in the System account.

-u Specifies optional user name for login to remote computer.

-v Copy the specified file only if it has a higher version number or is newer on than the one on the remote system.

-w Set the working directory of the process (relative to remote computer).

-x Display the UI on the Winlogon secure desktop (local system only).

-priority Specifies -low, -belownormal, -abovenormal, -high or -realtime to run the process at a different priority. Use -background to run at low memory and I/O priority on Vista.

computer Direct PsExec to run the application on the remote computer or computers specified. If you omit the computer name PsExec runs the application on the local system,

and if you specify a wildcard (*), PsExec runs the command on all computers in the current domain.

@file PsExec will execute the command on each of the computers listed in the file.

program Name of application to execute. arguments Arguments to pass (note that file paths must be absolute paths on the target system).

You can enclose applications that have spaces in their name with quotation marks e.g. psexec marklap “c:long name app.exe”. Input is only passed to the remote system when you press the enter key, and typing Ctrl-C terminates the remote process.

If you omit a user name the process will run in the context of your account on the remote system, but will not have access to network resources (because it is impersonating). Specify a valid user name in the DomainUser syntax if the remote process requires access to network resources or to run in a different account. Note that the password is transmitted in clear text to the remote system.

Error codes returned by PsExec are specific to the applications you execute, not PsExec.

About Author 

Anoop is Microsoft MVP and Veeam Vanguard ! He is a Solution Architect on enterprise client management with more than 13 years of experience (calculation done on the year 2014) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker and Local User Group Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012,Current Branch, Intune. He writes about the technologies like SCCM, SCOM, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, RMS, Hyper-V etc...

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Posted in: Free Tool, Tools

3 Comments

  1. Anup Shetty says:

    Hello Anoop,

    Anup here again 🙂

    I am need to launch a html file or a web address with the logged on user.
    This should be done in the system context(using Psexec).

    I give this html link in the psexec cmd line, it launches iexplorer as a “system” user. I dont want this. I want the explorer to launch in with current logged on user.

    If I use “runas” cmd it prompts for a password. This is again a glitch. How can i bypass this pwd or is there any way to “launch a process in system context cmd as a logged in user”?

    Any help is much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance

    Regards
    Anup

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