Why the installer must be "run as administrator"


Since the release of SU 2017, there has been a tidal wave of posts from people who encountered problems with SU because they did not install it properly on Windows. The only correct way is to right-click the installer and select “Run as Administrator”. It is not enough to be logged on as an adminstrator.

This requirement (which is not unique to SketchUp) is because modern OS’s have upped their security requirements to protect against malicious code that tries to modify crucial system areas such as the registry. To reduce the likelihood that malware is trying to attack your system without your knowledge, Windows requires an elevation of privileges beyond those routinely granted to an administrator (Mac OS X does the same thing). The right-click menu selection tells Windows that there is a live person involved who at least claims to know what they are doing.

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This needs to be stuck at the top of the list.


I have also noticed the “wave”.

I use both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and I have always installed by logging in with an administrator account and double clicking the installer, and it has always worked without issues. UAC is set to the default upper medium setting.

I already asked in an other thread whether there is some common denominator behind these issues, like the security software used, or is it a Windows 10 thing? I have experience from Norton, F-Secure and McAfee, and none of them seems to be installing additional layers of application control.



I think it has to do with the specific system areas that the SU 2017 installer modifies.


What I am wondering at is why only some users have these issues, and why I don’t, even in an environment with all kinds of extra control and restrictions in place.



This is just guessing, but my suspicion is that SU does things like installing .NET or C/C++ runtimes into areas that Windows thinks it should protect, and perhaps the installer tries to make corresponding registry changes . If you already have an acceptable version, the install doesn’t try to replace it and things go smoothly.


Some where I have buried in the stacks a windows seven forum posting that the cover several different approach’s on how the run as Admin is avoided. They do not recommend however.


… and I’ve promoted (asked) that a link to the Help Center install instructions be posted at the top of the “Download All” page, … but it has not happened.

I’d also support (suggest) a popup that appears as the installer is downloading that explains what Steve says in this thread’s first post.


Does anyone know the answer to why sketchup needs administrator rights?


@Beam, Steve answered this in this topic’s first post.


Same for me. I am with the administrator account, and double clicking always has been fine with me.


some annotations:

1.) admin rights: the Window default user is already an admin sothat elevating the user rights by “run as admin” is often not required. This applies only to (typically business) systems with user accounts limited by restricted user rights. Additionally, Windows does some heuristics for detecting setup applications and run them with elevated user rights automagically.

2.) setup under admin account: an installation under an other user account (e.g. a dedicated admin account) than used for running SU later on does obviously install in e.g. the system directories or registry branch of the user context and may therefore impose issues in regard to user preferences/resources etc.

3.) installer prerequisites: the runtime libraries installed by the SU setup routine f. Windows are not installed by the SU installer itself but by the according MS setup applications either embedded in the SU setup package (-> open with ZIP application) or downloaded during the installation from the MS website. The SU setup routine has therefore no influence on the MS installers failing, besides maybe limited user rights derivated from the SU setup routine in a limited user context.


Very good idea, Dan, even though it’s strange that over the last eleven years I’ve never had any kind of security rejection loading SU.


that’s not strange but normal if using the standard Windows user account created during the Windows installation which does have admin rights by default.


Windows 7, XP (others I have not checked) do not normally expose the elevated admin at login but you can set your system so it does. The elevated admin is set when you first install widows. I have posted this more than once many times.
However, using SU is not the only way to get there for windows; IE select start, then all programs , then accessories and you will find the command prompt, if you then select the properties for it you have the option to run as admin. The reason I use this is you are not limited to the user file path like if done in SU.
So when it is done in SU you see c:\users%username% and for elevated you see c:\windows\system 32 BTW if you use the latter approach the system file checker ( SFC) can be run that checks all the critical files and corrects them if problems found.
FYI for W7 users:


I’m not talking of the Admin account but the Window default user account which already does have admin rights by default, nothing else.