Q. What's the easiest way to execute a program in Windows 7 or Windows Vista with administrator-level privileges? I don't want to change the properties of the program to permanently run as an administrator (you can do so from the compatibility tab in the properties), because that would compromise the protection offered by User Account Control (UAC).

 A. If you're logged on as a user with administrative credentials, you can always execute a program with full administrator rights by right-clicking the executable or shortcut and selecting "Run as Administrator" in the context menu. There's also a nice keyboard shortcut that has the same effect. The trick is to simultaneously press Ctrl+Shift+Enter from the Windows Search bar on the Start menu with a selected application.

For example, to launch an elevated command prompt, simply press the Windows key (this opens the Search bar in the Start menu), type cmd, and then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. This will open an UAC prompt asking whether you want to "allow the following program to make changes to this computer." To confirm and open an elevated command prompt, press Alt+C.

A final tip: to visually differentiate an elevated command window from other non-elevated windows you use on your desktop, you can change the elevated windows' background and font color. For example to change the background color to red and the font color to yellow, just type "color 4e" at the command prompt.