Start process with impersonation – roll your own RunAs in C#

Quite a few of our servers are now in a different domain than the one I’m in – and especially for using SQL Server Management Studio that means that I have to use the RunAs command quite often (or use the shift + right-click RunAs option). Being a bare-bones command-line tool RunAs is not as user-friendly as one might wish, so I decided to try and make my own today, and here is the heart of the matter:

using System.Diagnostics;
using System.IO;
using System.Security;

var file = @”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\Ssms.exe”;


var sspw = new SecureString();

foreach (var c in “Mypassword”) sspw.AppendChar(c);

var proc = new Process();

proc.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;

proc.StartInfo.WorkingDirectory = Path.GetDirectoryName(file);

proc.StartInfo.FileName = Path.GetFileName(file);          
proc.StartInfo.Arguments = “”;

proc.StartInfo.Domain = “MyDomainName”;

proc.StartInfo.UserName = “MyUserName”;

proc.StartInfo.Password = sspw;


proc.StartInfo.LoadUserProfile = true;


What was especially tricky was that StartInfo must absolutely have a valid path, and that – in order for Ssms.exe to find its modules – StartInfo must also be told to use the UserProfile of the impersonated user.

I find it a little odd that SecureString doesn’t have a constructor or method for taking a string, but maybe I’m overlooking some finer security detail here.

The whole thing will have to go inside a GUI with some sort of secure persistance of user info, but that should be the easy part 🙂

Posted in C#

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