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Run as interactive user from service

The code below runs a program on interactive desktop with logged on user privileges, as it was started by user himself. Must be executed by Local System, for example, by Windows service.


#include <WtsApi32.h>
#pragma comment(lib, "WtsApi32.lib")

#include <Userenv.h>
#pragma comment(lib, "Userenv.lib")

RunAsInteractiveUser function:

BOOL bRet;

HANDLE processToken = NULL;
TOKEN_PRIVILEGES oldTokenPrivileges = { 0 };

HANDLE impersonationToken = NULL;
HANDLE userToken = NULL;

LPVOID pEnvironment = NULL;
PROCESS_INFORMATION processInformation = { 0 };

__try {
    bRet = OpenProcessToken(GetCurrentProcess(), TOKEN_ADJUST_PRIVILEGES | TOKEN_QUERY, &processToken);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    // This step might not be necessary because SeTcbPrivilege is enabled by default for Local System
    LUID luid;
    bRet = LookupPrivilegeValue(NULL, _T("SeTcbPrivilege"), &luid);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    TOKEN_PRIVILEGES adjTokenPrivileges = { 0 };
    adjTokenPrivileges.PrivilegeCount = 1;
    adjTokenPrivileges.Privileges[0].Luid = luid;
    adjTokenPrivileges.Privileges[0].Attributes = SE_PRIVILEGE_ENABLED;

    DWORD dwOldTPLen;
    bRet = AdjustTokenPrivileges(processToken, FALSE, &adjTokenPrivileges, sizeof(TOKEN_PRIVILEGES), &oldTokenPrivileges, &dwOldTPLen);
    if (bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        if (hr == ERROR_SUCCESS);
        else if (hr == ERROR_NOT_ALL_ASSIGNED) {
            // Enabled by default
    else {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    DWORD conSessId = WTSGetActiveConsoleSessionId();
    if (conSessId == 0xFFFFFFFF) {
        // There is no session attached to the console
        return ERROR_SUCCESS;

    bRet = WTSQueryUserToken(conSessId, &impersonationToken);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    bRet = DuplicateTokenEx(impersonationToken, MAXIMUM_ALLOWED, NULL, SecurityIdentification, TokenPrimary, &userToken);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    STARTUPINFO si = { 0 };
    si.cb = sizeof(STARTUPINFO);
    si.lpDesktop = _T("winsta0\\default");

    bRet = CreateEnvironmentBlock(&pEnvironment, userToken, TRUE);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;

    bRet = CreateProcessAsUser(userToken, _T("C:\\Windows\\notepad.exe"), NULL, NULL, NULL, FALSE, CREATE_UNICODE_ENVIRONMENT, pEnvironment, NULL, &si, &processInformation);
    if (!bRet) {
        hr = GetLastError();
        return hr;
__finally {
    if (processInformation.hThread) {
    if (processInformation.hProcess) {
    if (pEnvironment) {
        bRet = DestroyEnvironmentBlock(pEnvironment);
    if (userToken) {
    if (impersonationToken) {
    if (processToken) {
        bRet = AdjustTokenPrivileges(processToken, FALSE, &oldTokenPrivileges, sizeof(TOKEN_PRIVILEGES), NULL, NULL);

19 коммент.:

Krystian комментирует...

I've two questions:
1. Why do you need enable privilege SeTcbPrivilege for process that is running under LocalSystem. As far I know it's enabled by default (at least under XP).
2. WTSQueryUserToken return primary token, so why do you "duplicate" it? You can use it direct in CreateProcessAsUser

Note: This code won't work under Windows 2000 as WTSQueryUserToken it's not supported on that platform.

Chabster комментирует...

1. Yes, it's enabled (see the comment in code). But just for sure.
2. I don't remember the exact reason, but WTSQueryUserToken returns a token that is not suitable for CreateProcessAsUser.

This code will work under Windows 2000, but you need to obtain logged user token in different way - enumerate processes and find winlogon, query it's token and use it as it was returned from WTSQueryUserToken.

ninja комментирует...

WTSGetActiveConsoleSessionId is not defined in Windows 2000.

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