Microsoft embraces its inner penguin as sudo sneaks into Windows 11

Linux users have enjoyed such functionality for decades

Microsoft has accidentally announced the arrival of sudo in Windows, bringing to an end fervent industry chatter about the tool emerging in the company's flagship operating system.

According to the now-deleted post, the component is due to arrive in the Canary Channel of the Windows 11 Insider program. The build number mentioned was 26052 – at the time of writing, the current public build is 26040.

Sudo (superuser do) has long been a powerful administrative tool for Unix-like operating systems. At its core, it allows one user to run programs with the security privileges of another, usually an administrator.

Windows has long had the option to Run As Administrator, yet sudo permits a little more finesse compared to firing up an elevated console session. Instead, a user can choose to elevate an individual command.

The project, which Microsoft intends to make available as open source on GitHub, can be enabled through either the Windows settings page or the command line.

Three options are available: running commands in a new, elevated console window, which works in a similar way to the existing RunAs command and, according to Microsoft, will be the default behavior. The next option is Input Closed, where the elevated process will run in the current window but won't accept any user input. The final option, which will be most familiar to users of other operating systems, is Inline, where the elevated process will be able to take input from the current window.

A UAC dialog will also pop up, asking for confirmation of the elevation.

Hints that sudo was on the way turned up at the end of last month, but last night's post was the first official confirmation from Microsoft that the tool was headed into Windows 11.

Microsoft pulled the blog post shortly after publication - maybe it broke its own embargo? We can speculate about the reasons for doing so but have asked Microsoft to confirm.

Nevertheless, the sudo update will be welcomed by users familiar with its presence in Linux and macOS, even though administrators have had alternatives over the years. Microsoft called out one, gsudo, which has a number of extra features and configurations over and above this upcoming implementation.

Microsoft uses its Insider program to try out features that may never make it into production code. However, if implemented well, finally introducing sudo-like functionality in Windows will quickly win over administrators. ®

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