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WindowsIdentity::Impersonate Method

Impersonates the user represented by the WindowsIdentity object.

Namespace:  System.Security.Principal
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

virtual WindowsImpersonationContext^ Impersonate()

Return Value

Type: System.Security.Principal::WindowsImpersonationContext
An object that represents the Windows user prior to impersonation; this can be used to revert to the original user's context.


An anonymous identity attempted to perform an impersonation.


A Win32 error occurred.

On Windows NT platforms, the current user must have sufficient rights to allow impersonation.

Notes to Implementers

Because Microsoft Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) platforms do not have user tokens, impersonation cannot take place on those platforms.

Notes to Callers

After using Impersonate, it is important to call the Undo method to end the impersonation.

The following example demonstrates how to obtain a Windows account token by calling the unmanaged Win32 LogonUser function, and how to use that token to impersonate another user and then revert to the original identity.

// This sample demonstrates the use of the WindowsIdentity class to impersonate a user. 
// This sample requests the user to enter a password on the console screen. 
// Because the console window does not support methods allowing the password to be masked, 
// it will be visible to anyone viewing the screen. 
// On Windows Vista and later this sample must be run as an administrator. 

#using <System.dll>

using namespace System;
using namespace System::Runtime::InteropServices;
using namespace System::Security::Principal;
using namespace System::Security::Permissions;

bool LogonUser( String^ lpszUsername, String^ lpszDomain, String^ lpszPassword, int dwLogonType, int dwLogonProvider, IntPtr * phToken );

bool CloseHandle( IntPtr handle );

// Test harness. 
// If you incorporate this code into a DLL, be sure to demand FullTrust.

int main()
   IntPtr tokenHandle = IntPtr(0);

      String^ userName;
      String^ domainName;

      // Get the user token for the specified user, domain, and password using the  
      // unmanaged LogonUser method.   
      // The local machine name can be used for the domain name to impersonate a user on this machine.
      Console::Write( "Enter the name of the domain on which to log on: " );
      domainName = Console::ReadLine();
      Console::Write( "Enter the login of a user on {0} that you wish to impersonate: ", domainName );
      userName = Console::ReadLine();
      Console::Write( "Enter the password for {0}: ", userName );
      const int LOGON32_PROVIDER_DEFAULT = 0;

      //This parameter causes LogonUser to create a primary token. 
      const int LOGON32_LOGON_INTERACTIVE = 2;
      const int SecurityImpersonation = 2;
      tokenHandle = IntPtr::Zero;

      // Call LogonUser to obtain a handle to an access token. 
      bool returnValue = LogonUser( userName, domainName, Console::ReadLine(), LOGON32_LOGON_INTERACTIVE, LOGON32_PROVIDER_DEFAULT,  &tokenHandle );
      Console::WriteLine( "LogonUser called." );
      if ( false == returnValue )
         int ret = Marshal::GetLastWin32Error();
         Console::WriteLine( "LogonUser failed with error code : {0}", ret );
         throw gcnew System::ComponentModel::Win32Exception( ret );
      Console::WriteLine( "Did LogonUser Succeed? {0}", (returnValue ? (String^)"Yes" : "No") );
      Console::WriteLine( "Value of Windows NT token: {0}", tokenHandle );

      // Check the identity.
      Console::WriteLine( "Before impersonation: {0}", WindowsIdentity::GetCurrent()->Name );

      // The token that is passed to the following constructor must  
      // be a primary token in order to use it for impersonation.
      WindowsIdentity^ newId = gcnew WindowsIdentity( tokenHandle );
      WindowsImpersonationContext^ impersonatedUser = newId->Impersonate();

      // Check the identity.
      Console::WriteLine( "After impersonation: {0}", WindowsIdentity::GetCurrent()->Name );

      // Stop impersonating the user.

      // Check the identity.
      Console::WriteLine( "After Undo: {0}", WindowsIdentity::GetCurrent()->Name );

      // Free the tokens. 
      if ( tokenHandle != IntPtr::Zero )
            CloseHandle( tokenHandle );
   catch ( Exception^ ex ) 
      Console::WriteLine( "Exception occurred. {0}", ex->Message );


.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5.3, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

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