SeImpersonateClientEx function (ntifs.h)

The SeImpersonateClientEx routine causes a thread to impersonate a user.


NTSTATUS SeImpersonateClientEx(
  [in]           PSECURITY_CLIENT_CONTEXT ClientContext,
  [in, optional] PETHREAD                 ServerThread


[in] ClientContext

Pointer to the user's security client context.

[in, optional] ServerThread

Pointer to the thread that is to impersonate the user. If not specified, the calling thread is used.

Return value

SeImpersonateClientEx returns an appropriate NTSTATUS value, such as the following:

Return code Description
The impersonation attempt succeeded.
The thread specified in ServerThread parameter did not have sufficient access rights to impersonate the user whose security client context is specified in the ClientContext parameter.
SeImpersonateClientEx encountered a pool allocation failure when allocating memory for the impersonation information structure.


SeImpersonateClientEx is used to cause a thread to impersonate a user. The client security context in ClientContext is assumed to be up to date.

It is extremely unsafe to raise the privilege state of an untrusted user thread (take a user's thread and impersonate LocalSystem, for example). If an untrusted user thread had its privilege raised, the user could grab the thread token after it has been elevated and subvert the security of the entire system.

In cases where a higher privilege state is required, the task should be dispatched to a work queue where the task can be safely handled by system worker thread. This way no impersonation is necessary.

To end the impersonation of the user, call the SeStopImpersonatingClient routine.

The PsImpersonateClient routine can be used to cause a server thread to impersonate a client.

For more information about security and access control, see Windows security model for driver developers and the documentation on these topics in the Windows SDK.


Minimum supported client Windows 2000
Target Platform Universal
Header ntifs.h (include Ntifs.h)
Library NtosKrnl.lib
DLL NtosKrnl.exe

See also