Entering credentials instead of logging in as admin

we have about 30 machines in our building, most of which run xp pro. we've implemented a handful of win7 enterprise machines as machines became needed.

one thing i've always wanted but not bad enough to research it was, like in OSX, the ability to enter credentials if admin rights are needed instead of having to log out of the user's account and log in again as an admin.

i realize there's a "run as admin" option, but that usually doesn't work as advertised, or works for windows rights but doesn't clear permissions in the registry and i have to reinstall as admin due to the software not working properly.

now here's the confusing part. i recently upgraded a machine to win7 enterprise, and that feature is there. i have two win7 enterprise machines in the same room, and one of them will prompt me for credentials to make changes, and the other just tells me that i must be logged in as an admin to make the change.

here's where it gets really weird:

i log in as the same user on both machines, then try to install the same exact software (maintype, not that it matters). i can't install it ("you must be logged in as an admin to install this program"), same error just opening the .exe and choosing "run as admin". the second machine (the newer install) asks me to enter my admin credentials, then installs and opens.

what am i missing?
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More about entering credentials logging admin
  1. Both in the same domain and/or forest? GPO settings may not allow install at all while logged in as that user; check group policy.
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