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Windows administrator accounts aren't intended for continual use and can be hard to find. We'll look at logging in as administrator, and alternatives.

I created two accounts on my computer, One Administrator and one limited. My computer does not go to the login screen so I don't get the option to log onto my Administrator account. It automatically goes to the limited account. What can I do to fix this?

As you've surmised, for many reasons "administrator" is special. It's actually considered dangerous to be logged in as administrator all the time since any malware you might encounter would have administrative privileges. As a result, Microsoft has slowly made Administrator just a little harder to access with each version of Windows.

And yet, sometimes you just need to be Administrator.

I'll look at both XP and Vista, and also recommend what you might want to consider instead of logging in as Administrator.

Windows XP Pro

If your machine automatically logs you in as your limited or other non-administrator account, start by logging out. (Start menu, Log Off ... item.) You'll then likely be presented with the login screen, but with only the one non-administrator account, or a list of all accounts except administrator.

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL. Twice.

What you should see is the "old" Windows login dialog box that will allow you to then specify "Administrator" as the login account, and the administrator password.

"Typically the point of logging in as administrator in safe mode is to do so only temporarily."

Windows XP, all variants

Reboot your computer, and as it's booting - towards the end of the BIOS information and before the Windows logo appears, press F8. This will give you the Windows boot options.

Select "Safe mode with networking" and let Windows continue booting.

In Safe Mode, you should be able to login to your administrator account normally. Naturally, you are in safe mode, so other restrictions may be in place. Typically the point of logging in as administrator in safe mode is to do so only temporarily. While logged in as administrator, you can change a problematic system configuration, or perhaps give another login account elevated, or even administrative privileges.

Windows XP: Recommendations

I typically give my Administrator account a strong password, and then never login to it again. Ever. Instead, I give my "normal" login account, the one I use every day, administrative privileges. Yes, that means that I'm running as the equivalent of administrator all the time, and take on all the security risks associated with doing so.

If you can, I do suggest creating and running in a "Limited User Account" - essentially an account that does not have administrative privileges. Whether or not this works for you is highly dependant on exactly what you do on your computer everday. Unfortunately, some software simply assumes or requires that it has administrative access to your machine to work properly.

Windows Vista

The ability to login to the administrator account is disabled by default, you simply need to enable it.

Right click on My Computer, and click on Manage. Expand the Local Users and Groups item, and click on Users. Now right click on Administrator, and in the resulting dialog, uncheck Account is disabled. Click OK, Log out, and Administrator should appear on your login screen.

Important: if you plan to leave the administrator account enabled, log into it and set a strong password.

Windows Vista: Recommendation

What I see people wanting to do is login to the real administrative account because they're tired of being prompted for confirmation, or the administrator password, every time something needs administrative access. If you really need to go that far, logging into the real administrator account is probably the wrong solution: giving you login account administrative privileges, and then turning off UAC is. That gets you back to the same level of security that you had back in Windows XP without having to login directly as administrator.

And I recommend leaving the Administrator account disabled.

Windows All Versions: Recommendation

Chances are you probably don't need to login to your administrator account, at least not on a regular basis. As I mentioned above, the most common need is to reset another account's password, or to deal with a hardware or configuration issue, both of which can be done in safe mode.

If you're facing an issue that requires being logged in as administrator "normally", consider whether you might be better served by creating a different account with administrator privileges, or in Windows Vista, if simply turning off UAC wouldn't resolve your issue.

Article C3623 - January 17, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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22 Comments
kolb.beer
January 20, 2009 8:52 AM

start/run type in REGEDIT navigate to ...hkey_local_machine\software\Microsoft\windows NT\control versions\winlogon\special accounts\userlist...create reg Dword " ADMINISTRATOR " with the value of 1 ....shutdown restart this will now give you an administrator account to login on .once you login as administartor to remove this
@ PCs startup ...start/type in user controlpasswords2 & deselect option when you turn back on you load straight in to o/s without logging in & password as the administrator...
if you don't need to password protect your PC...

kolb.beer
January 20, 2009 8:52 AM

if you feel competent enough to run as
administrator For Windows Vista Ultimate/Business/Enterprise: 1- Click Start, and type "secpol.msc" in the search area and click Enter. (You may receive a prompt from UAC, approve/login and proceed) 2- In the left list, choose "Local Policies", then "Security Options" 3- Set "Accounts: Administrator account status" to Enabled. 4- Set "User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account" to Disabled.

For Windows Vista Home Basic/Home Premium: 1- Click Start, and type "cmd" in the search area, right click on "Command Prompt" and select 'Run as Administrator". 2- In the command prompt type "net users Administrator /active:yes" (Note the capital "A" in Administrator) and press Enter, you will get a confirmation as "The command completed successfully". 3- Click Start, and type "regedit" in the search area and click Enter, navigate to: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] Double click on "FilterAdministratorToken" and set it to " 0 "

once you login as administartor to remove this
@ PCs startup ...start/type in user controlpasswords2 & deselect option when you turn back on you load straight in to o/s without logging in & password as the administrator...
if you don't need to password protect your PC...

Doug
January 20, 2009 10:33 AM

Hi Leo... I do not have a "Local Users and Groups" item in the "Manage" item when I right-click "My Computer" Maybe because I am the only user of this computer? I have "UAC" already turned off...

jacob
January 20, 2009 10:59 AM

Hi Leo... I do not have a "Local Users and Groups" item in the "Manage" item when I right-click "My Computer" Maybe because I am the only user of this computer?


Posted by: Doug at January 20, 2009 10:33 AM

Kyle McHattie
January 20, 2009 2:03 PM

You must have vista home basic. Dont think it works with that version.

vijay
January 20, 2009 8:44 PM

how can i find the ip address of wireless adapter?
which is distributed signal on all the notebooks?

Alex
January 20, 2009 9:30 PM

"This computer is running Windows Vista(TM)Home Premium. This snapin may not be used with this version of Windows. To manage user accounts for this computer, use the User Accounts tool in the Control Panel".

One of my many grumbles with the tech savvy is that they always assume (with XP) that everybody is using XP Pro, and with Vista, that everyone is running Ultimate. Lotsa ordinary folks out here.

hector
February 27, 2009 10:53 AM

HI, The problem here is if the user has only 2 accts (3 with the super administrator) and disables the normal admin acct, and vista logs into the limited standard user without any way to select another user. The user is stuck since won't be able to edit registry or group/local policies. The question is: If vista logs rigth into the limited acct, How to login as administrator?

john brussee
September 15, 2009 3:07 PM

Dear Leo,How can I get rid of a administrator account?

The administrator account cannot be removed - it's required for Windows to function. Best you can do is give it a strong password. Other accounts which have been assigned administrative priviledges can be managed via Control Panel -> User Accounts.
Leo
16-Sep-2009

happykaka
September 21, 2009 3:51 AM

Reset /crack/hack/recovery windows password/admin password/ vista password with windows password unlocker

1. Log onto a computer that can link to the Internet. Download Windows Password Unlocker 4.0 from http://www.passwordunlocker.com/products/wpu.html and decompress it on that PC. Note that: there is a .ISO file. Burn the .ISO file to a CD.
2.Get out the newly created CD and insert it to the locked computer.
3.Re-boot the locked computer and then follow the process of instructions. Just after a few steps, the old password will be removed.
4.Set new password:
Step 1: Open the "Control Panel
Step 2: Click the "User Account
Step 3: Select the account you wanna set a new password.
Step 4: Click "Changing Account " and "Set Up Password", then fill out the form as listed. Click "Create Password".

That tool (which costs money) is not required. This article walks through using a free tool to reset the administrator password on any machine you have physical access to: I've lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?
Leo
21-Sep-2009
Linky Wu
September 21, 2009 3:55 AM

Long time ago , I was confronted with the password problem. Finally

, my friend Jane introduce the Windows password Reset.It helps me

access windows.

Michael Armstrong
October 26, 2009 2:47 AM

here is the methods I know.

The first thing which you check if you forget login password. When we install Windows, it automatically creates an account "Administrator" and sets its password to blank. So if you have forget Your user account password then try this:
Start system and when you See Windows Welcome screen / Login screen, press ctrl+alt+del keys Twice and it'll show Classic Login box. Now type "Administrator" (without quotes) in Username and leave Password field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.
Now you can reset your account password from "Control Panel -> User Accounts".
Same thing can be done using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode Windows will show this in-built Administrator account in Login screen.

Windows XP and further versions also provide another method to recover forgotten Password by using "Reset Disk". If you created a Password Reset Disk in Past, you can use that disk to reset the password. To know more about It, please visit http://www.resetwindowspassword.com/

planter
January 12, 2010 1:39 AM

how to recover windows password? I puzzled it also before. but i found Advanced Windows Password Recovery 3.0. It is a professional utility to recover windows password. With no data loss and no reinstall. importantly, 100% recovery rate guarantee!
http://www.recoverwindowspassword.com

Susan
March 21, 2010 11:29 PM

I know some windows password tools just like below
1. Windows Password Recovery Tool 3.0( http://www.windowspasswordsrecovery.com )
2. Windows Password Key 8.0( http://www.lostwindowspassword.com )
3. Windows Password Recovery 6.0( http://www.recoverlostpassword.com/products/windowspasswordrecoery.html )

Tina
August 21, 2010 12:45 AM

I accidently changed my user account to administrator. How do I get my regular user account back? Every time I try to do "change" it says I do not have priveleges to do so. please help!

It depends on what you mean and what you accidentally did. I can't picture the situation based on your description. Sorry.
Leo
21-Aug-2010

rcmz
August 22, 2010 5:59 PM

how to reset or blank your Windows Administrator or user account passwords? or how to recover your email password, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, IE AutoComplete password?how to find product key for any Windows and Microsoft Office software products?I puzzled them also before. but i found Password Kit. It is a professional utility to these problems above. With no data loss and no reinstall. importantly, 100% recovery rate guarantee!
http://password-genius.com/

zhuliya
September 19, 2010 11:24 PM

Many of us are usually confronted with this problem-forget our Windows password and have no idea what to do.Now,letís get acquainted with this issue.

You can create a password reset disk which enables you to reset your password without much hassle. The problem with this option is that you have to create the reset disk before the password is lost. You can find a description of how to create a password reset disk here.

Source:
http://resetwindows7password.blog.com/

Odessa Onyegbula
November 20, 2010 10:47 AM

I have a powerpoint presentation stored on my computer under the administrator icon and i cant pull up the account. when i go to log on to the administrator acct by switching users, another administrative acct opens which is empty

Hnding
March 21, 2011 11:39 PM

Windows Password Key

Saved me today. After many hours of installing and tweaking a brand new PC, something went wrong. I was not able to log into the only Administrator account I had, once the machine had been rebooted.

I burned Windows Password Key to usb, followed the onscreen prompts and in a few minutes was back in the machine.

What a lifesaver!

It will become a permanent part of my toolset for fixing Winndows password problems.

http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Password-Key/3000-2092_4-75031111.html

hitbtneen
March 29, 2011 8:37 PM

You can reset a lost or forgot Windows password with 4 methods below:
1. Another valid administrator account which can normally log on.
2. A password reset disk or a repair disc, which is created in advance ( before you lost password ).
3. Third-party software to create a bootable password reset CD/DVD or USB, like {link removed}
4. Re-install. Will lose data.

Dan
July 19, 2011 8:40 AM

The problem I've encountered with setting up a new account is that I was running my machine in the default Administrator only mode since day one, now that I set up a new administrator account, I lost access to all my browsers with their bookmarks, stored passwords and histories. Is there a way back to having only the one original Administrator account and not have to do the annoying log out-cntl-alt-delete-delete dance... or is there a way to transfer all my applications and data to the new account so as not to have to rebuild my way of doing things from scratch?

mary muchka
July 30, 2011 3:13 PM

How do I Get rid of my administer account and set up regular acct. of my own?

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