Unhiding the "real" Administrator account

Discussion in 'General Technical' started by WAW8, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. WAW8

    WAW8

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    We get lots of posts stating that "I AM the Adminstrator! Why can I not do xxxx? Or Why do I keep getting security popups?"



    The answer is simple -- you're most probably NOT the Administrator! Starting with Vista, MS decided to change the default account security policies such that after you create the initial account and then login, you are NOT logging in as the Administrator; instead, you are logging in as a general user that is a member of the Administrators group. Sounds like it's the same as being the Admin but it's not.



    When you login as a general user, you will get UAC (User Account Control) popups. You can disable UAC, but that doesn't change the fact that you're still NOT the Administrator.



    Logging in as the Administrator on a routine basis is not recommended. In XP, that opened the door to lots of malware. MS has closed this door somewhat in Vista with improved security policies, but leaving it open again by being the Administrator all the time defeats the very purpose of UAC. Thus, it's best to login as the Administrator only when really needed.



    How to tell if you ARE the real Administrator:



    To see if you ARE the real Administrator, click the Start button, enter "cmd", and press the Enter key. You will get a command window with "Administrator C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe" in the title area, and in the body of the window, the directory will be C:\Users\Administrator.



    If you are NOT the real Administrator, using the same sequence will yield a command window without "Administrator" in the title, and, in the body of the window, the directory will be C:\Users\{username}





    So, if you really need to be the Administrator, you can use either of the following sets of steps to unhide the real Admin account:



    To unhide the read Admin account, you can use one of several approaches:

    (Note: for either of these to work, you account must be a member of the Administrators group)



    A - Using the command window:




    NOTE: If you are not comfortable using the command window and just want to quickly enable the Administrator Account, DOWNLOAD THE FILE ATTACHED to this post. Make sure to unzip it, then right click the file "Run as Administrator", a screen will flash and the admin account should now be a choice come next login.



    1. Click on the Vista Start button, and type "cmd" in the Start Search box.

    2. Right click on the Cmd returned on the search results pane above, then select Run as Administrator. (or, press Ctl-Shift-enter)

    3. In the Command Prompt window, type the following text at the command line to set a password for administrator account. If you want to use a blank password for the Administrator account, skip this step.



    net user administrator password



    Replace "password" with the actual password string that you have chosen. Press Enter when done.Note that if your computer is a member of domain controller or has enabled complex password requirement in Local Security Policy, you will have to pick a really hard to remember password mixed with symbols.

    4. Type the following command and press Enter to activate and enable the Administrator account:



    net user administrator /active:yes



    5. The process should completed with the following message:



    The command completed successfully



    If no success message is returned, repeat the process again.

    6. Log off your computer.



    B. Using Local Security Policy applet:



    1. Click on the Vista Start button, then go to Control Panel.

    2. Inside Control Panel, click on the System and Maintenance link, follow by Administrator Tools at the bottom.

    3. An Administrator Tools window appears. From there, click on the Local Security Policy applet. Alternatively, type secpol.msc in Start Search box and press Enter.

    4. Click Continue on User Account Control’s (UAC) Windows (needs your permission to continue) running Microsoft Management Console (MMC
     
    WAW8, Jan 23, 2008
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  2. WAW8

    Jason

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    You can also type "secpol.msc" in the search box. Then navigate to: Local Polciy > Security Options > Administrator Account Status is the first one at the top, change it to enabled.



    UPDATE: This only works in Vista Ultimate.
     
    Jason, Jan 23, 2008
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  3. WAW8

    redbird985

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    I did the above step, the one with the cmd prompt and I DO get the line " The command completed successfully". However, when I log back on, there is no Administrator icon. Just the same two that were already there???!!!

    I've tried this 4 times, and get the successful line, but no Administrator Icon when I log back on.



    And I tried to install it via the other method, but again, just as when I tried before and I didn't have "Local Users and Groups"...I do not have "Local Security Policy Applet" in the Administrator Tools. And I did an in depth search for "secpol.msc" and it is not showing up anywhere!



    WHY don't I have these things! Am I getting punked??!!...lol.



    I have Vista 32 Home Premium. I own this computer, it's in my home..no other computers. This all started when I kept getting Error Code# 80073712 while trying to update Windows, and then problems just moved on to my printer. (My printer started printing poorly, got some reinstall disks, but you have to be the administrator to reinstall from the disks).



    I am just so frustrated, I want to completely WIPE OUT my computer and reinstall Vista/Windows!! And start all over from scratch. (That's gonna be my next question!)



    However, I am extremely humbled and grateful to everyone trying to help myself and others. Everyone has been so quick to try and help. So....

    Thank You, Thank You!
     
    redbird985, Jan 26, 2008
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  4. WAW8

    redbird985

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    SUCCESS !!!



    In looking for some other problems, I clicked on the Vista Forums tutorial by "Brink": Administrator Account

    For the heck of it, I tried his same instructions about using the 'cmd' instructions to enable the Administrator Icon and have it show up along with the other accounts. The only difference was this line:



    net user administrator /active:yes and press Enter



    If you notice, there is an "/" and the word "active" instead of activate. This must have made the difference for me, because I got the icon up and going.



    Now, if I can only find out about this missing "G" disk with the Administrator Password, all will be heaven!



    :D
     
    redbird985, Jan 26, 2008
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  5. WAW8

    bomber628

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    I've tried all of the methods described, and when I try the command prompt method, I get "access denied system error 5". ??? Also, windows cannot find a secpol.msc, and no such beast is listed in the control panel. I'm running Vista Home Premium. Open to any other ideas...
     
    bomber628, Jan 27, 2008
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  6. WAW8

    Jason

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    Did you type "secpol.msc" in the search box in the start menu? I just tried it again and it works fine for me???



    UPDATE: Apparently secpol.msc only works in Ultimate. Sorry guys.
     
    Jason, Jan 27, 2008
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  7. WAW8

    redbird985

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    Again, happily I had success with the command prompt method using the instructions using the word "active", etc. (Except for my problem now in not having this password reset disk it asks for!). HOWEVER, I also still cannot find "secpol.msc" just like Bomber. Running Vista 32 Home Premium, and I did an exhaustive search for it. Nothing in the search box, under Start menu..nothing in the advanced Search method, etc. I didn't even get an error...it's just not there. And I wonder why? Just curious.
     
    redbird985, Jan 28, 2008
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  8. WAW8

    WAW8

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    Redbird895:



    The security policy widget is not included in the "Home" versions of Vista. I've located some alternative code for those versions but I'm waiting on a response from some folks testing it -- as I don't have a "Home" version to test with, and I don't want to post code until I know for sure that it works.
     
    WAW8, Jan 29, 2008
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  9. WAW8

    redbird985

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    I can understand that.

    Thank You Goddess!:D
     
    redbird985, Jan 30, 2008
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  10. WAW8

    Opteronguy

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    This might be off topic since I'm still new to Vista however it's something I've seen on every Vista machine I've dealt with...



    What about going to My Computer > Right Click > Manage > Local Users & Groups > Users > then enabling the Administrator account?
     
    Opteronguy, Jan 31, 2008
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  11. WAW8

    WAW8

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    You're right, that is a shorter approach. I'll add it to the "pinned" post.



    thanks
     
    WAW8, Feb 1, 2008
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  12. WAW8

    Opteronguy

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    Also, there aren't two "Administrator" accounts since it's impossible to do, as long as they are spelled the same anyway.



    If you are in the "Administrators" group, then you are an Administrator of the computer. However you still have to go through the process of granting access to yourself to do certain levels of things, this is where the UAC comes in.



    The functionality you see in Vista with UAC has been around since Win 2000, it's just that they more forcefully pushed it in with Vista. The kicker is that most developers didn't use the correct model when they write their programs, so the older way of doing things didn't work most of the time. The old way was to use the Run As feature.



    Now MS is more or less forcing developers to use the new UAC. When developers really start to write for UAC you should find that you will not have to grant applications permission to do things as much since the coders will be leveraging the new UAC model more and letting more things happen while a user is in "Standard User Mode."



    For a great look at UAC and all it's innards go here
     
    Opteronguy, Feb 1, 2008
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  13. WAW8

    redbird985

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    I tried that, a lot. Searched like a maniac for the "users and groups", but it is not on my machine. And if I am remembering correctly, there was another post somewhere about their lacking the "local users and groups" also. My Vista 32 version must be lacking this just as it is also lacking the 'secpol.msc'. The Vista Administrators reply to me concerning the 'secpol.msc' was:



    "UPDATE: Apparently secpol.msc only works in Ultimate. The security policy widget is not included in the "Home" versions of Vista."



    So, it doesn't surprise me that I'm lacking the section for 'users and groups'. What a waste of money this Vista has turned out to be! Nothing but problems. But then it came already loaded in my new Dell, and I didn't have much of a choice except to upgrade the Vista, but we were way over budget so I kept the '32' version. Dell offered only Vista to me, no other choice from them. Not being knowledgeable in computers, I just took what I was handed.



    But thankfully, the Administrators here are super helpful, and helped resolve my main problem. Though the problems will keep rolling on, I'm sure.
     
    redbird985, Feb 2, 2008
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  14. WAW8

    Opteronguy

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    Yes, if it's not Business or Ultimate, you won't have the local users and groups mmc. From what I understand you can also change the settings for Home ( Basic and Premium ) in the Control Panel under the Users applet.

    I don't have Vista yet, and when I do buy it I am going for 64bit Ultimate, which undoubtedly will still lead to confusion on fixing some problems.
     
    Opteronguy, Feb 4, 2008
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  15. WAW8

    MrMagic

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    After experimentation with both Home Basic and Home Premium, only two steps are necessary to unhide the administrator account, no registry changes are required.

    Step 1: Open a command window by going to all programs -> accessories and choosing the dos box, right click and RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR

    Step 2: type the following: net user Administrator /active:yes and hit enter

    Step 3: type the following: net user Administrator Password (where Password is whatever you want the admin password to be) and hit enter

    Type exit to close the dos box, reboot and your computer should present you with the option to login to your own account or the administrator account. That administrator password will be the one you set in the net user command above.

    Steve
     
    MrMagic, Feb 11, 2008
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  16. WAW8

    cpemma

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    Not present in my Home Premium. :(
     
    cpemma, Feb 18, 2008
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  17. WAW8

    WAW8

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    First, please read the posts before posting a problem. In this thread are instructions for what to do when you have the Home versions.



    Second, please do not tack on problems to the pinned posts. If you have a problem, post a new thread.
     
    WAW8, Feb 20, 2008
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  18. WAW8

    woodneye

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    Hello! I tried part A, to no avail. Part B - from Admin Tools I did not see the Local Security Policy applet; maybe I misread, but I did not see a search box to type secpol.msc. Part C - did not see Local Users and Groups folder in Computer Management console.

    I've tried to move, delete and rename a folder and still receive "you need permission to perform this action". I am not a PC wiz by any stretch. Do I need simpler instructions? Your help will be greatly appreciated; my documents are in a mess.

    Dell Inspiron E1705, 2Gb mem., Vista.
     
    woodneye, Feb 24, 2008
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  19. WAW8

    WAW8

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    Are you running a Home version? IF so, did you try the suggestions that MrMagic posted?
     
    WAW8, Feb 25, 2008
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  20. WAW8

    kouperj

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    Huzzah! it worked, where most of the others wouldnt do to Vista home premium not having the folders. :)
     
    kouperj, Jun 5, 2008
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