Activate Build-in Administrator account in Windows – I

[German]The most stupid thing for a Windows user happens, if he blocked himself from accessing the administrative account. Then all administrative tasks are blocked. Instead of “reinstalling Windows”, there are ways to activate the build-in account “Administrator” and repair the system.


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This ‘how to’ shall work in Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (and its corresponding Server versions).

Note: This is not a guide to hack third party computer systems, because this is illegal. I won’t introduce password cracker therefor. The how to is just a “last resort to avoid a Windows re-install, in case admin rights are lost”.

Loosing the administrator rights

I’ve seen many forum entries, where users suddenly lost their administrator rights. Some has changed something within a user account, others are facing this behavior during a “broken” software installation. Also some users are reporting this issue after an upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. And I found several posts, where users changed a user account to a guest account and ending in lost administrator rights.

Another case, I’ve seen many times within Microsoft Answers forums: Users tried to configure auto login using userpassword2 command. And I guess, broken user profiles may be a cause for lost administrator credentials. Some users are reporting, they are no longer able to login using their existing account.

In all cases it’s strange, a user can’t do anything requiring administrative privileges. But there is a build-in account named “Administrator” in Windows 7 up to Windows 10. This administrator account is disabled by default. But there are ways to enable the build-in “Administrator” account.

Enabling Administrator via a registry hack

Because Windows doesn’t grants administrator rights, we need to boot the machine using Windows PE (using a Windows install DVD/USB drive or a system repair disk).


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1. Boot your machine with Windows RE (use a setup DVD or a system repair disk) and open command prompt window (see).

2. Launch regedit.exe from command prompt windows, load the registry hive (see my instruction below) and alter the registry entry.

The registry editor may be launched using regedit <enter> within a Windows PE command prompt windows (see screenshot below).

3. Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the left registry editor’s pane (see screenshot shown above).

4. Select menu File (here menu Datei, because it’s a German Windows PE) and select Load hive.

5. Navigate within the dialog box Load hive to the Windows drive (D:, E:, F: …) and go to Windows\System32\config. Select the file SAM and hit the Open button.

6. Type a key name into the input box shown within the registry editor (name it “Admin” for instance).

Registry editor will load the hive into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Admin (if you named the key Admin).

Registry editor

7. Navigate to key SAM\Domains\Account\Users and select the key 000001F4.

8. Double click the entry F in the registry editor`s right pane and change the binary value shown at offset 0038 within the dialog box Edit Binary Value from 11 to 10.

Registry editor

9. Close the dialog box via OK button, exit registry editor, remove the boot medium and reboot your Windows machine.

Then your machine should load the installed Windows copy. In case of doubt, sevenforums.com has also a description for the steps given above.

Log into administrator account and repair the broken account

If things went well, you should see a new account entry Administrator within the login screen (below is a Windows 7 login screen).

Login screen

Login to the new account Administrator – the account Administrator doesn’t has a password by default.

  • Go to control panel (or settings app in Windows 10) and try to reset the password of the broken admin account.
  • If you have uses a Microsoft account, try to use settings to change the account to a local account.
  • If the profile is damaged, create a 2nd administrator account, log of, and log into the 2nd admin account. Test whether user account control is working now.
  • To reset a user profile, backup all user files, delete the user’s account – let Windows delete all user account files – and create a new local account, using the same name and the same group (default users or administrator). Restore your user files from backup.

After repair, test your default accounts and your administrator account. If everything works well, log into the repaired administrator account. Open an administrative command prompt (Run as administrator) and enter the following command.

net user administrator /active:no

This command disables the build-in account Administrator. Close the command prompt windows, reboot your machine and test, whether the problem has gone.

In part 2 I describe another trick how to enable build-in administrator account in Windows 7 up to Windows 10 (and in corresponding server versions).

Articles:
Activate Build-in Administrator account in Windows – I
Activate Build-in Administrator account in Windows – II

Similar articles:
Win10 Wiki
Windows 10: Open command prompt window as administrator
Check and repair Windows system files and component store


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