Give me my Windows admin privileges back

“I like to have my administrator privileges back”, that could be the excerpt of many discussions within Vista user groups. This blog entries sheds some lights into the fact, why Windows Vista doesn’t provide administrator credentials by default and what you can (but should not) do to get adminin rights back. Background: But Windows XP provides administrator privileges


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In Windows XP an account, that belongs to group “administrator” grants admin credentials – period. And if you boot Windows XP in safe mode, you can access the default account “Administrator”. This acoount doesn’t have a password and acts as a “last chance”, if the administrator has forgotten all user account passwords.

Windows Vista comes also with an alread build-in account named “Administrator”. Also this account doesn’t has a password. But Vista deactivates (for security reasons) the build-in “Administrator” account after first install. German Microsoft Evengelist Daniel Melanchthon discusses the details in his German article Windows Vista und der eingebaute Administrator-Account.

This built-in account Administrator isn’t required, to admin a Windows Vista system – and I’ve never used it on my own systems. The reason, why some Windows Vista users intend to re-activate the built-in Administrator account: This account comes with user account settings (UAC) switched off. Without UAC there is also no UAC confirmation for administrative tasks (like program installations).

How to activate the build-in Administrator account?

If you intend to activate the built-in Administrator account in Windows Vista, a short internet search leads to “a kind of solution”. But some users are failing, because the tippster doesn’t take care about Windows Vista SKUs (stock keeping units). Depending on the Windows Vista SKU, there are several ways to activate the built-in Administrator account.

Windows Vista Business, Ultimate und Enterprise

In Windows Vista Business, Ultimate and Enterprise you may use the computer management console.

  1. Launch computer management console with admin rights and navigate to Local users and groups.
  2. Select entry Users within the right pane and open entry Administrator.
  3. Choose Properties to open the Administrator Properties dialogue box and untick the option labeled Account is Disabled.
  4. Close the property windows using OK button.

The steps are discussed also here. The steps given above enables build-in account Administrator and this account should be shown on Windows Vista welcom screen.

Windows Vista Home Basic or Premium

In Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium, Microsoft has removed the computer management console. But there is a “backdoor” to re-enable the built-in administrator account. Microsoft has documented it here.

1. Open command prompt window with admin-rights (run as administrator).
2. Enter the command net user administrator /active and press the return key.


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After logoff, the Administrator account should be visible within welcome screen. The command given above my be used within all Windows Vista SKUs. To deactivate built-in Administator account, use the command:

net user administrator /active:no

After the build-in account Administrator is enabled, you can protect it with a password. Update: The way to activate/deactivate the build-in Administrator account in Windows 7 is discussed here.


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