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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How To Activate Vista's Secret 'Super' Administrator Account

In XP and the earlier Windows versions, there was only one administrator account and most single users used it as their main account. But Windows Vista has another, what may be referred to as a secret 'super' administrator account. It is hidden & turned off by default, and is similar to the 'root' account in Unix.

The use of the Administrator account is being phased out in Vista, and there’s actually seldom a need to use it, instead of another administrator account. On installation of Vista, the Administrator account is disabled; but if you upgrade from Windows XP and Administrator is the only active local administrator account, then Administrator remains enabled. In this situation, it is placed in Approval Mode, for purposes of UAC(User Account Control). Since it is not subject to UAC prompts and runs with full administrative privileges, it’s rather risky, to run it on a regular basis. Any application could then have full control of the computer. So I suggest using it sparingly, only when you need to perform several administrative and don't want to be bothered by UAC prompts. Initially, this 'super' Administrator account does not have a password, a serious vulnerability for a full-fledged administrator account. Best to assign a strong password to this account at the earliest opportunity.

To turn on this 'super' administrator account, type cmd in the search box WAIT don't hit enter! cmd will appear at top. Rt click on it to 'run as administrator'.

To enable this account, type this command & hit Enter:
Net user administrator /active:yes
To disable this account, type this command & hit Enter:
Net user administrator /active:no
If you decide need a password for the administrator's account that you are going to activate or if you are unable to activate it with a blank password:
Net user administrator P@$$w0rd
Net user administrator activate:yes
Hit enter. You will get a message: The command completed successfully.
(Where P@$$w0rd has been taken as an example password)
Switch user and log on using this password.

ALTERNATIVELY, you may also type secpol.msc in the search box and hit enter. This will bring up the Local Security Policy.

In Left Hand Side, click on Local Policies > Security Options.
Now in Right Hand Side you will see the first entry as Accounts:Administrator Account - Disabled
Rt-click on it > Click Properties > Enable. Close.

And why would you want to operate this account?

1) You don't want to be 'annoyed' by UAC (User Account Control).
2) This 'super' administrator account has elevated privileges. This means that
you can run CMD with an un restricted access to the command line.
3) You have locked out your main account by accident and you want a back door entry.


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