Windows Logo

Many people familiar with prior versions of Windows are curious what happened to the built-in Administrator account that was always created by default. Does this account still exist, and how can you access it?

The account is created in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Vista, but since it’s not enabled you can’t use it. If you are troubleshooting something that needs to run as administrator, you can enable it with a simple command.

Warning: The built-in Administrator account has a lot more privileges than a regular administrator account—privileges that can easily get you into trouble if you use it regularly. We recommend only enabling the built-in Administrator account if you are certain you need it to troubleshoot a specific problem and then disabling it when you are done. If you’re unsure whether you need it, you probably shouldn’t use it at all.

Enable Built-in Administrator Account in Windows

First, you’ll need to open a command prompt in administrator mode by right-clicking and choosing “Run as administrator” (or use the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut from the search box).

Note that this works the same in all versions of Windows. Just search for cmd and then right-click on the command prompt icon in the Start menu or Start screen.

If you are in Windows 10, 11, or 8.1, you can right-click on the Start button and choose to open a command prompt that way.

Now type the following command:

net user administrator /active:yes

Command prompt with the activation command.

Advertisement

You should see a message that the command completed successfully. Log out, and you’ll now see the Administrator account as a choice. (The below screenshot is from Windows Vista, but this also works on Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows 7, and Windows 8.)

The administrator account available on the lock screen.

You’ll note that there’s no password for this account, so if you want to leave it enabled you should change the password.

Disable the Built-in Administrator Account

Make sure you are logged on as your regular user account, and then open an administrator mode command prompt as above. Type the following command:

net user administrator /active:no

Command prompt with the command to disable the administrator account.

The administrator account will now be disabled, and it will vanish from the login screen.

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »
Profile Photo for Nick Lewis Nick Lewis
Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
Read Full Bio »