Enable the (Hidden) Administrator Account on Windows 7, 8, or 10

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 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 8.x or 10 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

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

image

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 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

The administrator account will now be disabled, and shouldn’t show up on the login screen anymore.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/5/15
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