3 Ways to Enable the Built-In Windows 7 Administrator Account

by Daniel Petri - April 6, 2010

In Windows 7, like Windows Vista, when you install the operating system, you are asked to enter a username, which will be the primary local user that will use this system.

Windows 7's Administrator account is disabled by default. Furthermore, this account is not associated with any password. In this article, we'll learn how to enable to the Windows 7 administrator account, along with assigning the account a new password.

The new user that's created during the installation is configured to be a member of the built-in Administrators group, which can be used for any management task. This type of use is equivalent with the original built-in Administrator account.

However, there may be situations where one would like to use the built-in Administrator account instead of that new user. One of these might be when you're building a system for cloning purposes, where you'd want all cloned machines to be able to use the built-in Administrator's account.

Warning: Because that account does not have a password, enabling it without properly setting a password for that account will open a serious security flaw on your system!

There are two easy methods to enable the built-in Administrator's account. There's also one advanced method to perform this task.

1. Using the Local Users and Groups Snap-in

To enable the built-in Administrator's account by using the Local Users and Groups snap-in follow these steps:

Open Local Users and Groups. You can do so by typing lusrmgr.msc in the Start search box or in the Run command and pressing ENTER. Or, you could open Computer Management by right-clicking Computer in the Start menu and selecting Manage.

Local Users and Groups in Windows 7

Local Users and Groups in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)

Expand System Tools > Local  Users and Groups > Users.

Right-click the Administrator account and select "Set Password."

Setting the administrator password in Windows 7

Setting the administrator password in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)

In the "Set Password for Administrator" dialog, click "Proceed".

Confirming password reset for administrator in Windows 7

Confirming password reset for administrator in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)

In the "Set Password for Administrator" dialog, type the Administrator's desired password twice, and click "OK."

Password reset confirmation in Windows 7

Password reset confirmation in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)

Next, enable the Administrator's account. Right-click the Administrator's account and select "Properties."

Selecting 'Properties' in the Administrator's Windows 7 account

Selecting 'Properties' in the Administrator's Windows 7 account (Image: Daniel Petri)

Un-check the "Account is disabled" check-box. Click on the "OK" button.

Unchecking Account is disabled checkbox in Windows 7

Unchecking Account is disabled checkbox in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)

Administrator's account is now enabled and configured with a password.

2. Command Prompt

To enable the built-in Administrator's account by using the Command Prompt  please follow these steps:

1. Click the Start button and type CMD into the search dialog, then press Enter. It is best to run the Command Prompt as an Administrator. To do so, right-click CMD and select "Run as Administrator."

Running Command Prompt as administrator in Windows 7

When prompted to allow the Command Processor to run, click on "Yes".

Windows 7 asking to run Command Prompt application

You can also hover over the CMD line and press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER to invoke the "Run as Administrator" shortcut.

In the Command Prompt window, type:

net user

Note that the Administrator account is there, but the new user account has not been created.

To set the Administrator's account password:

net user *

Then enter the required password and confirm it.

To enable the Administrator's account:

net user administrator /active:yes

Enabling the Administrator's account in Windows 7

3. Advanced Users: During the Installation Process

There is a third method that advanced users can leverage during the installation process itself. After being prompted to configure the new user account during the installation process, you will be able to set the new account's password.

Creating an Administrator account during Windows 7 installation

Creating an Administrator account during Windows 7 installation (Image: Daniel Petri)

Setting Administrator password during Windows 7 installation

Setting Administrator password during Windows 7 installation (Image: Daniel Petri)

At that phase, press SHIFT and F10 keys together. A Command Prompt window will appear.

Running Command Prompt during Windows 7 installation

Running Command Prompt during Windows 7 installation (Image: Daniel Petri)

In the Command Prompt window, type:

net user

Note how the Administrator account is there, yet the new user account has not been yet created.

To set the Administrator's account password:

net user *

Then enter the required password and confirm it.

To enable the Administrator's account:

net user administrator /active:yes

Successfully enabling the Administrator's account in Windows 7 command prompt

Successfully enabling the Administrator's account in Windows 7 command prompt (Image: Daniel Petri)

Close the Command Prompt window and continue with the installation process.

If you log off, then you'll see the Administrator's account as a valid logon option.

Administrator's log on option in Windows 7

Administrator's log on option in Windows 7 (Image: Daniel Petri)



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