Windows 8: Enable the hidden Administrator Account

Windows 8 just like its predecessor Windows 7 ships with an administrator account that is disabled by default. While it is not suggested to enable and use the administrators on a day to day basis, it can be used for a variety of purposes. One of the reasons is to use it as a fallback account in case you can't log in to a regular user account, or for tasks that require administrative privileges.

When you list the accounts in the user accounts control panel applet, you will notice that the hidden administrator account is not listed there while the guest account that is also disabled is. It is easier to enable the administrator account if you can still log in to Windows with another administrator account.

Enable the administrator account on Windows 8

You need to run the command from an elevated command prompt. To do that you need to do the following:

  • Press the Windows key to get into the Metro interface if you are not already there.
  • Enter cmd and right-click on the Command Prompt result that should appear.
  • This opens a list of options at the bottom. Select Run as administrator there.
  • Accept the UAC prompt

administrative command prompt

Enter the following command to enable the hidden administrator account: net user administrator /active:yes

net user administrator

If you ever want to disable the account follow the same instructions, but run the following command instead: net user administrator /active:no

Once you have enabled the account, you will see it listed in the user accounts control panel applet. Note that the account has not assigned a password to it, and that you should consider setting one to improve account security.

Enable the account if you can't log in anymore

If you have forgotten your account password and can't log in to the system anymore, you may use the administrator account to get back into the system. Please note that it may be easier to request the password to be reset if you are using a Microsoft Account password to log in. You can for instance request that from a different system or your smartphone.

If you can't sign in anymore you can still recover the system from that by enabling the hidden administrator account. The process itself requires you to download the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor which is available as an ISO image that you can burn to CD or DVD, and a file that you can install on an USB Flash Drive. You then need to boot from the selected device to see a DOS-like interface where you need to run a series of command in to restore the user account. Here are the steps that you need to complete:

  • First screen, press enter to continue
  • Select the hard drive that your Windows installation is installed on. This may take some time to get right depending on the number of partitions on the PC as it is using the "Linux-way" of listing the hard drives.
  • You then need to enter the path to the Registry. I'd recommend to tap on enter to try the default path first which usually is detected correctly by the program.
  • Press q
  • Select the Password Reset option (1)
  • Enter Administrator as the user account that you want to modify.
  • Select the unlock and enable user account option (4)
  • Use ! and q to end the editing and save the values

Restart the PC and make sure you are booting from the operating system's drive again. You should now see the administrator account listed on the sign in page. Select it to regain access to the system. From there, you can change other account passwords or run administrative tasks to restore access to the PC. (thanks Caschy)


Instead of enabling the hidden administrator account, you could as easily create a new user account with administrative privileges on the system. You could then use that account to log in if there is an emergency and you can't sign in with your regular account anymore.

You also need to know that changing the password of a user account may have an impact on the files accessible to that account. This is especially true if encryption was used. If that is the case, the files may not be accessible anymore after the account password has been changed.

Closing Words

I'd generally recommend to create a second "regular" administrator account for the purpose of recovery than enabling the hidden administrator account. The core reason for this is that the hidden account has additional privileges that other administrator accounts do not have.

Article Name
Windows 8: Enable the hidden Administrator Account
Windows 8 ships with a hidden administrator account. This guide explains how you can enable that account on a PC running the operating system.
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Responses to Windows 8: Enable the hidden Administrator Account

  1. Juliya November 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    I ran the administrator command prompt but i came up with "The syntax of this command is: NET USER [username {password : *} /ADD [options] [/DOMAIN]" ect. and a couple more lines very similar. What does this mean?

    • Daniel Z. April 3, 2013 at 1:00 am #

      Go down to the bottom left of your desktop, and right click it.
      Then, go to Command Prompt (Admin)
      Finally Type
      net user administrator /active:yes
      Please subscribe to me on Youtube, my name is 1999DJZ...
      Your Welcome!!!

      • saad November 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

        I follow the above instructions to enable administrator by typing net user administrator /active:yes and then they ask for permission and ask for admin password but they don't give any space to type password.please tell me its solution.

      • Anonymous January 29, 2014 at 4:25 am #

        it says i need the password

      • SAKET September 16, 2015 at 8:15 am #

        after writing net user administrator /active:yes
        my computer responds following
        System error 5 has occurred
        Access is denied

    • ME October 17, 2013 at 11:36 am #


      • Anonymous November 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm #


      • EZE February 6, 2016 at 9:15 am #

        Same here, it's asking me for admin password but they don't show the space to type password or make "yes" option available for me to click. Pls help

  2. Mark November 19, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    this is what I need to do but I don't get that green screen with the list of options but the black window. when I put in net user administrator /active:yes it says I'm "denied". What can I do? Get a Mac?

    • jesper November 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      same here!!! hmm

      • Annoymous December 15, 2012 at 7:03 am #


        Once the 'cmd' is found in the Start screen, right click on it, do not use the usual left click, otherwise you won't get the 'green options list' ....

        Hope this helps ...

    • larri kesler August 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Purchasing a computer loaded with windows 8 was bye far the worst purchase and mistake I have ever made! The desk top is totally unsable for the everyday person.I have since wiped the hard drive and loaded Linux Mint onto it and I wonder now why more people have not heard of this wonderful operating system called .Linux mint reminds me a lot of windows 7,s desktop.I wil never ever return to windows again.Oh even more than that it is free.I was a windows use since the days of 3.1 but with the introduction of the worlds most terrible desktop which is windows 8 it showed me how far down windows has fallen.Get a mac or load linux

      • SkylarMT September 26, 2013 at 3:09 am #

        I don't like the Windows 8 either, but my laptop can't boot the Ubuntu install disk. I installed the Classic Shell program though, it added a Windows 7-style Start Menu and bypassed the Start Screen on login.

      • Anonymous March 5, 2014 at 1:49 am #

        The desktop exists as it did in Windows 7, you just have to click the tile for it, which will be one of the first one's. Once you get over the initial difference it actually works the same as it did, and you can set your programs to run in desktop mode

      • Anonymous February 2, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

        try running Music Production Software in linux. like full full any DAW or serious mixing and mastering software an you have one long head ache at best. I mean if you just run web apps and t standard funtions for the tinglinx is peachy and eve then there is the option t install VM program so you can justos envorment you needed so i man i worsbut u splitt system resources if uned to have windows r OS for logic r some shit
        run a window with the

    • Jai Krishna October 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm #


      Open the CMD as an administrator that is ....."run as a administrator"

      this can do the trick !!

      • Anonymous November 22, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

        pon esto en el CMD ami me sirve NET USER administrador. enter

      • Peter Williamson April 25, 2014 at 1:10 am #

        Sure, simple!! But of course it doesn't work!!!! BECAUSE the problem is that people can't get the CMD that is "run as administrator"............... that is the problem everyone is complaining about.

    • jessy peters February 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

      same here!! please help!

  3. tongangirl December 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Hi, i did this and even turned the UAC off and i am still getting a system 5 error. i did reboot too.

  4. Raymond December 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Hello, i did this and not turned the UAC off and i am still getting a system 5 error. i did reboot too.

  5. mark December 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    works. thanks!

  6. Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    I just installed the "control panel" icon to my desktop and did all of the above from there. I dont see why all the extra hoops...

  7. Kimi January 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I have the same problem as posted by Julia last Nov. 12, 2012. What do we type after getting all those additional lines? Thank you!

  8. Martin Brinkmann January 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    It is important to run the command prompt with elevated rights. To those who got the syntax error. Did you copy the command or write it manually?

    • JIM OBASA September 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      I have been using the command (net user administrator /active:yes) for years on both Vista and Windows 7 so I definitely know how to use it. However on Windows 8, although the command completed successfully and I Restarted, as you do, nothing happened. When the computer came back on there was simply no Administrator account as there was on Vista and Windows 7.
      Lucky I've still got my Windows 7 on the other partition and that is what I'm using now.

  9. Kimi January 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    (sorry if this message was sent twice)

    got this one:
    C:\windows\system32> net user administrator /active:yes
    System error 5 has occurred.

    Access denied.

    What does this mean? Thank you!

    • Martin Brinkmann January 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      Have you started the command line with administrative privileges? You can check if that is the case if you see Administrator in the title.

      • julia November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

        please tell me where is administrative privileges

    • guest March 31, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      search the cmd in c drive when identified the cmd.exe file rt click it & click run as administrator & then type the--------- net user administrator /active:yes

      C:\windows\system32> net user administrator /active:yes

      not it will work

      • Ratheesh June 17, 2013 at 1:11 am #

        Thanks :) it works

  10. Kimi January 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    The command that popped-up earlier like what Julia was saying above looked like this:

    C:\windows\system32> net user administrator /active:yes
    The syntax of this command is

    [username [password| *] [options] [/DOMAIN]
    username [password | * ] /ADD [options] [/DOMAIN]
    username [/DELETE] [/DOMAIN]
    username [/TIMES: {times | ALL}]
    username [/ACTIVE: {YES | NO}]

    What could this be?


    • Martin Brinkmann January 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      Can you please run the command net user and let me know if an administrator account is listed there?

      • chris August 15, 2016 at 1:56 am #

        I'm having the same problem just ran the command and it is listed there

  11. Kimi January 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi Martin. Thanks for replying.

    Regarding the administrator privilages: Yup. I'm logged in as a different user but I ran the command prompt as Administrator

    Regarding Net User: I typed that and this came out:

    User account for \\COMPUTER

    Administrator Guest Kimi
    The command completed successfully.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

      can you type net user administrator to get information about the account, especially the "account active" value.

  12. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    account active: NO

    • Martin Brinkmann January 3, 2013 at 1:38 am #

      Okay try the following. Press Windows-R, type secpol.msc. Navigate to Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options and look on the right for Accounts: Administrator account status. Double-click that and select Enabled from the options.

  13. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    This was the prompt: Access denied.

    I really do not know what is happening.

    Can I delete this local user account and make a new one even though my administrator account is disabled?

    I tried to make a new user account but my access is also denied.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 3, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      You do seem to have limited rights on your machine somehow, I can't really say why. Did someone else set it up for you?

  14. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Yes, someone else set it up for me, but I have been deleting and making new user accounts since i used windows 8 last week; it was only three days ago when all this problem arose.

    If I delete this current user account that I am using, will I be able to open and run my windows 8 even if the administrator user is disabled?

    • Martin Brinkmann January 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      No, if the admin account is disabled, you can't use it. Have you tried creating a secondary account?

      • Daniel Z. April 3, 2013 at 12:58 am #

        Go down to the bottom left of your desktop, and right click it.
        Then, go to Command Prompt (Admin)
        Finally Type
        net user administrator /active:yes
        Please subscribe to me on Youtube, my name is 1999DJZ...
        Your Welcome!!

  15. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Yes I have. But the prompt "access denied" always pops up. I cannot even edit/manage this current account user which I am using.

    Any ideas on how I'm supposed to go about this?

    Really appreciate your help, Martin. Thank you.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      Try booting into Safe Mode and see if you can do it there.

  16. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Okay. What should I do if I boot in safe mode?

    • Martin Brinkmann January 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      You try and activate the admin account, or create a new user account, or try and give your account more rights.

  17. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    To reboot in safe mode for windows 8, is it by pressing F4 several times when I restart my computer?

  18. Kimi January 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    thanks Martin. I'll update you on what happens

  19. Eric January 11, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    What happens if I turn on the Administrator account and find there is already a password that I do not know in there. New computer from Sams Club (HP) type.

  20. Nuno January 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I booted with an usb device and reset/unlock an administrator account that became hidden (by my mistake(windows 8 manager mistake really...)) but at the logon screen i still keep seeing local standard accounts only...
    I did the same thing with the native administrator account and the result was the same...only clickable local standard accounts appears...

  21. Abhijeet January 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Hi Martin
    I had installed Windows 8 one month back and Administrator user was enabled. Few days back I noticed that its not enabled now. I don't know how :(
    I am facing the same problem as Kimi
    When I tried running BootUITuner it asks Run as Administrator and the "Yes" option is disabled (Before this problem it used to come as enabled). I cannot install anything. Is there a way out or its screwed? :(

  22. Donna January 31, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    I followed the tutorial above and it worked like it said for me. I am able to download DLL's in my Systems 32 just fine without the access denied coming up.

  23. Donna January 31, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    You might look where you downloaded windows 8 and see if there are fixes or updates, but I am not having any problems.

  24. Lauran February 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    I tried booting from USB, but when I get to the point where I have to select a disk, it only lets me select the USB drive. The HDD is listed as EFI GPT and therefore probably not selectable? Does anyone know what to do to force the selection of the Windows 8 HDD?

  25. kevin February 17, 2013 at 10:44 am #


  26. Ighodalo elvis February 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    I have tried everything under the sun to run everything as administrator but to no avail even "CMD" cannot run as administrator. I don't know what to do. I can't even activate windows. This is quite frustrating. Please help me

    ppllllllssssssss i need help urgently

    Thanks for your kind response

  27. Enjah February 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I am having the same problems. I am not able to use all these methods because, despite yhe fact that I am THE OWNER and I set up the OS, I have no admin rights at all. When I download an app I have been using for years on other Windows OS the file just disappears and is not even visible in Search! To install is a major operation. This seems really absurdly convoluted and difficult. Maybe a Mac IS the solution, but then I have to purchase apps that are compatible with their system. Why are you torturing your customers?

  28. Vicki March 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    This is all well and good and it might work except you need to be signed in as an administrator to do any of it. We are helpless with this ridiculous programme - I've spent days on trying to fix this issue. In order to add a new user with administrator capabilities, I need to be signed in as an administrator. In order to use the command prompt to enable the hidden administrator account, I need to be signed in as an administrator.

    Catch 22 much? Microsoft has lost my business forever. Hello Mac, here I come.

  29. tongangirl March 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Ah, yes, after running cmd as administrator, it worked! thanks!

  30. Corey March 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I activated the account but it's not showing up on the login in screen.

  31. Cosmo May 8, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    This killing me!

    I cant start the admin account in lusrmgr - "The following error occurred while attempting to save properties for user Administrator: Access denied"

    I cant restart it from elevated command prompt - "System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied"

    I cant start the computer in safe mode - "system configuration cannot save the original boot configuration for later restoration. Boot changes will be reverted. Access is denied"

    No idea what else to do :(

    Have no privileges on this PC and I cant find a way of getting them.

  32. Penny June 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    How can I do all of this if I don't have the password???

  33. femi July 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Follow the steps here to enable advanced boot menu:

    Boot into safe mode where the admin account should be enabled.
    From the Administrator account you can now change your user account type.

  34. Tom September 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    when you go to the main screen
    and enter CMD
    right click on the CMD
    this will give you the option to run as administrator

  35. Anonymous October 17, 2013 at 11:27 am #


  36. Alka October 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Click on your "Start" menu from the hidden menu at right side of screen. Top right you'll see an emot which could also be set as a picture. That's your account. Click on that and in the drop down menu you'll see Administrator and other stuff you can do.
    Seems Microsoft felt it necessary to remove the "switch user" from the start up/ shut down, menu.
    Good luck

  37. julia November 12, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    dear and sweet martin my problem is that the saad has explained above. ,

    please help me

  38. suriyan November 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    it says access denied please hlp me

  39. Anonymous January 4, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    How the hell am I supposed to get to the start menu if I dont have the password to login to begin with? HELLO! How dense can you be? Quit giving the same answers idjits.

  40. Glenn March 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm #


    I want to thank you for this. I have been trying to get this installed forever with 8.1. This worked on first

  41. Peter Williamson April 25, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    Wouldn't it be nice if people actually read the problem as written. The people having real problems on these posts are those who CANNOT access Admin Rights under any circumstances and are frustrated beyond belief by MS and it stupidity. Nothing new there of course. right clicking, registry hack, CMD access, log in, log out as GUEST account or ANYTHING is going to work apart from a re-install. But you need the recovery disc to do that and even then it probably won't work. Only way to do it is to take it to a PC repair shop and hope they have tools to erase your disc and reinstall another version of Win 8.1. Those with the problem and who have tried everything have little hope of getting their version of the OS back.

    I have read hundreds of posts and most offer the simple solutions that DO NOT work for this complex problem and NO ONE has offered a solution that comes close to working. Many have tried and some rather arrogantly suggested simple solutions. I am grateful to everyone who tried to help but some things are not as simple as they seem at first glance.

  42. shima July 4, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    when iam enabled my built-in administrator account iam getting a error that is the following error occurred while attempting to save properties for user administrator:
    this operation is disallowed as it could result in an administration account being disabled,deletet or unable to logon. Anybody know a solution for this error?

  43. Sinthia July 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Awesome! Thanks. I thought I was going to have to shell out for the pro version. Now to find a replacement for bitlocker...

  44. Tj November 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    I think there need's to be a class action suit against Microsoft, as many misfit operating softwares they have designed and failed at, at the expense of the consumer, they NEED to make it right, I say, go back to Win 7 and don't fix something that's not broke. I would like to see Google step up to the plate and put the android system on the desktops, I see HP has some laptops with Google android operating system in them, and working.

  45. Anonymous April 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    You type net user administrator /ACTIVE

    it worked for me

    • Hsar Kabaw Say @ Alvin Say January 26, 2016 at 8:16 am #

      Dear sir
      I'm from Myanmar
      I was created one user account.
      And i was log in with this user accout and i was disable this user account in window time.
      And then i was restarted.I see this user account but can't log in ( Say "you account is disable " )
      how to solve it and how to swift administrator account in log out time.
      My window is 8.

  46. Kelli Jo June 10, 2015 at 6:16 am #

    Only 4 hours later I find your site and then... BAM! Thank you!

  47. Janen Basumatary June 19, 2016 at 6:56 am #

    Guys I have a problem which is very difficult to figure out for me.. I mistakenly disenabled my administrators account and now I am not able to login the pc... I have no others account also like guests account and family safety account.. I had only one administrator account that itself blocked. Now now I am unable to open the pc.. when I try to open it says your account has been disabled please see your system administrators.. please any one help me

  48. Anonymous September 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    If you get the error password not set Go in to Computer management and and set the password for administrator.
    Run the command as administrator net user administrator /active:yes

  49. stupidbs September 27, 2016 at 2:15 am #

    this is completely useless. you CANNOT run cmd as admin UNLESS YOU ALREADY HAVE ADMIN..

    • Martin Brinkmann September 27, 2016 at 5:34 am #

      The first user account on the system is usually an administrator account.

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