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.
You need to run the command from an elevated command prompt. To do that you need to do the following:
Enter the following command to enable the hidden administrator account: net user administrator /active:yes
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.
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:
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.
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.Advertisement
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