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I googled this and found everywhere the same solution(https://www.cnet.com/culture/restore-a-lost-administrator-account-in-vista/), however, this solution does not seem to work for me.

I have an old windows vista business computer. This computer has two accounts defined aside of the default accounts: Matthias (administrator account, password forgotten) Romain (normal user, no password defined)

If I reboot into safe mode, as all the articles state, I'm just given the login screen with two user account symbols ("Matthias" and "Romain"), the hidden Administrator account is not shown (I assume because the account 'Matthias' is configured as administrator?) and there is no prompt to enter a different user name than the two provided on the login screen.

I can login with the 'Romain' account, but of course have no privileges there. Displaying the user accounts with this user shows:

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Any idea why the hidden Administrator account does not get activated and what I can do to regain admin privileges on this system?

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To access the hidden administrators account (no longer a new thing), please see this article.

(A) Try the regular method

Access Vista Admin account

For this method, you press F8 as Windows is starting up when the character mode part of the boot-up says something to the effect of "Starting Windows. ..." In a dual-boot environment, you can do that from the boot menu. Once the boot menu is showing, paused for your operating system selection, use the arrow or tab keys to select "Microsoft Windows" (the option that runs Windows Vista). Don't press Enter; instead, press the F8 key, and you'll progress to the Safe Mode boot screen. Choose the first option, "Safe Mode" and press Enter.

After a time, Vista will show you the log-in screen with two options, Administrator and Other User. Click the Administrator icon.

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The second method allows you to log into the Administrator account just as you would any normal account. So you get the full-fledged Administrator privileges in a normal boot mode, not Safe Mode. There's a trick you need to know to make it work. And also something you need to watch out for.

Start by enabling the Administrator account in Computer Management just as described above. (Remember: Don't set a password in Computer Management for the Administrator account.)The second method allows you to log into the Administrator account just as you would any normal account. So you get the full-fledged Administrator privileges in a normal boot mode, not Safe Mode. There's a trick you need to know to make it work. And also something you need to watch out for.

Start by enabling the Administrator account in Computer Management just as described above. (Remember: Don't set a password in Computer Management for the Administrator account.)

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If not (A) then use Pogo Stick

You can also use Pogo Stick to reset the password.

Pogo Stick

This is a utility to reset the password of any user that has a valid local account on your Windows system. Supports all Windows from NT3.5 to Win8.1, also 64 bit and also the Server versions (like 2003, 2008, 2012) You do not need to know the old password to set a new one. It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a CD or USB disk to do the password reset. Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts! There is also a registry editor and other registry utilities that works under linux/unix, and can be used for other things than password editing.

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If everything fails, back up the disk and rebuild Vista.

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  • A does, as stated, not work for me. pogo stick crashes with a kernel panic when booting from it. Any other options? May 2 at 15:57
  • If Pogo Stick crashes, there is some damaged to the operating system. I added the nuclear option to my answer.
    – John
    May 2 at 15:59
  • This also applies to Vista except you would boot to the WinPE for Vista not Windows 10.
    – Ramhound
    May 2 at 18:27

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