I am running a Windows 7 Home Premium machine with one administrator and one standard user for my son (14). My son has a standard account limited by parental controls for web content (porn etc.)

My son has found a way to create a user account that does not show up on the logon screen, does not show up on the user management screen and cannot be access by Family Safety. The account shows up on the list for Family Safety, but I can't touch it. Folders for this account exist on the hard drive under the users folder.

I checked the Windows registry here HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList, as suggested on some web sites --- but SpecialAccounts does not exist. This suggests that he did not hide the account by editing the registry.

Since I using Home Premium, I cannot unhide the user account using "Local users and groups".

I also tried a net user command, but it seems that I need to know the password of the phantom account to do anything to it. I also tried control userpasswords2, to no effect.

This is not the first time my son has created a phantom account. When I asked him how he did it, he refused to say.

I should add that my son is not a power user. He probably does not know that Windows has a registry -- although some of his friends might know this if it was in their interests to acquire the information.

Question: How can a user of weak ability manage to hide a user account , and how can I unhide and remove the account?

  • 1
    You sure this isn't one of those built-in accounts that exist within Windows and isn't actually your son playing games with you? As for how this is possible and how to remove a hidden account like this, its actually been asked before, this question's answer(s) might help: superuser.com/questions/96883/… the following guide seems like exactly what your son followed: vistax64.com/tutorials/94805-user-account-hide.html there are ways to change the password to this account provided you have an administractor account.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:43
  • @Placidia: Surely you mean computer LITERATE teenager, surely? Mar 1, 2013 at 19:48
  • @Ramhound. In Windows 7 Home Premium, you can't reach local users and groups by running MMC - which is what they are doing in that tutorial. No joy there, I'm afraid. As to built-in accounts, the Guest account is still there. I am not aware of any others.
    – Placidia
    Mar 1, 2013 at 19:57
  • @Dan. You may be correct, and he has become LITERATE. Until now, he has shown no interest in how computers work.
    – Placidia
    Mar 1, 2013 at 20:01
  • 1
    @Placidia - When I read your question, I thought your son had used SpecialAccounts to hide the account, what makes you think the account was actually created? I am more then aware of the limits of Home Premium which is the reason the guide also goes into detail of how to do it manually. I suggest a nuke from orbit approach at this point, your son shouldn't even have the ability to modify the registry, let alone create user accounts.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 1, 2013 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


If you have an account with Administrator-level permissions on the system, you should be able to delete the account using the net user command from an elevated command prompt.

In the Start Menu's search bar, type cmd. When "cmd.exe" is highlighted in the search results, press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. You should get a UAC prompt. After the UAC prompt, you should see a CMD window with the title Administrator: C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe.

From there, use net user as you normally would to delete a user account: net user [username] /delete

  • Thanks for explaining how to get into the administrator command line. In the end, however, it turns out that my son did not add this account (although he has added others in the past). This account was added by Nvidia, for purposes of its own.
    – Placidia
    Mar 3, 2013 at 0:44

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