22

I downloaded and updated my Windows 7 pro to Windows 10 today. I had two user accounts in Windows 7 before update; Administrator and Ritesh. I never used Ritesh account, so over the time I even forgot that I had this account, and now I don't remember its password. After update to Windows 10, I can see only Ritesh user in login screen. I tried several combination, but they didn't work. I tried going into safe mode, but again it shows only Ritesh user. Setup didn't ask for Microsoft Account during installation, but I did reserve the update using Microsoft Account.

My USB ports are not working so only option I have is CD/DVD recovery.

I tried Reset option as well, but it also asks for Ritesh account verification.

How can I log in using Administrator account as I do remember this account's password?

4
  • I would make Install media using this tool and reinstall W10 clean
    – Moab
    Aug 6, 2015 at 18:48
  • @Arjan Ok, you buying?
    – Moab
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:55
  • @Moab, just in case I was not clear: I noticed you've suggested on several occasions to reinstall Windows. For me, that would be the last resort.
    – Arjan
    Aug 8, 2015 at 7:17
  • Sometimes it is easier to do a reinstall than it is to fix a corrupt install, that's why it is a comment and not an Answer.
    – Moab
    Aug 9, 2015 at 21:26

6 Answers 6

23

I'm providing this answer as an alternative to watching OP's video and in case the video ever goes down.

It sounds like you're looking to enable the administrator account again. If you cannot sign into Windows at all, have no other boot devices, and want to use no software - do the following.

  1. Click/Tap on the Power button under the Start Menu or on the lower right-hand side of the Login screen, press and hold the Shift key, and click/tap on Restart. This will open a command prompt at boot.

Then type:

net user Administrator /active:yes

If for some reason that doesn't work, do the following:

  1. In the command prompt, type regedit, and press Enter.

  2. In the left pane of Registry Editor, click/tap on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.

  3. Click/tap on File (menu bar), and on Load Hive.
  4. Open the drive (ex: D ) that you have Windows 10 installed on, and browse to the location below. NOTE: The drive letter (ex: C) will not always be the same at boot as it is from within Windows 10.

             D:\Windows\System32\config
    
  5. Select the SAM file, and click/tap on Open.
  6. In the Load Hive dialog, type REM_SAM, and click/tap on OK.
  7. In the left pane of Registry Editor, navigate to and open the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\REM_SAM\SAM\Domains\Accounts\Users\000001F4
  8. In the right pane of the 000001F4 key, double click/tap on the F binary value to modify it.
  9. In line 0038, change 11 to 10, click/tap on OK.
  10. Close Registry Editor and the command prompt.
  11. Click/tap on Continue to startup back in Windows 10.

NOTE: To disable the Administrator account simply reverse Step 10.

5
  • 1
    Thanks Ben. I tried opening command prompt at boot, but before that the system was asking for password of Ritesh account. This was the problem. I didn't remember its password.
    – Ritesh
    Aug 7, 2015 at 9:04
  • 1
    Ben, I am not on Windows but @Ritesh's comment makes sense and it seems the video is using (old) installation media to boot from, rather than your first step. So: are you saying one does not need installation media nor the password using your first step? (By the way, I very much hate instruction videos, so I very much appreciate this answer!)
    – Arjan
    Aug 7, 2015 at 12:07
  • @Arjan It kind of depends. I had a similar unique issue where I disabled my administration privileges on my user account and was able to use step 1 and 1.1 to activate the administrator account - even without entering a password. My login had a Windows PIN password but I was never prompted for it. Maybe that's the difference? Aug 11, 2015 at 16:44
  • This actually worked! I managed to activate the admin account && reassign my actual account to the Administrators group successfully! thank you very much.
    – snajahi
    Jun 5, 2017 at 15:18
  • @Benthon I'm trying to understand how this can possibly work. If you can't log on, when you hold shift and restart to get a command prompt, you are first prompted for a password! You don't just get a free admin command prompt. Something missing here.
    – Howiecamp
    Mar 1, 2018 at 21:44
11

you need to have the Windows (7|8|8.1) install media available.

  1. Start your PC off the (Disk|USB|HDD) that contains the install media
  2. Once loaded, press Shift+F10. This will open a command prompt
  3. Run the following commands in order:

diskpart list vol

  1. Once you find the right volume (your C: drive (it may have a different drive letter)), run exit
  2. Now, run D: where D is your drive letter.
  3. Run cd \Windows\System32
  4. Run ren Utilman.exe Utilman_old.exe
  5. Run copy cmd.exe Utilman.exe
  6. Reboot

Once you get to the logon screen, click the Accessibility Options icon. Once the Command Prompt opens, run these commands, replacing user_to_change with the user you want to reset the password of:

net user user_to_change *

Enter a new password, enter it again (you won't see it) and log in. You can now go back to C:\Windows\System32 and delete the Utilman.exe that we made, and rename Utilman_old.exe to Utilman.exe

1
  • Also works from a Windows 10 installation USB.
    – dragon788
    May 1, 2021 at 18:42
4

For those who are looking for answers:

I followed this video until Command Prompt after login screen (5:05). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dfEd4HZyV4

Then executed this command in opened command prompt.

c:\>net user Administrator /active:yes

And then restart the system. After reboot, it showed Administrator account and I am able to login. Don't forget to rename the executables back to their original form.

2
  1. Click on the Power button under the Start Menu or on the lower right-hand side of the Login screen, press and hold the Shift key, and click/tap on Restart. This will allow you to open command prompt at boot.
  2. On the cmd window type following command net user Administrator /active:yes
  3. In the command prompt, type regedit, and press Enter. Navigate to the following key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

  4. Create another key under Winlogon called SpecialAccounts (case sensitive) and under SpecialAccounts on more key called UserList (case sensitive). Under UserList key create a dword value Administrator and provide 1 as value data. After you'll finish it's suppose looks like this:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList

"Administrator"=dword:00000001

  1. Close Registry Editor and the command prompt
  2. Click on Continue to startup back in Windows 10
0

Windows 10

Methods for getting a failed Administrative account to work are great assuming you are already logged in as an administrator. I found a method that works when you initially had a good password but Windows became corrupted and would not allow entry of that password.

You can be in any user account and click on the Windows 10 restart button while holding down the shift key.

The computer restarts with many options. Select “Troubleshoot”. Select “Advanced Options”. Note you will also have the option of “Reset PC” but save that for your last resort. Click on “Restore”. Now you need to know your password. In my case I had set my password to “nothing” (literally). I was trying to get the computer to boot without a password. The “blank” entry was correct in my case and the restore options were available. Then I clicked on “Restore”. I also clicked on the more restore options button. I chose a date when things were working great.

The restore said it did not work but in reality it did. I could now log onto my computer as the Administrator by using my 4 digit pin code I had previously established. I believe my 4 digit pin code is only a convenient substitute for the original longer security code.

Windows 10 has a maze of unrefined options and few work. The greatest path for repairs in my opinion might be the Shft/Restart feature. Every time you make a mistake or find a failed solution, you have to reboot and then do the Shft/Restart function again.

0

In my case, to pour salt into the wound, 'Advanced Options' wouldn't even let me login via the command prompt.

The knight in shining armor turned out to be Lazesoft Recovery Suite. Even with the free version I was able to create a bootable flash drive with software to unlock Windows on the SSD. The paid version allows the pwd of any account to be changed. After many hours of troubleshooting I was very grateful to find it.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.