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?

  • I would make Install media using this tool and reinstall W10 clean – Moab Aug 6 '15 at 18:48
  • @Arjan Ok, you buying? – Moab Aug 8 '15 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 '15 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 '15 at 21:26

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.

  • 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 '15 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 '15 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? – Benthon Aug 11 '15 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 '17 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 at 21:44

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

  • This is a neat trick, thanks – antlersoft Oct 3 '15 at 15:22
up vote 4 down vote accepted

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.

  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

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.

Like Ritesh, after I upgraded to Windows 10, the only way I could log in was to use my named account -- possibly this is because it had admin privileges. Long story short, I created the Windows 10 installation media on a flash drive (hey my laptop doesn't have a CD drive), used it to get access to the command prompt as shown in the video then restarted. In my case, I had to remove the installation media, restart, choose the forgotten password option to trigger another restart to get the command prompt. Once I did, I could reset my password and log in.

I am not yet a windows 10 fan but at least I can log in.

BTW the video is excellent!

  • This seems more like a comment then an actual answer. The commentary about the video Is helpful, is not actually helpful, answers that contain comments like that are not that helpful. – Ramhound Jun 30 '16 at 20:33

protected by Community Jan 4 '17 at 19:59

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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