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I created an admin account in windows 7. Did the "Special Accounts" registry edit to hide the admin account. Changed the current logged in user to a standard account and restarted the computer. The admin account is hidden but now I cannot use UAC to run things in elevated mode (run as admin). When I try it says I should type an admin password but since the admin account is hidden, there is no option to type a password and the yes button is greyed out. The built-in Administrator account is hidden as well (even in safe mode).

I just wanted to have an admin account to elevate from (without touching the default one) within a standard account as needed. Can someone help please? I'm on Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. I have no accessible admin account. The only accessible account I have is a regular user account.

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    possible duplicate of What can I do if I forgot my Windows password? – DavidPostill Aug 21 '15 at 14:58
  • Just to verify. You decided to hide the default Administrator and then made your only accessible Administrator user a normal User? You will have to use a tool outside of Windows to undo your mistake, in the future, I suggest not using registry edits without fully understanding them. – Ramhound Aug 21 '15 at 14:58
  • @Ramhound: I hid my new admin account. The default one is already hidden. I have no accessible admin account. The only accessible account I have is a regular user account. – Bmoe Aug 21 '15 at 23:27
  • Use a tool of your choice to create a new Administrator outside of Windows. There are numerous tools that can do that. – Ramhound Aug 21 '15 at 23:30
  • @John Have you resolved this problem? If so, it would be greatly appreciated if you share how. – user300375 Mar 2 '16 at 14:12
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Since the problem is that you have added registry entries to hide the Administrator account, you have basically managed to make unavailable your only enabled administrator account. For reasons you have already found out, Windows takes special care to ensure that there is always at least one such functioning account, but you have found one way of circumventing all these safeguards.

So basically the problem is narrowed down to how to delete these registry entries without using regedit. They are found in the registry at the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList. Deleting the whole SpecialAccounts branch is probably the best.

There are numerous ways of modifying the registry in an unrestricted manner and without booting into Windows and numerous articles describing them. For example, this article details four such methods : 4 Ways to Edit Registry Key Values Without Booting into Windows.

  1. PC Regedit
  2. Hiren’s Boot CD and its Mini Windows XP feature
  3. Lazesoft Recovery Suite Home
  4. UBCD4Win

A fifth method, if you have a Windows installation disk or a System Repair Disc, is to boot from it into the Command Prompt and use regedit. See the article How to Reset a Windows Password in Regedit at Boot.

However, all of the above methods involve using a boot CD/USB. If, as you say, you currently don't have access to that, you are in a bad way. Please explain why you have that restriction.

Without being able to boot a CD or USB, the only other solution I can think of is to take the Windows system disk out of the computer, add it as a secondary disk in a functioning Windows 7 computer, and use its regedit to open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive and delete the SpecialAccounts branch, as described in Load or Unload Registry Hives.

The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE hive is located in the file \Windows\System32\config\SOFTWARE. You need to open regedit, click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then use the menu File -> Load Hive command. After editing, use File -> Unload Hive.

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Try booting into "safe mode with command prompt" then at a command prompt type net user administrator /active: yes. Then reboot normally. You should then be able to log into the default administrator account without a password to make any needed changes. If you want to go back to where you were, you can use net user administrator /active: no

  • per the author's comment the default Administrator user is also hidden. Furthermore the suggested prompt wouldn't work on a normal user account anyways. – Ramhound Aug 22 '15 at 1:39
  • On Windows 10, there is no Administrator account shown when booted into safe mode. – user300375 Mar 1 '16 at 10:57
  • @user300375 OP is using Windows 7 not Windows 10. – DavidPostill Mar 6 '16 at 10:10

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