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Use the Administrator account by default in Win7 and Vista

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Are you annoyed by all the restrictions Vista and Windows 7 places on the default user?  Your user privileges are restricted which can result in unexplained errors when you try and do things unless you figure out that it’s all to do with your user rights.  In a business environment this may be the intention (to control what users do) but at home you would normally want to do whatever you want.

Using Administrator privileges, however, can be risky based on your PC knowledge because you will be allowed to do anything you want, including mess things up by mistake!  Before continuing, make sure you are happy with having 'god mode' on your PC and that you, or anyone else, is not liable to go doing things that would adversely affect your PC.
[step=""][Ed. Note:] Also, if you are ever hit by a virus or other malware, that code will run with full administrative privileges; it gets to run in 'god mode.'  It can install device drivers, usurp system-critical functions, write anything it wants anywhere in the registry, send emails containing your banking logon information to someplace in Russia... In short, it can kill your computer, laughing at you as it does so.  So consider this a friendly "head's up!"
[/step]
Here is how to enable the Administrator account, set it to automatically login as Administrator and then remove your original user account if not needed.

1

Open your start menu and in the ‘Start Search’ box at the bottom type “Command Prompt”.  You should see the command prompt at the top of the start menu.  Right click and choose ‘Run as Administrator’.  The command window will appear with “Administrator: Command Prompt” in the title bar.

2

Activate the administrator account by typing:
net users Administrator  /active:yes

Open in new window

exactly as shown, i.e. capital A, spaces etc.  Hit enter and you should see "The command completed successfully."

3

Logoff and you should now see ‘Administrator’ login as an option.  Choose to login to Administrator (this may take a while because logging in for the first time under any user will go about creating your documents folders.  You should now see ‘Administrator’ as your documents folder name (top right of the start menu under the picture).

4

Now set Administrator as the default Windows user.  Bring up the Run window by holding the Windows Key and press R.  Type
     control userpasswords2
and hit OK.  This should open the ‘User Accounts’ window.  To bypass the login screen uncheck the box that says “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.”  Now a window titled “Automatically Log On” will appear allowing you to specify credentials so windows can login automatically.  The user name should already have ‘Administrator’ and you can leave the password boxes blank if you haven’t set one up since enabling it.

NOTE: if you want to set a password for the Administrator account to use you can go
    Start > Control Panel > User Accounts > ‘Create a password for your account’.  
This should be entered on the ‘Automatically Log On’ dialog box above so auto-logon can take place.

WARNING: if you remove your old account, your documents folder associated with it will go as well!  Make sure you move everything you want to keep over to the Administrators documents folder.

5

If you’re now only going to use the administrator login, you may want to remove your old redundant login account to restore hard drive space.  Go into ‘User Accounts’ same as above but choose ‘Manage another account’, click on your old account and choose ‘Delete the account’ from the left.  Here you can choose to keep or delete the users files (make sure you backup what you want to keep) then hit ‘Delete Account’.

That’s it!  No more access denied messages; when you boot up, Windows will bypass the login screen and automatically start you as the Administrator.
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Author:Alex_W
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9 Comments
 
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Author Comment

by:Alex_W
Done, thanks DanRollins.
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Author Comment

by:Alex_W
By the way, not sure how to change the zone to Win 7, it may be better in there.
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Expert Comment

by:sameerb5
sorry to intrrupt u or start a conflict on my opinion ..i would go with the editor note that u specified above: that said as follows:

Also, if you are ever hit by a virus or other malware, that code will run with full administrative privileges; it gets to run in 'god mode.'  It can install device drivers, usurp system-critical functions, write anything it wants anywhere in the registry, send emails containing your banking logon information to someplace in Russia... In short, it can kill your computer, laughing at you as it does so.  So consider this a friendly "head's up!"

i would like advice my frnds not to use administrator account but create an account with urt choice of permission either limited permission or full permission and use it..
since if ur account which created has faced some problems u could go to administrator account and hav a fix for it..  thats y its highly recommended not to use administrator account and create ur own account. tats y techinician also highhly recommend not to use administrator account.

as well its upon u  all to choose ur  way..but if u go with my suggestion ..never use administrator account..

thanxs thats what i want to share with u..however my opinion my be shallow not so deep..n may be other my others don't believe or like it.. but thought to share with u all. my thoughts.
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Author Comment

by:Alex_W
Thanks for your comments, however, in my case I am very happy after using my Administrator login for the following reasons:

1) I keep my PC secure and although there will alway be some degree of threat, it is negligible when compared to the access and control I have over my PC as Administrator.

2) I know what not to mess with, i.e. Windows folder, registry etc.

3) after upgrading to Vista I had issues with not only setting the security to files I wanted to do something with but also having to go into Advanced and actually 'OWN' the file as that user too.  This all got a bit too much and is simply not a problem now I'm an Administrator.

At the end of the day being a user may be best for you, all depends on what you know about PC use, i.e. what to mess with and what NOT to mess with - and what you use your PC for.  For just checking emails and browsing the web you would probably not notice any difference at all so average user rights would be better.

rgds
Alex_W
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Expert Comment

by:sameerb5
thanxs for ur replying...i am not stoping you to do wat u want..
..but thought to ask u y can't u  create an  account in Win7 or Vista and apply full permission (all permission of administrator) meaning u could be administrator. by safe keeping ur administrator account..

anyway i believe as much as you spread knwowledge is as much as you learn...since  we all learn  from ppl in any way.
thanxs a lot for ur kind reply..
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Expert Comment

by:DanRollins
On my Win7 system, I actually went the other way... I created a second login that has even fewer access rights than the standard default-level user (which is a sort of semi-administrator).   I now do a fast user switch when I'm finished working for the day and I go out on the Internet for random browsing and gaming.

But, the author's point is valid:  We (most of us) ran WinXP as the fully-enabled Administrator and we did that for years and years.  And we lived to tell about it, because we learned good habits about what to download and what to install.  If somebody yearns for that freedom, then... well, I'm not a member of the System Security Thought Police and I wish them well.
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Expert Comment

by:younghv
I wish there had been a much more explicit caveat about this process.

The 'annoyances' built into Vista and 7 were specifically developed because of the multitude of problems created with the automatic "Administrator" account that was (default) created in XP.

Regardless of "DanRollins" opinion that "we lived to tell about it", the fact is that 99 64/100ths of all malware problems with XP are based on Internet use with the privileges of an Admin account.

I make a pretty good amount of beer money fixing malware problems created by improper use of Admin accounts and though not a "member of the System Security Thought Police", I do like to point out common sense approaches and "Best Practices" when I can.

The fact that the author goes on to describe how to delete the old account - so that the ONLY account the user has is a full-blown - unprotected "Administrator Account - for all Internet activity is particularly worrisome.

As described, the process is very dangerous and anyone considering it should be fully aware of the consequences.
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Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
I have to agree to younghv. If anybody would call me to fix a problem introduced by using an permanent admin account, I would first ask for more money.

Yes, I'm working with Admin privileges and no UAC on Vista myself. But if something is broken, I am the one to blame, and to correct it. I would not ask anybody else to do it for me. And it's because I'm doing admin changes all the time.

There are really very few opportunies Mr. Normal has to do something requiring Admin privileges. On that occassions, it is much better to get asked for an real admin account or for committing using admin privs. If it appears once a week - so what? If it appears twice an hour - you or anybody else has done something suspicious!
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Expert Comment

by:DanRollins
I thought that that [Ed.Note] was pretty explicit...

>> In short, [malware] can kill your computer, laughing at you as it does so.

Qlemo, I'd personally never, ever, advise anyone to turn off UAC, yet you say that you, yourself do it (implying that it is something a responsible power user might do in some cases).  Saying that something can be done is a far cry from advising people that it should be done, wouldn't you agree?
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