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Login to Local Administrator Account with Windows Vista Home Basic.  Possible?

Posted on 2007-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I used the following solution from war1 to try and login into the local administrator account, but when I booted up, I got the following message, "Your account has been disabled.  Please see your system administrator."   Fortunately I could still login to my normal admin account, but is there a method to enable the local administrator account?  I also tried the registry hack that's used for XP Home but that had zero effect.  I also tried the registry hack with the DWORD 32 Administrator 1 key, but that had no effect.  Logging in safe mode doesn't do anything.  If you offer the usual suggestions that involve running lusrmgr or secpol.msc, please note that Vista Home Basic responds with, "This snapin may not be used with this version of Windows."

war1:vnmikhal,

Unless you join a domain, it is awfully difficult to logon to the built in Administrator account.

To work around this using AutoLogon:

   1. Logon as the account you created during the installation.
   2. From the Start menu, go to "All Programs", "Accessories"
   3. Right-click on "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as Administrator"
   4. Click "Allow" from the ConsentUI prompt
   5. In the resulting Command window, enter "regedit" and press enter
   6. In regedit, browse to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
   7. In the Winlogon key, create a new value of type REG_SZ (string) titled AutoAdminLogon and set the value to 1.
   8. Also create a string value titled "DefaultPassword" and set it to the password you want for the Administrator account.
   9. In the value "DefaultDomainName" enter the name of your computer
  10. In the value "DefaultUserName" enter "Administrator"
  11. Close regedit
  12. Back in the command prompt, enter "Net User Administrator password*" (replace password with the password you entered for DefaultPassword).
  13. Log off or reboot. You are now logged on with the local Administrator account. To stop it from auto logging on, remove that "AutoAdminLogon" value or set it to 0.

To work around this using a registry hack (the same one that works for enabling the Administrator account on XP Home):

Logon as the account you created during the installation.
From the Start menu, go to "All Programs", "Accessories"
Right-click on "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as Administrator"
Click "Allow" from the ConsentUI prompt
In the resulting Command window, enter "regedit" and press enter
In regedit, browse to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Add a new key at that level called SpecialAccounts
In the SpecialAccounts key, create a sub-key called UserList
At this point the path is: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList
In the UserList key, create a new value of type DWORD (32 bit) called Administrator and set the value to 1.
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Question by:markbyrn
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by:LeeTutor
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I don't know whether it is possible from Home Basic, or not (certainly the method described in this article that uses MMC isn't, as you said in your question), but here is an article I found.  I think it sounds somewhat dangerous, since it involves disabling all other admin accounts, and also the article was written when Vista was still beta, so it may not apply to the final released version:

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9001970
How to access the true Administrator account in Windows Vista
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by:Netman66
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The only thing I had to do was run GPEDIT.msc and drill into the following:

Computer Config>Windows Settings>Local Policies>Security Options >> Accounts: Administrator Account Status

Set this to Enabled.

Now, I run Ultimate and the Basic version may require you to do this in Safe Mode as your admin account.

Once this is Enabled, the Admin account is visible.

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by:markbyrn
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Lee, the solution in the article doesn't work because Local Users and Groups policy does not show up and is disbled in Vista Home Basic.  Thus, I cannot enable the administrator account.  Perhaps it worked in a beta version, but no longer.

Netman66, I have Vista Ultimate on my primary computer but I have Home Basic on my secondary laptop.  Your solution is fine for Ultimate (I've already used it long ago), but GPEDIT.msc cannot be run or found in Home Basic (normal, safe or otherwise).   War1's solution was as close as I came to getting in because it made the Admin account visable on the login screen, but unfortunately it was still disabled as I mentioned.   Since I can't access GPEDIT, SECPOL, LUSRMGR, I need some kind of registry hack to enable the administrator account.    
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by:Netman66
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Is Computer Management available?

compmgmt.msc

If so, can you access the Admin account there to enable it?

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Netman66 earned 500 total points
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Ok, this should work.

Run CMD as Administrator.
Run this command: net user Administrator /active:yes
Open Regedit and fix this entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System::

FilterAdministratorToken = 0

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by:Netman66
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The reg tweak will remove UAC on that account.  It likely isn't necessary to activate the Admin account.
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by:markbyrn
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Netman66, "Run this command: net user Administrator /active:yes" was the ticket!  The registry change wasn't needed.   By the way, you can run compmgmt.msc on Home Basic, but the all important Local Users and Groups policy doesn't show up.  I tried copying the security snapin and supporting folder from my Ultimate machine, but it's still locked out.  Oh well, but at least you solved the big problem - thanks much.

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by:Netman66
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No problem, glad to assist.
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by:younghv
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Netman66,
First time I've seen that - nice.

Vic
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by:Netman66
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Undocumented switches - don't you just love them....
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by:younghv
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That immediately went into my 'Giant cut&paste Spreadsheet'.
:)
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by:xxiantweb
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Superb!  It went into mine too!
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