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Windows 7 - Built-in Administrator Account

Posted on 2010-09-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I noticed the administrator account is disabled by default in windows 7.   ANother user account is created when you perform the setup of your computer and is still enabled to the domain.  I set a group policy to keep the admin account enabled but rename it to something a little less mainstream for an admin account name and disabled the other admin account that was created during windows setup.
Does anyone have a quality reason whether I should maintain local admin or built in accounts for XP and 7?  I understand safe mode works regards if you disable the admin account.  I guess maybe a problem would occur if the machine somehow disjoined itself from the domain.  I don't when that situation would occur but I'm sure it would happen and is easy to rejoin the domain w/out a local admin account.  Ugh, I digress...   Can someone assist?   Maybe some nicely broken down best practice links out there:?
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Question by:snoopaloop
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7 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:James Haywood
ID: 33650432
Its always useful to have a local account if you need to do some troubleshooting and can't logon to the domain. A lot of networks i've used have an account with the same local account and password on every machine (with strong password) to make things simple.

If your domain is reasonably solid and all data held server side (as it should be really) then its not that much of an issue as you can just drop a fresh image on a machine that is misbehaving.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 33650481
I would strongly suggest you keep the adminstrator account disabled and make the first Windows 7 user account a member of the administrator group (which it is by default). Use this as your administrator account and then create user accounts from there. This will not stop you from using the domain admin account when the computer is on the domain. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:snoopaloop
ID: 33650636
I believe I am accomplishing the same task by renaming the local administrator account through group policy.  So thinkpad_user believe an active account in the local admins group should be present while hhaywood thinks if there are images for everything and users are smart enough to store everything on the file server then disable the account.  yes?
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Accepted Solution

by:
John Hurst earned 252 total points
ID: 33650668
The point of disabling the local administrator account, coupled with User Acccount Control is to stop outside programs and people from hacking in (social engineering) and infesting the computer with malware. The local admin account may be com_admin with a password of ##fgcnggds## and most users won't figure it out. I like having a local back door into the system in case there is some issue on the server that prevents the domain account from working. Preference on my part.

But I would not enable the Windows 7 administrator account at all.
... Thinkpads_User

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LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:James Haywood
James Haywood earned 248 total points
ID: 33653053
Its personal preference really. I usually disable all local accounts if the machines are being accessed by multiple people (such as a school) with unknown technical abilities. If it tends to be the same people using the same machine and they are a known quantitiy (most offices) then it can be very useful to have a local account available.

I do agree with what Thinkpads_User has said.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Kody-Burg
ID: 33653440
Microsoft disables the local administrator for a reason.

I would leave it disabled and use the administrator created during setup to prevent any issues.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 33664434
Thank you snoopaloop - I was pleased to assist. .... Thinkpads_User
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