What is the Windows Vista Administrator’s Password?
by, 05-21-2007 at 10:57 PM (105303 Views)
After you installed your first copy of Windows Vista, how long did it take you to realize that you didn't know the administrator's password? With me it was about a week before I needed to make some changes in the file system. It suddenly occurred to me that being logged in as administrator might make the User Account Control dialog box go away, but I didn't know the administrator's password! What the heck is the Vista administrator's default password?
Unlike the previous releases of Windows, Windows Vista does not automatically create an Administrator account during installation. The theory is that the typical Windows user does not need to run with administrator privileges. Using a non-administrator account will prevent a Windows user from accidentally deleting operating system folder, files, and registry information, and prevent any Malware infecting the computer from doing the same. However, if you really need to run as an Administrator, you can easily activate the built-in Administrator account yourself.
Here are the basic steps to activate Vista's Administrator account and assign it a password:
- Logon to Vista using a standard user account
- From the Start menu, navigate to the Command Prompt menu item in the Accessories menu
- Right-click on the Command Prompt menu item and select Run as Administrator
- Click the Continue button on the User Account Control dialog box
- At the command prompt, enter net user administrator password , and hit Enter
- At the command prompt, enter net user administrator activate:yes , and hit Enter
- At the command prompt, enter exit and hit Enter to close the command window
- Log off and logon as Administrator using the password you selected
This procedure activates a user account named Administrator and assigns it Full Control security privileges. The user name “Administrator” is reserved, so you cannot create a user account with this name even if you haven't activated the built-in Administrator account. Depending on the local password policy of the computer, you might be required to enter a password of a minimum length or complexity, and not be allowed to use a blank password.
I Forgot my Vista Administrator Password!
The User Accounts applet in Control Panel features the Create a password reset disk wizard. Using this wizard, a floppy disk or USB flash drive can be created that allows the password of a specific user account on a specific Windows Vista computer to be reset by the user. Possession of the reset disk is considered to be authorization to reset the account's password. The reset disk can also be reused to reset the account's password multiple times. However, you need to know the password of the account you want to create the reset disk for, and you must create the reset disk before you forget the account's password.
To use the Vista password reset disk:
- Insert the floppy or USB reset disk in the computer
- Click the Reset password… item on the Vista logon screen to start the Password Reset Wizard
- Click the Next button
- Enter a new password
- Reenter the new password
- If prompted, enter a password hint
- Click the Next and Finished buttons
- Enter your new password to logon to the user account
I Didn't Make a Password Reset Disk!
OK, you can reset a forgotten Windows Vista password without a Vista password rest disk, but you won't receive any help from Vista to do it. Instead, the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor is your ticket. This password editor not only works on Windows Vista, but also on all releases of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. It works by booting from a CD or USB flash drive and selecting a few options in a command line menu interface. (Booting this password editor from a floppy disk is possible, but is not currently supported for Vista.)
NOTE: If you change the administrator's password on a Windows XP or Windows Vista system that is using the Encrypted File System (EFS), all of the encrypted files will become inaccessible. The password for the Administrator account is used to create the EFS encryption key. Changing the Administrator account back to using the original password should restore access to the encrypted files , but I have not tried it.
There are many menu options in the password editor; if you only need to blank the Administrator's password, here are the basic steps. If you need more detailed information, read the FAQ.
- Download and burn the ISO file on to a CD or USB flash drive
- Boot from the CD or USB flash drive
- Hit Enter at the boot: prompt
- Select the boot partition (usually 1 )
- Enter the PATH to the registry hive files (hit Enter for the default WINDOWS\System32\config )
- Hit Enter (1) for password reset
- Hit Enter (1) to edit user data and passwords
- Hit Enter to change password for the Administrator account
- Enter * to blank the password
- Enter y to blank the password
- Enter ! to quit the password editor
- Enter q to exit the change NT password utility
- Enter y to save the changes to the Windows SAM database
- Enter n to exit the program
- Remove the CD or USB flash drive and reboot the computer
Having the ability to reset forgotten passwords and gain administrator access to your computer and can be a great time saver, but should only be a attempted by an IT professional. Using sophisticated system manipulation tools, you can easily make things worse rather than better.
May 23rd, 2007 on 6:20 am
Very nice JD….I bet so many people will do better without having access to the admin account…of course, this info is public knowledge, if you go out and look for it, but most people should not. I've received so many calls from friends saying they screwed up the admin account…hopefully, this will bring that number down. Obviously, this is only the first step, but it seems to me as if Vista is making progress better than XP did at first….I know this one guy who refuses to leave 2000 behind, yet on the phone last night, he was asking what some file named ***.sys was for, and if he could delete it…..
James D. Murray
May 23rd, 2007 on 6:58 pm
Many Windows applications force the user to run with administrator privileges because they are created using system-centric rather than user-centric Windows design practices. As a Windows software developer myself, I am as guilty as anyone of writing my applications using a user account with administrator-level privileges and never checking if my apps actually ran in a non-admin security context. Vista's virtualization allows Windows apps written in this way to believe they are accessing admin-only areas of the OS, but are really not. Windows users may one day be able to easily use a non-admin user account as easily as Mac and Linux users do today.
I think it's a smaller jump from XP to Vista than it was from 2000 to XP, so people will be less afraid to try. Microsoft is also “helping” people with the transition to Vista by removing Windows XP from the new product pipeline as much as possible. I still run Windows 2000 servers myself because Windows XP is not a server OS, and I have no reason to migrate my systems to Windows Server 2003. I'll probably not personally move to Vista until after SP1 is released, and only when I buy a new laptop.
July 14th, 2007 on 3:53 pm
I have a question about Windows Vista passwords and thought maybe you could help, as I can't find a solution anywhere online (although I might end up doing one of the above solutions you posted…thanks). My question is this…if I have a working username/password and then I changed the username to ‘Admin' and I can no longer login to my computer, what to I do? I didn't change the password, but since I changed the name, it won't let me in. Is Admin a reserved name? Is the fact I am on a network (in a highrise building – I was told that my internet access is secure behind a firewall) have anything to do with it? Maybe another account is called Admin? ALso, when I first had Windows Vista, I had to try several times before it would take a new password (don't know why…would just say smth like ‘can't change your password' – without a reason, which was surprising'. I know what the password was, even the password hint is still the same….but the name change to Admin messed everything up. Any suggestions?
October 11th, 2007 on 11:02 am
I tried your solution but when I enter in c:\users\me> ‘net user administrator [password]‘ I get the message that the user is not to be found (its a french vista home premium, so I translate). What can I try next?
I'm the only user and I need administrator rights (f.i. I want to delete fonts but I can't).
(I used tweakedUAC.exe, that makes a difference for programs but doesn't let me delete the damn fonts).
Can you help?
James D. Murray
October 12th, 2007 on 1:24 am
shi, I don't know if the name of the administrator account in French Vista is actually “Administrator” or not. Try administrateur and see if that works. You can also log into the administrator account in Safe Mode by pressing F8 when Vista starts up and selecting “Safe Mode” from the menu. You will then be be able to logon to the administrator account, which should have no password by default.
October 22nd, 2007 on 8:39 am
Hey i tried your method but unfortunately even though i followed your instruction word to word the password does not become blank.The Program displays Password is BLANK.After i restart the computer after saving the settings the password is not blank when i try to login from the Login screen.The same holds true for changng the password .Pls help me out………….
November 11th, 2007 on 2:58 am
hey pal i forgot ma admin password and i only remember the other user password but it is limited one n it is not allowing me to load any softwares since it is limited account it always ask for admin password which i have forgotten so plz hlp me and post the any help u can provide im using windows vista home edition plzzzzzzzz help
November 11th, 2007 on 3:00 am
and I Didn't Make a Password Reset Disk! so plz post the help
November 20th, 2007 on 11:32 am
I tryed using F8 and booting up in safe mode. No admin account appears… Any ideas?
January 5th, 2008 on 7:03 am
I'm using Vista Home Basic, and yesterday I failed to remember my detailed password after giving in a long password. I even gave it Capital Letter details (yes, what an intelligent move) but even now I still cannot log in. I tried to download a hacking program called Ophcrack, but the files came in .rar, and when I moved the so called 'specific' files into a CD-ROM and inserted it when in the Log In screen, noting happened.
I never knew about the Password Reset Disk until I encountered this problem, and I don't want to end up re-installing Windows, as that would mean that I've have to pay extra cash to log in my own Notebook and I've just recieved it 2 weeks ago on Xmas day. To think that the computer was installing updates when this happened…
I just hope I'll have better luck with this application than the Ophcrack BULL I foolishly installed out of panic. Now let's hope that this will actually do its job. ^_^'
January 22nd, 2008 on 6:01 am
I tried to use methode: “Run as Administrator” to run some software which can not be ra by normal operatio, and working.
January 30th, 2008 on 5:03 am
Hi James D Murray,
I tried what you said and it seemed to work ok except that there is no option to log in as Administrator – the only options presented are my log in (which should have the administrator rights!!) and the standard user account that I set as per your instructions. It is Step 8 “Log off and logon as Administrator using the password you selected” that I have the problem with.
February 3rd, 2008 on 5:52 pm
I made a CD boot disk to reset my initial Administator account that I had created on a new Vista Premium install on my new Acer laptop. Your instructions worked great (menus are slightly changed in the latest S/W build). My password was reset and I was able to login to my laptop without having to reinstall Vista. Thanks.
P.S. – It is somewhat ironic that it requires Linux (CD boot OS) to fix a screwed up Windows box. More power to the penguin!
February 6th, 2008 on 1:49 am
It should be like this, step 6 has to be adjusted!
1. Logon to Vista using a standard user account
2. From the Start menu, navigate to the Command Prompt menu item in the Accessories menu
3. Right-click on the Command Prompt menu item and select Run as Administrator
4. Click the Continue button on the User Account Control dialog box
5. At the command prompt, enter net user administrator password, and hit Enter
6. At the command prompt, enter net user administrator /activate:yes, and hit Enter
7. At the command prompt, enter exit and hit Enter to close the command window
8. Log off and logon as Administrator using the password you selected
Just a simple fore slash and bye the way…. THX for the info
February 12th, 2008 on 6:38 am
How do I exit from safe mode-I have windows vista
February 19th, 2008 on 5:14 pm
In the command above there must be a slash right before activate. The command would be net user administrator /activate:yes
The administrator account name in english Vista is… Administrator (!) but in portuguese (for example) is administraDor (capital D just to enfasize). In french is probably administrateur. THIS APPLIES TO THE ABOVE NET COMMANDS ALSO!!
If you don't activate the account it won't show up in safe mode.
Oh! and if you forgot the Admin password either read the above “I didn't make a password reset disk” or get an IT profissional, that you certanly are not…
P.S.: forgive my english. i am… (you gessed it!) portuguese.
March 6th, 2008 on 7:05 pm
I have a standard user account that I set as per your instructions. It is Step 4 “Click the Continue button on the User Account Control dialog box” that I have the problem with. i dont have the Admin password so how can i bypass the Admin password to get to the command prompt
March 20th, 2008 on 1:28 pm
Hi James D. Murray
My daughter has forgotten the password for her laptop with Vista Home Premium. Her account is a standard one, and we have not set up an Administrator account. We didn't create a password reset disk – had no idea that such a thing existed!
Your instructions for resetting passwords using the Offline Registry Editor look as if they are designed for resetting an Administrator password. Can they be used for the ordinary account password? Do I need to do anything different?
March 23rd, 2008 on 11:56 am
How do i boot from a USB flash drive when i can't login with F8. When i press f8 and go to SAFE MODE it still asked me for the password.
March 26th, 2008 on 5:20 pm
I have the same problem as “Dante” from 03/06/08. I get hung-up on Step 4 because I don't have the Admin. password and there is no “Continue” button showing in the User Account Control dialog box. My system is Vista Ultimate 64-bit if that makes any difference. Please help! I am FRUSTRATED!
James D. Murray
March 26th, 2008 on 5:53 pm
If you don't know the Administrator password then you will need to reset it using the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor utility.
March 26th, 2008 on 11:49 pm
i have a comp with vista, one day i accidently pulled the plug on my comp and after i pluged it back in i have to log on to vista,(where before i unpluged it i never had to). but the thing is my first name is there as a user name and i dont know what the password is, i never created one. does vista set a default password or what??
April 16th, 2008 on 9:32 pm
Hi James D. Murray,
I've been searching help on my Vista Administrator Password for a few days through some search engines and start getting fastruted. It is so lucky to get this website, and guide me eazily how to reset my password within 30 minutes. It is a freeware provided by YOU, Mr. James D. Murray!
Finally, i wish to say thank you for the above help given. Many many thanks to you.
May 19th, 2008 on 9:43 am
I have a similar problem to Charles?
I have a Vista Home basic Laptop with one user account on it. The password for this account has been forgotten.
I a linux program to try and reset the password, well in this case I blanked it.
But it does not seem to have taken the blanking of the password. It is still telling me that the password is wrong????
Any ideas on where to go from here or why it is happening???
I have safely shut down windows a couple of times now and restarted it. Ran the program a couple of times and its all to no avail!!!!!!
Kirk M. Schafer
May 20th, 2008 on 12:49 pm
James, if you could make the correction detailed by Arno Lips, above (from Feb 06), it might save the innocent a significant amount of frustration as, step 6 in your article will set the administrator's password to “activate:yes”. Further, though perhaps it works both ways, I've found that “/active:yes” (instead of “activate”) is the working parameter for the “net use” command.
June 2nd, 2008 on 11:52 am
when i did the above is stated that the user information was not found…any advice
June 4th, 2008 on 3:03 pm
Thank you for the information above, needed it badly and it worked perfectly! As others may end where I was an hour ago and I got here using Google, I'm adding a few details to help the next…
I ignored normal settle-in rules and started using my new Dell XPS M1330 faster than I should. Opting for simplicity and fast reboots I added my username and omitted the password. So far so good.
However, starting the “Finger Print Reader Suite” suddenly required a password for the current account. As there was none Vista appears to enter a catch-22 situation … effectively I was shut out of the system.
You got me back in, thank you!
October 6th, 2008 on 8:01 am
My problem is trivial but I'd like to fix it all the same. I changed my Windows Vista Login password using the option from the CTL-ALT-DEL screen. No problem. Now when I login and get the password wrong it gives me the “hint” from my previous password. I'd like to change the hint too but can't find any way to do this. Like I said. trivial. I'm just a regular user so once explanations on how to do things get too technical for me to understand I'll go no further. Lliving with a trivial problem is a lot better than creating a major one because I didn't know what I was doing.
All the same I'd like to fix it. Any ideas simple enough for a regular user? What does “website” mean in the “Leave a Reply” process?
James D. Murray
November 6th, 2008 on 9:46 am
If your computer is on a domain, you can't create a password hint. Otherwise, you can change the hint when you change the password.
January 13th, 2009 on 11:29 pm
hi! im using windows vista home premium, my prob is like this,
i m installing a software (cd13x) and it was successful but when I run it, its asking me to log in using an administrator-level-account for using the application for the first time..But Im already log-in in my administrator account..Can you help me pls.?thanks.
January 20th, 2009 on 3:41 pm
I have just discovered the Windows Vista (default) Administrator's password: “Administrator” where “A” is written in capital letter. Regards.
February 20th, 2009 on 7:36 pm
Thanks so much for the file and write up. This got me out of a serious jam. Thanks again!
April 15th, 2009 on 2:55 pm
Also instead of [password] you could just have it be
net user Administrator *
April 21st, 2009 on 10:41 am
hi my grand father just bought a new laptop from asus it has vista, weve created our password worked fine for a couple of tries and then nothing, the password you have entered is not correct, wth is going on, theres no admin accounts, so theres no way to reset it someone help me please
May 13th, 2009 on 2:08 pm
Out of the blue my computer displayed password expires in 14 days. I entered the old password and put in a new one, but it said the user name or password were incorrect. I know they are correct because I wrote them down. Now what do I do?
May 15th, 2009 on 10:59 pm
i found an easier way to change you DEFAULT ADMIN password in case you forgot or lost it … log on to you NAME(make sure you have admin rights) under CONTROL PANEL>USER ACCOUNT & FAMILY>click USER ACCOUNT>
you name will be displayed after the text(CHANGE YOU ACCOUNT TYPE) you will see Manage ANOTHER ACCOUNT(click that) you will see all you accounts(making sure you have enabled default admin) it will appear to… click the ADMIN and click CHANGE PASSWORD… after you done changing the password and you logged in make sure you do a rescue disk password for that account… hope this works cuss' it worked for me.
May 22nd, 2009 on 3:53 am
Just to say thank you for your excellent programme. My granddaughter changed her Vista password and propmtly forgot it.
Your programme enable me to sort it out. I did have to try it many times before it worked. I notice you mention it is the administrator recovery but I put in her user name and it blanked that password. If I am honest I am not sure how I did it but who cares she is back on with a stern warning about passwords.
Very many thanks,
June 14th, 2009 on 11:30 am
My mom bought a new computer and has forgotten her password. She never even finished with her computer setup. She typed in her username and password and had to run out the door. Now we can't figure out the password. The computer has never even been past the initial username/password entry screen. She has windows vista. Can you help us?
June 20th, 2009 on 6:22 pm
I tried to recover my adm. password and still didn't work.
It just won't let me do anything. I wished someone could get me out of this mess. I did make a recovery floppy disk, but I have missed placed it. OOPPS.
I have been trying to remember what I changed my password to. I am listed a the adm. If I ever get this fixed I am going to make me a standard account and forget the adm. account.
any help would be so appreciated. I read a lot on your site and you have a lot of good infro, but I just can't make it work for me. thanks.
June 21st, 2009 on 1:48 am
Our laptop was recently stolen and we were fortunate enought to find it again but now we can't open it. It is completely shut down which I guess is the purpose of the new vista security – it worked!
But now we don't know what the administrators password is.
When we turn the laptop on its starts up and goes straight to a white screen with DOS writing. There is a grey box that says “dell Inc and their website”. another grey box that says “this computer system #…. is protected by a password authentication system. You cannot acces the data on this computer without the correct password.” and a third grey box which says “please enter the password and press enter”.
The CD drive won't open either. i do not recall ever seeing anything about an administrators password only the user password, which obviously does not work in this instance.
Is this something we can fix ourselves or do we need to take it to the store where we purchased the computer with Vista already installed?
July 3rd, 2009 on 2:21 pm
Admin is disabled for a reason, JUST LIKE LINUX.
Its suppose to be accessed Very sparingly and offline to tweak sensitive functions such as the registry for example.
What happens if you use Admin account as Default login:
1. your installation goes to crap after 2-6 months (reinstall)
2. you are opening yourself up to a can of Cyberwoopass from some one know knows how to scan for random IP addresses and hack into password protected Windows Vista (most kids 14 and up nowadays)
3. You become more retarded with every passing day.
July 3rd, 2009 on 2:22 pm
I wanted to add:
The best thing to do is activate the account, SET A PASSWORD and then de-activate the account for emergency use later on.
July 5th, 2009 on 12:47 am
I added myself as administrator on daughter's computer and then realised I didn't need to so I made myself a normal user and didn't make her the administrator again. Now I cannot access anything that needs admin passwords etc. including updating my anti virus software etc. How can I fix this. I have typed in the “net user administrator etc.” and it came up with a “system error 5?. Please help.
August 29th, 2009 on 1:58 pm
Hey, when i type net user administrator activate:yes it writes:system error 5 has occurred acess is denied. what should i have to do? pls help me i must go in to the administrator account. pls.
September 7th, 2009 on 1:42 pm
hey, man your file is unavailable….. please help me… i was trying to get a new pass but it said cant make a new password… so i reset my computer….and wen i put my old pass and new and the default pass… it said wrong password… and no I dont have a reset key
September 14th, 2009 on 6:47 pm
Worked like a charm for my vista system. Many thanks!
September 29th, 2009 on 11:45 am
I just reinstalled my computer, I am the only user, I have only one password which I use to log in. I did your steps how to become administrator, I think I did it, but when I try to change or do anything with administrators account it says that the password ir wrong, but I have no other. In users it says that I am the administrator, password protected. I need that password to use fingerpring software (the log in in it is like this: user is Laura, and then your password, but above at the top its written windows password). What do I need to write in there, with XP I had no such problem.
The main point is that I didn't forget the password, I tried 6 step both ways, the first one worked, the one with / didn't. Could it be my password too short?
September 29th, 2009 on 12:19 pm
wanted to share my solution:
I did only this Command Prompt window appears, enter the command net user administrator /active:yes
Then I had to change the password in user accounts and it worked.
The only problem is that it didnt help with my problem, in administrator account I managed to make fingerprint entry but in simple account neither user password, nor administrator password works.
Does anyone have any ideas?
September 30th, 2009 on 1:06 pm
hi im trying to reset my administrator password. i dont ever remember putting in one. I have an admin account just for downloading software and other stuff but when i try to download on my account( im not an administrator) it asks for the admin password. Can anyone please help me ????!!!! i am at school abroad and im in desperate need of a solution. PLEASE HELP.
December 3rd, 2009 on 7:18 pm
You can reset the windows password.
The program that I recommend is the Windows Password Key 8.0, it is very easy to create a
recovery disk that you can use on any Windows PC. It works perfectly to reset any local user account to a blank password. Just an easy to use bootable CD/DVD . It can also be used on a USB Flash Drive.
December 27th, 2009 on 10:17 am
OK – my 15 year old son found all this info after I had set my personal account up as adminstrator. He has now managed to set up the adminstrator account under his control. My only solution now on parental controls is to lock the damn thing away.
How do I regain control of the the aminstrator function? Without bloodshed in the house!
James D. Murray
December 29th, 2009 on 6:47 am
Do not assume that the only thing he has done is change the admin's password. Unless you can determine what software he may have installed on your computer to maintain control of it, your safest solution is to backup all your data, reformat your hard drive, reinstall Windows, and forbid him access to your computer. Buy him his own computer when he's 18 and legally responsible for his own actions.
February 19th, 2010 on 9:21 am
I never made a password and all of a sudden it is asking for a password to download a bigfish game. It has never done this before and I have had this pc for about 2 years. Usually I run as administrator and click OK and all is well, but this is a new prompt I have never seen before. Lame.
March 10th, 2010 on 1:53 am
The default administrators password for Windows Vista is admin
May 10th, 2010 on 2:01 am
I uauslly used the cheapest and easy to use tools, especialy free trial: like Windows Password Recovery tool 3.0 to reset Windows XP password.
Or you can try hacker. O(n_n)O ~
May 13th, 2010 on 9:32 pm
Windows Password Key 8.0 is considered as the best tool to reset local administrator and user passwords on any Windows system. It creates a password recovery CD/DVD, USB Flash Drive for home, business and enterprise with an extremely competitive price. And most of all, it's the most popular and safe solution for removing your Windows password until now?
You can google to find your best:
June 17th, 2010 on 1:34 am
You can create a password reset disk by third party software. At one time I forgot my vista password and I created a password reset disk by software name windows login recovery available http://www.windowsloginrecovery.com
November 6th, 2010 on 10:05 am
Hi, when I right click on command prompt and choose run as administrator, it asks me for a password and doesn't let me in until I figure it out. What do I do, please help!
James D. Murray
November 19th, 2010 on 10:01 pm
You need to first activate the Administrator account in Vista. It's deactivated by default.
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