General discussion

Added user now can't log in as either administrator account

With Windows XP Pro. I added a limited user account so I could be safer. Now I cannot open either of the administrator accounts -- there is no Welcome screen -- and when I log off and restart comp, only have choice to log in as limited user! Tried to get XP to start in safe mode, apparently I'm pressing f8 at the wrong time? I am so befuddled... can anyone tell me how to get back to my administrator accounts and then make sure the Welcome Screen appears and fast switch is an option?

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Mems, Questions....

Changes to log in options must be made as a user with admin rights...How did you "add" the limited user? From the Control Panel/User Accounts?

Although one of the accounts has a name as "adminstrator", are you sure of what your other account name is? For example, it may be "Owner"..

Did your other two adminstrator accounts have passwords?

You mention that you can log in after restarting the computer..How do you log in? Is there a log in box listed and if so, you should be able to type in the word "administrator", then the password, if any, then press the "Enter" key. If there is no password for the two adminstrator accounts, then simply press the "Enter" key after typing your user name.

To verify which user accounts are still viable and what names they use, click on Start-Run, type: CONTROL userpasswords, then click on OK. The current users will be listed and if you can gain access as a user with admin rights, you can change all permissions from that location.

Here's a link on how to restart in "Safe Mode":

How To Start In 'Safe Mode'

Hope this helps.


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It seems to be more complicated...

Grif, I understand what you're saying, and I really don't understand what happened. I had the original Administrator account, with admin privileges. I made an account called "Backup Admin," also with admin privileges, in case one got corrupted. Then, thinking I was being smart (and following advice I had seen in some places) I made a third user with my name and gave it limited privileges. As soon as I did this, the next time I went to go on, I could ONLY get on through the limited user account. When I reboot, or log off as the limited user, I get the box with the account name and the spot for the password. I tried typing in Administrator, and Backup Admin, and both times I get a message saying I can't be logged in, make sure the domain is correct, etc. From something I read this morning, it seems that once a new user is created, XP hides the original Administrator account? BUt why would it hide the second one? And I really don't know how to use the safe mode to access the controls and log on through there.
Also, when I type in CONTROL userpasswords, the screen that comes up ONLY shows the newest user account with my name on it and limited privileges. So I can get in, but I can't switch users. It's as if the program thinks the admin users don't exist any more.
Is there something else I can do? Thanks so much for trying to help me.

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Grif, You fixed it, thank you!

OK, I kept on thinking and on the login screen typed in "User" which is what the main identity was called. So that got me in, and I was able to un-enable file sharing and use the welcome screen and the fast switch, which I'm used to. Thanks so much!
Mary Ellen

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Nothing is more complicated

Hello, I just so happen to see this about the user account and thought I would share a some trouble I am having at this very time with my user account. How this happened I have no idea but it did and I have ask for help with many and seem to get no answers that help in any way. I run a program on my computer called Image Zone which came with my new HP all-in-one printer. Love the program, works great when printing pictures, One day I went to open it and I got the message that The program has incountered an unexpected error Parameter cannot be null Parameter name: Serialization stream. Well let me tell you , after just using the program 2 days before I could not figure out what had happened. Contacted HP and gave them the message and they had me go through many things and uninstalling and reinstalling the printer as many as 4 time. As the story goes nothing made a difference. I figured the program was gone and I would never get it back unless I reformated the whole computer, well it just so happenes that I was working on something else one day and ran my mouse over the icon for that program and saw something come up, I went back to it and wonders of all wonders the message said what user account would you like to open this program with. I new a little about the user accounts and went in and created one gave it admin privileges and opened the program, To this day that is how I have got to use the program and to this day cannot figure how in the world this happened and how even HP did not know what to tell me to do. Would get rid of the user accounts if it were possible...Nothing but trouble

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Couldn't agree more

I just installed HP's 2610 photosmart printer. I love it, but it has now imposed an ASP.NET profile, which means I have to go through the welcome screen, which I had avoided. Let's hope Longhorn offers an option to ditch this cyclical-logic rubish.

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administrator rights

if all else fails do a restore to before you added the new user account. The problem maybe that you used the same name as an administrator name for the limited account. I have one administrator account (password protected and the 3 other user accounts with no administrator ability.)

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can?t log on as either administrator account

I had a problem similar to yours some time ago. now I
realize with this OS the only way is to keep things as simple as possible. If you own the computer it?s better to have only one account. If you have more than one it?s always going to be questioning wether it?s you or not. If more than one person uses your computer then it?s probably better to keep your account password-protected. the problem there is that if you forget your password, then there?s no second chance.

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Allen, Not Necessarily Correct...

The problem with only having one account with administrative rights is what you do if that account's user profile becomes corrupted. Since there is no other account with administrator rights, your primary way to fix the issue is to format and reinstall everything...

On Windows 2000 and XP computers, it's usually best to have at least TWO administrator accounts...On Windows XP, that's easy to accomplish with the "hidden" adminstrator account. You can still allow the computer to log on automatically when using your normal user account, if that's what you want, but if something becomes corrupted in that account, you still have that "hidden" adminstrator. See the link below:

Windows XP Logon, Welcome Screen, and Hidden Administrator

Hope this helps.


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Second Changes w/Passwords (PW) - Create a PW Reset Disk

Creating a Password Reset Disk (PWRD) -
Control Panel > Select the User Account you wish to create the PWRD for > Select ?Prevent a forgotten password? > follow along w/the Wizard?..


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Can't find that option

Using Win XP Pro, in control panels can't find a selection to click on to create a PWRD. (although several screens suggest doing that, there is no button or option anywhere I can see to get there. What am I missing?

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Mhepinc, Like This...

Open the Control Panel, double click on "User Accounts", then click on your account icon in the "Pick an account to change" section. Once that opens, in the upper left will be the "Prevent a forgotten password" selection. Click on it, then follow the prompts.

Hope this helps.


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Great Lesson

Well, now we all have learned there is no reason to have;

1. a password on a home PC
If you can't trust your family you need a new family

2. Create 2 or more ADMIN accounts with no password or abcd1234

3. Practice rebooting into SAFE MODE to access the ADMIN account to reset the passwords of limited user accounts.

On these 3 PCs there are no passwords and why should there be any?

Regards, Sir in New Orleans, Louisiana

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Batonrouge, Apparently, You Don't Have Sensitive Info...

...on your home computer? Or maybe you haven't had a 10 year old put a peanut butter sandwich in the CD-Rom? Or maybe your kids and their friends aren't advanced in computer stuff. (All my daughter's friends were techies and because I wasn't home at all times to monitor the computer, I only gave my daughter limited user account privileges.) Whether or not your home computer has a password on it is entirely dependent on the need for security in that household.

Likewise, I would NOT advise leaving the main "administrator" log on without a password. It's one of the primary ways nefarious hackers/crackers/etc. are able to turn computers in to SPAM and Virus Zombies. Even if you leave your own personal account without a password, I'd recommend setting a password on "administrator".

Hope this helps.


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Prison or Jail

for a 10 year old that puts a sandwich in a PC?

How can a "techie" not reboot into SAFE Mode and get into the accounts?

Or is that impossible?

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Failure to understand

A Techie can reboot into safe mode and still not have access to any of the computer accounts if the administrater account has an unknown password on it.

Something everyone should think about too is renaming the actual hidden system admin account to something OTHER than Administrator, giving it a strong password and then creating a secondary Administrator account called Administrator and disabling that account. People who want something look for commonality among things to exploit. If you never change the administrator's account name and enable a strong password, you're inviting others to play in your "back yard" and saying you'll gladfully accept the consequences.

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Not being able to log in as Administrator

At the Quick logon screen, press <CTRL>-<ALT>-<DEL> twice. This will bypass the ''Quick logon screen'' and put you in the standard logon prompt (like NT or Windows 2000).
At this point you can type Administrator as the logon and enter your password.
There are some utilities that allow you to modify the ''Quick logon screen''. Microsoft's Tweak UI, part of the Power Toys for Windows XP, ( ) for example, that will allow you to show Administrator logon if you prefer to have it shown on the quick logon screen.

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Getting in to win xp pro administrator password.

if you did not make a copy of your password on a foppy disk when you setup xp for the first time.
Your in trouble,
even in the safemode,
try this,
boot your system,
at post, hold f8 while the system boots,
this sould put you in the safe mode,
then start safe mode without network support,
safemode will start,
and ask you for your password,
enter your password and you sould get in,
[only if you have not change your password from first
setup.] hope this helps

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Can't login as Administrator

I fully understand that this is a newbies forum, so please bear with me. Without going into the details, there are actually utilities out there that will let you recreate your administrator password without first having to log in to Windows. So if you should accidently "lock" yourself out, please don't fret, in very short order you can install a new password and continue on with your work.

Best Regards,

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re ur problem

As far as i know and from what i have read if you boot up in safe mode xp wont ask you for a password,so then you can go and change the admin pass to what you like.
Unless microsoft fixed it.
Use a search engine if this fails and search for password recovery programs.

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I cant log on to my administrator account,

Trying to log on to administrator account, i can log on only to my user accounts,all my information is under administrator but cant get into it. I have tried everything,please help I have a dell inspiron A225 ins 531, a64 x2,3800+(2.0GHZ) Dell 19 in SE 198wfp flat panel,analog

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Which Operating System?

Your current situation is exactly why computers should be setup with no less than TWO admin accounts...just in case one takes a dump.

That said, if you're using Windows XP, please restart the computer into Safe Mode.. Once there, see if the hidden administrator account shows up.(The account will be listed as: administrator) If so, and IF you haven't created a password for it, leave the password blank and hit the "Enter" key.. If it boots correctly into Safe Mode, you should then be able to create a new password in the Control Panel/User Accounts section, or even create a new account entirely if necessary.

How To Start In 'Safe Mode'

Hope this helps.


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I had exactly the same problem


I actually had exactly the same problem. And while I was looking for solutions, and while reading this thread, I suddenly remembered I have Microsoft Powertoy "TweakUI." I opened it, and went to "logon" settings panel, then checked "show administrator in welcome screen." Then I after clicking "ok," I tried to switch accounts and the "administrator" is already on my welcome screen and I could click on it to get on my original admin account/user profile.

Hope that helps anyone who'll get the same problem.

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Same Problem

I have the same deal, set up new limited user and now all I do is login as that user. When I go to safe mode, it pulls up the options and then says pick a user to login and there are no users to pick from. Bottom line, if I could get to a user name, password login screen that acually allowed me to type in my administrator info I could use my computer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Kind of the same, but on longhorn

This is very helpfil info, but i have a kind of different issue. I installed windows longhorn build 4039 in virtualbox, and i try to login to the only account i find: Administrator, and i click on it, and it just shows the desktop wallpaper, then goes back to the login screen. can you help me please?

and i use a pretty high end laptop, i have a lenovo flex 2-15 with a core i5 cpu and 8 gigs of ram

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There's an enduring issue with Windows Accounts.

It's a biggy. Even Microsoft does not have a fix. That is, they have a fix but it does not fix the bad accounts. They advise you create a new account and move over. It's been 16 years and no one including Microsoft has a "do this, works everytime" cure for this account issue.

So sadly no, I can't help you.

Here's the Microsoft and other articles about this.

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Re: administrator

Administrator is a so called secret account, that you have to activate first. When installing, Windows ask for a user name (I always use Admin) and that works, but there should be nothing wrong with calling it ProGaming either.
Something went wrong with the install if you only see Administrator.

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