Windows Vista forum


Cannot enable administrator account

by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2011 9:01 PM PDT

I am trying to resolve an issue with another persons Compaq Presario V6000 laptop running Vista Home Premium. The original issue was that he forgot his user password and was locked out at the welcome screen. There was no other account visible. I was able to download and burn a bootable (evil Linux created) password reset disk, find his username and clear the PW. The system booted fine after that. Thinking the administrator account might have a blank password, I pursued that idea, but found no account visible. I used the elevated command prompt screen attempting to enable the hidden account which is, BTW,

C:\Windows\system32\net user administrator /active:yes

Having tried this from normal login, safe mode and safe mode with command prompt several times, I've had no success. I'm sure I have the command and syntax correct but it returns the following:

System error 1359 has occurred.

An internal error occurred.

Upon web research, this seems to be a rather generic error without much help available.

I want there to be two admin accounts and, while I could just create a second one, it bothers me that I cannot enable the hidden account. I'm not that familiar with Vista, however. The PW reset disk did show the existence of an "administrator" account in the registry. Any thoughts? TIA

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All Answers

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Not much from me
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 2, 2011 9:49 PM PDT

So just guesses or comments.

I noticed your command prompt path was from Windows\System32. Did you try that from the root directory, ie; C;\>

As I understand it, it shouldn't make any difference, but since that failed with this machine, try anything?

Does this Administrator account display with just C:\net user ?

There is a lot of chat about this in the HowToGeek link below. it may be worth sifting through all that for clues.;

Where are you with this system now? Does it have an Admin capable User account that is working? If so I would create that 2nd Admin capable account anyway, as a precaution.

I see that someone else had this 1359 error when attempting to do the same in the forum discussion here;

Perhaps that will give some clues.

Sorry, a bit meagre from me.


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Thanks Mark but been there already
by Steven Haninger / September 2, 2011 10:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Not much from me

and have tried the command from root and user levels. I also messed with UAC (disabled) etc., to no avail. For the heck of it, I tried to create an account called "Administrator" and got the expected result...the account already exists. No secpol on this version so out of luck there too. I have it where the guy can recreate his password and tattoo it on his forearm if needed so maybe should leave well enough alone. I just don't like to be scoffed at by a stupid computer...especially one running Vista. Happy

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(NT) I can't tell if you used NTPASSWD or not.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 3, 2011 1:31 AM PDT
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Here's what I used
by Steven Haninger / September 3, 2011 2:58 AM PDT


but maybe not where I found it. I was able to find and clear the user password and the administrator account was in the listing. This allowed the PC to boot to the desktop so it did the job. The next step will be to find the administrator account or create another with admin privileges. That I cannot enable the hidden account makes me wonder if some other underlying problems are there. The gentleman is going to be seeking other help becoming familiar with this laptop for use in his work. I'd think that being able to manage one's own password(s) would be a good place to start.

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That helped a little. Are you aware?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 3, 2011 3:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Here's what I used

Are you aware that it is possible to disable the admin accounts and get a machine into such a condition?

___________________________(put answer here, hint? I can't know if you know this.)

And do you know the MSFT answer and cure to when this happens?

(what you know here)_______________________________________
(Microsoft answer here) Reinstall the OS.

So far no one has created a tool or method to re-enable admin accounts or add them. This issue is like jumping down a well and not putting in the ladder first.

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Yes, I did find that solution option before coming here
by Steven Haninger / September 3, 2011 3:49 AM PDT

but it wasn't on my priority list. And I've read read the woes of some who've come here after deleting or altering the administrator account. The inability to enable the hidden admin account was found by me and not what the user had asked for help with. And as I understand it, the account is inactive in Vista by default and the method I used is the published way to make it active. Anyway, I suspect the owner doesn't even know it's gone missing. I can certainly accept that I've no ability to fix this at the keyboard and probably no reason to do so if the it otherwise works for the user.

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For now it's considered a feature.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 3, 2011 3:55 AM PDT

There are some instances where folk want to lock down a machine so Microsoft has no reason to reveal if its possible to add an admin after we disable the last admin account.

Something like sealing the pyramid designer into the pyramid so it could never be duplicated.

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Steven, you are right that ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 9, 2011 11:38 AM PDT

the ADMINISTRATOR account is hidden by default but it is possible that someone actually enabled it then added a password then made it inactive again (or never activated it in the first place)

The command from an elevaated prompt to set the password would have been:
net user administrator password

If this is the case you can either use NTpasswd to remove any password or the same command to change it from another admin account.

Then C:\Windows\system32\net user administrator /active:yes should work without error UNLESS the user actually disabled the account as Bob hinted at.

You might also follow along with the following to see if anything on your end differs:

Logon as a user that is in the Administrators group to do this.

1) You need to make a change in the registry. But you need to run as Administrator to do it. A bit of a catch-22, eh?! From the Start Menu find the "Command Prompt" and right click on it. From the popup menu select "Run as Administrator". A Command window should start. If a Windows security windows opens select to allow this action.

2) From the Command window run the "regedit" program.

3) Go to the key HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/WinLogon. Now add (from the Edit menu) a new key (yes, a "key", not a DWORD). Name this new key "SpecialAccounts".

4) In HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/WinLogon/SpecialAccounts create a key named "UserList".

5) In HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/WinLogon/SpecialAccounts/UserList create a new DWORD entry (not a "key" this time). Name this entry "Administrator" and set the value to "1" (value/digit one).

6) You can now exit from regedit.

7) Now the Administrator account will appear with the other user accounts. But it won't be active yet. It will still be disabled. You need to enable it.

Cool From the Control Panel select Administrative Tools and then select Computer Management. The Computer Management panel will appear. Select "Users and Groups" followed by "Users". Double-click on the "Administrator" account. Make the box with "Account is disabled" be clear (no check mark). Click "OK" to save this.

9) You should now set the password for Administrator. Right click the entry for the Administrator account and select "Set Password..." from the pop-up menu. Follow the directions.

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