How to Enable the Built-in Administrator in Windows 10 via Recovery Options

There are situations where you’ll need to activate and use the built-in Administrator account in Windows. The built-in Administrator account is disabled by default. If your existing admin user account gets locked up and you need to create a second administrator account, you’ll need to use the built-in administrator account to accomplish the task.

This article tells you how to enable the built-in administrator account (named “Administrator“) in Windows 10 and log in to it from Safe mode. This article assumes that you’re unable to start Windows 10 normally.

How to Enable the Built-in Administrator in Windows 10 via Recovery Options

Enabling the built-in administrator account can be done through Windows Recovery Environment (aka “Recovery Options”), if Windows doesn’t boot normally or if you’re unable to login to your account.

Note: If a perfectly working Windows 10 computer with an administrator user account already present and working correctly, you won’t have the need to enable the built-in administrator (“Administrator”) account. This article assumes that you’re either unable to start Windows 10 normally, or unable to login to your administrator-level user account due to profile corruption or similar issues.

On the other hand, for “lost password” situations, you need to activate the built-in administrator account using the information in the article Fix: Lost Administrator Rights or Password in Windows 10

Step 1: Login to Advanced Recovery Options (Windows RE)

  1. From the sign-in screen in Windows 10, press and hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
  2. With the SHIFT key still pressed, click the Power button and then click Restart.
  3. In the Recovery Options menu, click Troubleshoot, and then click Advanced Options.
    windows recovery options

Note: If Windows 10 doesn’t boot, follow these steps to access the Recovery Options screen.

  • Boot the system using your Windows installation media or Recovery drive, if you’ve created one already. If you don’t have one, download the Windows 10 ISO and then create a bootable media from another computer.
  • In the Windows setup page that appears when booting using the Windows installation media, click Next
  • Click Repair your computer.

Step 2: Enable the Built-in Administrator account from Windows RE

  1. In the Advanced options dialog, click Command Prompt.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press ENTER:
    net user administrator /active:yes

    net user administrator active yes winre

  3. Type exit to return to Recovery Options menu.
  4. Exit and Continue to Windows 10.

Step 3: Login to built-in Administrator account

  1. When you get to the sign-in screen, hold the SHIFT key down while you select Power icon, and click Restart.
  2. Your computer restarts to the “Choose an option” screen.
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  4. After your computer restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select 4 or F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode, or select 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.
  5. Log in as Administrator from Safe mode.
  6. Carry out the administration tasks using this account, such as creating a new administrator account or fixing registry or file system permissions etc.
  7. For security reasons, it’s better to disable it once you finish all your tasks using this account. To disable the built-in Administrator account, open an elevated Command Prompt window and then type:
    net user administrator /active:no

That’s it! Use your built-in administrator account very scarcely.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

2 thoughts on “How to Enable the Built-in Administrator in Windows 10 via Recovery Options”

  1. The above steps doesn’t work. Even selecting the command prompt asks me to sign in to the administrator account of which i forgot the password.

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