Lost Administrator Rights in Windows 10/11? Regain Admin Rights

Summary: This article tells you how to restore your user account’s lost administrator rights and privileges in Windows 10 and 11.

This article discusses the “lost administrator rights” issue caused by tampered user account group membership. Like the ‘lost password’ scenario, losing your account’s administrator rights & privileges is an awkward lock-out situation where the user can’t run anything that requires elevation.

If your user account has lost admin rights, it may have been caused by malware. Or you may have inadvertently set yourself a “Standard User” via Account settings or incorrectly configured the Local Security Policy or user account group membership.

This means you can’t return to the User Account settings page and set yourself as administrator. In such cases, the Yes button in the UAC dialog will be missing or grayed out.

UAC Yes Button Missing

There is a simple trick to regain lost administrator rights and privileges for your account!

Lost the account password? It’s a different issue.

If you have forgotten the passwords for the built-in administrator and the user accounts and cannot log in, this article doesn’t apply. It’s a different scenario, and the solution for that is available in the article Windows 10/11 Password Reset Methods for Lost Password Scenario.

(I had to split the content into two articles for better clarity. The article addresses the “lost admin rights” issue, and the linked article above addresses the “lost password” issue.)


If your user account has turned into a standard or Guest account (by incorrect group membership change), you’ll be unable to run any program elevated. The Yes button in the User Account Control (UAC) dialog will be missing.

To restore administrative rights and privileges for the user account, follow the method below:

Method 1: Use Safe mode to log in as the built-in Administrator

Log in to the built-in Administrator account via Safe Mode and then promote your user account to an administrator. The built-in “Administrator” account password is blank by default. But if you set a password earlier, this method assumes you remember the “Administrator” account password.

tips bulb iconThe built-in “Administrator” account shows up on the sign-in screen while in Safe Mode if no other administrator account user exists on the computer. The built-in Administrator shows up on the login screen (in Safe Mode) irrespective of whether it’s currently enabled (active) or not.

  1. Click Start, click on the Power button, press and hold the Shift key down, and click Restart. This starts the Windows Recovery Environment. For other methods to access WinRE, see the article How to access Windows Recovery Environment.
  2. In Windows RE, click Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings.

    windows RE startup settings
  3. In Startup Settings, press the 4 or F4 button on your keyboard.
    windows re startup settings
  4. Windows will now restart in Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, you’ll see the “Administrator” account on the sign-in screen.
  5. Click “Administrator,” type the password, and log in to the account.
  6. Fix the group membership of your original account using the following command-line syntax from an elevated Command Prompt window:
    net localgroup administrators {username} /add


    net localgroup administrators Ramesh /add

    (For more information, see the section fixing the Group Membership covered in the next section of this article.)

    That’s it! You have now promoted your user account to an administrator (from Standard or Guest account privileges) account.

  7. Log off from the built-in Administrator account.
  8. Restart Windows.
  9. Log in to your original account now — e.g., Ramesh

This restores your user account’s administrator privileges. The UAC Yes button should appear now.

More Information: Fix the group membership of your account (Set it as administrator)

After logging in as the built-in Administrator, you need to fix the group membership of your original (corrupt) user account. The corrupt account may appear as Standard User or Guest — i.e., it’s not a member of the Administrators group.

Option 1: Using admin Command Prompt

Open elevated Command Prompt, and type the following command:

net localgroup administrators {username} /add

Example: If the username is RobertM, run this command:

net localgroup administrators RobertM /add

make user account administrator group membership net localgroup

Option 2: Using Netplwiz.exe

You can view and change the group membership of accounts by running the netplwiz.exe or control userpasswords2 command from the Run dialog.

make user account administrator group membership net localgroup

To fix the user account group membership and make it an administrator, from the user accounts dialog shown above:

  • Select your account → Properties → Group Membership → Administrator → OK.
    lost administrator rights - standard user to administrator - userpasswords2

Close and reopen the control userpasswords2 dialog. You’ll see that the account RobertM , in this example, is made an administrator.

make user account administrator group membership net localgroup

Log in to the user account and see if the rights and privileges are restored, and you can run elevated programs.

Method 2: System Restore Rollback from Windows RE

If you haven’t turned off System Restore and the restore points are available, you can roll back the system configuration to a previous working state.

System Restore rollback replaces the entire registry hives from a previous snapshot. This option is convenient if your group membership was recently changed; System Restore will restore your previous settings.

System Restore via Windows RE

For more information, check out the article Perform System Restore Rollback Offline in Windows 10 or 11 [Recovery Options]

If you’ve forgotten the built-in administrator and user account passwords, none of the above methods will help. In that case, see the article Windows 10/11 Password Reset Methods for Lost Password Scenario to reclaim access to your account and promote the account to an administrator.

I hope this guide helped restore administrator rights and privileges for your user account in Windows 10/11 and earlier OS.

One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?

One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
  • Pin it!
  • Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
  • Tweet it!
So thank you so much for your support. It won't take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right below. :)

Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

6 thoughts on “Lost Administrator Rights in Windows 10/11? Regain Admin Rights”

  1. I would like to say thank you to Ramesh and his winhelponline.com for an excellent problem solving article. I had somehow been relegated to a Guest account on my own computer and could not find a way to get my Admin privileges back until I found this article. Now I am happily back to normal and I didn’t have to reinstall my operating system to do it. This page will be permanently bookmarked for future use and reference.

  2. How to Get Your Admin Privileges Back

    I was reading everything I could find to get my admin privileges back, and not one article helped me. Some articles that had good intentions required admin privileges just to do the steps required to get those privileges back. I spent so much time researching I was getting very discouraged. Once I found the solution, I vowed to share it just in case this solution I found would help others in my situation. So try this if all else fails for you.

    Open Task Manager. You can do this by right clicking on Start, then select Task Manager.You can also press Win key + X together to do this.

    Next you want to click on the tab “App History” in Task Manager. Scroll down until you find “Windows Terminal” and you click it once to highlight it, then go up and click on File, then click on “Run New Task”. That will open up System Configuration. Click on the Tools tab, then scroll down to the Command Prompt, click on it, then down at the right lower bottom, click on the Launch button.

    You should now have your Admin privileges back.

    Please let me know if you liked this article, and it helped you!

    • What you have written is nothing more than a convoluted route to opening the Command Prompt. You can do that by pressing and typing “cmd”! Not helpful.

Leave a Reply