Administrator for dummies please

  • Thread starter Switzerland calling
  • Start date

S

Switzerland calling

I know this is probably going to sound like a ridiculous question...

I have 1 pc and am 1 user - simple.

I have recently set-up the whole pc again from scratch, so I know it (I
thought) inside out.

When I log on I log on as "me" (there is an option for a "Guest" which is
hidden) - that's it under "User Accounts". I have a password for that.

However... am I not also the Administrator? And, if I am, what is my
"Administrator password" please? I have never been asked to submit an
Administrator password so I didn't even know there was one! (Herein lies the
"dummy" bit).

I needed to "Run as" Administrator for the "Command prompt" option, and it
asked me for a password (I tried the password for "me" above/ leaving it
blank/ just a space), but it tells me "Logon failure: unknown user name or
bad password".

I have an even dummer thought here - is there even an "Administrator
account" setup?

Appreciate any help as this has surprised me a bit! Thanks.
 
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M

Malke

Switzerland said:
I know this is probably going to sound like a ridiculous question...

I have 1 pc and am 1 user - simple.

I have recently set-up the whole pc again from scratch, so I know it (I
thought) inside out.

When I log on I log on as "me" (there is an option for a "Guest" which is
hidden) - that's it under "User Accounts". I have a password for that.

However... am I not also the Administrator? And, if I am, what is my
"Administrator password" please? I have never been asked to submit an
Administrator password so I didn't even know there was one! (Herein lies
the "dummy" bit).

I needed to "Run as" Administrator for the "Command prompt" option, and it
asked me for a password (I tried the password for "me" above/ leaving it
blank/ just a space), but it tells me "Logon failure: unknown user name or
bad password".

What version of XP do you have - Home, Pro, or Media Center? Here is a
general explanation of user accounts.

XP is a multi-user operating system, no matter if only one person is using
it. In all multi-user operating systems - NT, Win2k, XP, Vista, Unix, Linux,
Mac OSX - there is the one built-in account that is "god" on the system. In
Windows terminology, that is "Administrator". In the *nix world, it is
"root". This is a necessary account and is not normally used in everyday
work. You cannot delete the built-in Administrator account nor would you
ever want to. In Vista, Mac OS X, and some Linux distros, the built-in
Administrator is disabled by default.

In XP Home the built-in Administrator account can only be accessed in Safe
Mode. In XP Pro/MCE you may be inadvertently running as Administrator if you
installed Windows and took that as your daily user account. If you did this,
make another administrative user account to be used only in an emergency
(when your own account is corrupted or otherwise inaccessible). Call it
"Tech" or "CompAdmin" or the like.

I don't know why you need to run cmd as Administrator unless you are working
from a Limited or Standard account. You only need to do this in Vista, not
XP. So you will need to explain what you are attempting to do here. If you
have XP Pro/MCE and didn't set a password for Administrator, there is none.
In XP Home setups you wouldn't have been asked for an Administrator password
so here again there is none.

Do not use the Guest account you see in the User Accounts applet in Control
Panel. The Guest account is a special system account, not one meant for when
you are feeling hospitable. It is disabled by default in Windows XP, Vista,
Linux, Unix, and OS X for a reason.

From TechNet:

"The Guest account is intended for users who require temporary access to the
system. However, if this account is enabled, a security risk may exist
because an unauthorized user could gain anonymous access to the system
through this account."

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb418978(TechNet.10).aspx

Hopefully that has given you a better understanding of the user account
structure. Post back with what version of XP you have, the Service Pack
level, and what you are trying to accomplish so we can help you solve that
particular problem.

Malke
 
S

Switzerland calling

Hi Malke. Sorry late reply but didn't get notification of post!

Thanks for clear explanation of Administrator.

I have Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2002 SP3.

In my original setup when pc delivered, I had an Administrator account
seperate from my own account with seperate folders under c: drive. As I have
just set up whole pc again, I never came across the issue of Administrator
account en route (the thing I had to do at c> was a one-off to fix or
identify a small bug - which has subsequently gone now). i.e. I don't "need"
the Administrator account, but in my little memory I seem to remember it was
good to have and to give it a password, not a blank (which seems to
correspond with your advice below).

I guess my question is now - how do I re-establish the Administrator account
and my own account seperately please?

p.s. thanks also for the good warning on "Guest" (I naively thought it was
for visitors!)
 
M

Malke

Switzerland said:
Hi Malke. Sorry late reply but didn't get notification of post!

Thanks for clear explanation of Administrator.

I have Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2002 SP3.

In my original setup when pc delivered, I had an Administrator account
seperate from my own account with seperate folders under c: drive. As I
have just set up whole pc again, I never came across the issue of
Administrator account en route (the thing I had to do at c> was a one-off
to fix or identify a small bug - which has subsequently gone now). i.e. I
don't "need" the Administrator account, but in my little memory I seem to
remember it was good to have and to give it a password, not a blank (which
seems to correspond with your advice below).

I guess my question is now - how do I re-establish the Administrator
account and my own account seperately please?

Since you have XP MCE the built-in Administrator is available in regular
mode. I suspect you are using the built-in Administrator for your own daily
work. Perhaps you renamed it, which doesn't change the underlying
files/folders. I'm having a hard time figuring out from your post exactly what
you did.

Go to Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Users and
Groups. Highlight Users on the left and look at the users listed on the
right. You should see Administrator as one of the users. Do you see another
user with your name?

If you only have Administrator (never mind the system accounts), then you
are using the built-in Administrator. Since you are already using it, just
leave things as they are with that account and continue to use it. But you
should create a new user account called "CompAdmin" or "Tech" or the like as
*an* administrator (not *the* Administrator). You don't ever need to log
into it but it will be good to have it for emergencies since you are using
the built-in Administrator account and that's the one normally used for this
purpose. You want at least two administrative accounts on the system in case
your daily one becomes corrupted or otherwise unusable. If you only have the
one account, you have no fallback position.

The only kicker with this is that in XP MCE/Pro when you create a second
administrative user, the built-in Administrator (the one I'm guessing you're
using now) becomes hidden from the Welcome Screen. You can handle this in
various ways:

1. If you are using the Welcome Screen, to show the Administrator icon, do
this:

Enable Administrator account on Welcome Screen -
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/scripts_desc/xp_admin_ok.htm

2. OR use the Classic Logon Box. This will require you to type
"Administrator" for the username and whatever password (or none) you
assigned.

Control Panel>User Accounts>Change the way users log on - disable the
Welcome Screen.

3. OR set your computer to automatically log onto the Administrator account
(yours) so you go directly to your Desktop:

Configure Windows to Automatically Login (MVP Ramesh) -
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/Autologon.htm

Malke
 
S

Switzerland calling

Thanks Malke, feel I’m getting there slowly…

What I have done: Go to Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer
Management>Users and Groups. Highlight Users on the left and look at the
users listed on the right. You should see Administrator as one of the users.
Do you see another
user with your name?
- Administrator is one of the users in the list i.e. it is still “hiddenâ€
there in the background
- I also have “Lynda†(me) as a user (with Administrator rights) i.e. I am
not using the built-in Administrator

Then I tried: Control Panel>User Accounts>Change the way users log on -
disable the Welcome Screen.
- I tried to login as “Administrator†with a blank password, but it did not
accept that (“name or password incorrectâ€)
- I then logged on as “Lynda†without a problem.

It seems the “underlying†Administrator is still there but I can’t access it
– doesn’t that make me “unsafe†if something happens to my main “Lyndaâ€
account?

I have read about problems with Administrator passwords, but I have never
had one since the pc came delivered setup from Dell.

Thanks for any further guidance.
 
S

Switzerland calling

Hi Malke. Just a quick feedback. I ended up rebuilding my pc and in the
process discovered that I did indeed have an Administrator account & password.
I now understand the process more clearly.
Thanks for your help at the time, Lynda
 
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A

Andy

you should use that log on only to make changes to the other accounts.
using a pc with admin log on is a good way for a hacker to take control of
you're system if it were compromised.
 

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