How to Get Full Administrator Rights in Windows Vista
By Jenny Westberg
Updated February 10, 2017
If you have upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista, you may be surprised that the "Administrator" account seems to be missing. Although Vista allows you to create nominal “Administrator” accounts, by design they do not permit full, unrestricted access to your computer. According to Microsoft’s “Windows Vista: Inside Out,” the primary "Administrator" account is being phased out, starting with Windows Vista. The company’s intent is to protect users against malicious software–and against themselves. Experienced users, however, may be frustrated at Vista’s limitations and may wish to enable a genuine "Administrator" account with full rights and permissions.
Turn off User Account Control
Open the Control Panel.
Select “User Accounts and Family Safety,” then "User Accounts."
Click “Turn User Account Control on or off.”
Remove the check mark next to “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer.”
Set All Accounts to Administrator
Still in the UAC section of Control Panel, select “Manage another account,” and click on a user account.
Click on “Change the account type.” When working with multiple accounts, some changes can only be made if you and the account holder are both logged in with “Administrator” accounts, so you need to change all user accounts to “Administrator.” When you are done making changes, you can change them back to “Standard,” but always leave at least one “Administrator” account.
Select the "Administrator" radio button.
Click "Change Account Type" at the bottom right.
Repeat this procedure to change each user account to “Administrator.” When all user accounts have been changed, close the Control Panel.
Create a Full Administrator Account
Click "Start" (the Windows Vista icon in the lower left of your screen). In the Search box, type "cmd". Right-click on "cmd," and select “Run as Administrator.” An elevated command prompt window will appear.
At the command prompt, type "net user administrator /active:yes", and press "Enter."
Choose a password and assign it to the "Administrator" account, by typing "net user administrator 'password'", where 'password' is your selected password. For instance, if your password is “abc,” type "net user administrator abc". Press "Enter."
Type "exit" and press "Enter."
Log off. When you log back into your "Administrator" account, you will have full rights.
After enabling your "Administrator" account, you will probably want to disable the "balloon tip" reminders that tell you that UAC has been turned off. In Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, you can use the "Local Security Policy" editor to do this. In other versions, you can disable balloon tips by editing the registry. Be sure to back up your registry before making changes.
With full "Administrator" rights, you are in complete control of your computer. You can manage, change and customize your system. You can also do some serious damage. Unless you are experienced with Windows and confident in your abilities, do not enable the full "Administrator" account; use a built-in "Administrator" account with UAC.
- "Windows Vista: Inside Out;" Ed Bott, Carl Siechert and Craig Stinson; 2007
- "Windows Vista Tips & Tricks;" Stuart Yarnold; 2007
Jenny Westberg has been writing since 1986. She contributes to several online and print publications, and her work has been cited in "Harper's" and "The Yale Law Journal." Westberg attended Everest College, where she received her Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies, with honors. She is a board member of the Mental Health Association of Portland.