UITS

Setting and resetting a Windows administrator password

Note: To set an administrator password, you must be logged into the computer as an administrator.

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Note: At Indiana University, the University Information Security Office (UISO) recommends that you normally refrain from running your Windows computer as an administrator. For more, see What is the principle of least privilege?


Setting the administrator password

Universal steps

These steps work in every case as long as you're able to log in as an administrator.

  1. Press Win-r. In the "Open:" field, type compmgmt.msc, and then press Enter.
  2. Double-click the Users folder. On the right, in the list of local users, right-click the account name for the Administrator account, and select Set Password.

    Note: On some computers, the account will not be named "Administrator" because the owner or administrator either changed that name or added administrative accounts with different usernames. In either case, you will need to know which of the accounts in the list is the designated Administrator account.

    Also be aware that on Windows Vista by default, the account named "Administrator" is disabled. Setting a password does not automatically re-enable the account, but it is useless to change a disabled account's password if your goal is to affect currently active administrator accounts. If you do need to enable this account, do so in the account's settings.

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Alternate methods

You can also change the administrator password using the "User Accounts" control in the Control Panel. Some users may prefer this method to the universal steps above. Follow the instructions below for your situation and operating system.

If your computer is joined to Indiana University's Active Directory

In Windows Vista, the control panels where you set or change your password display differently depending on whether your computer is joined to ADS. Note that in any case, these instructions are for changing passwords for accounts residing directly on your computer, not for Active Directory passwords. This holds true even if your Active Directory account is an administrator on the computer.

Windows 8.x

  1. Press Win-r. In the dialog box, type compmgmt.msc, and then press Enter.
  2. Expand Local Users and Groups and select the Users folder.
  3. Right-click the Administrator account and select Password.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the task.

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Windows 7

  1. From the Start menu, select Control Panel. If you are not already in Category View, in the upper left, click Category View. Then, click User Accounts and Family Safety.
  2. Under "User Accounts", click Change your Windows password. If prompted, click Continue.
  3. Under "Make changes to your user account", click Set a password.
  4. In the "New password" and "Confirm new password" fields, enter the password. Click OK twice.

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Windows Vista

  1. From the Start menu, select Control Panel. If you are not already in Classic View, in the upper left, click Classic View. Then, double-click the User Accounts icon.
  2. Under "Make changes to your user account", click Manage User Accounts. If prompted, click Continue.
  3. From the Users tab, click the name of the administrative account, and then click Reset Password....
  4. In the "New password" and "Confirm new password" fields, enter the password. Click OK twice.

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On a computer not in a domain

Windows 8.x

  1. Press Win-r. In the dialog box, type compmgmt.msc, and then press Enter.
  2. Expand Local Users and Groups and select the Users folder.
  3. Right-click the Administrator account and select Password.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the task.

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Windows 7 and Vista

  1. From the Start menu, select Control Panel. If you are not already in Classic View, in the upper left, click Classic View. Then, double-click the User Accounts icon.
  2. In the "Make changes to your user account" window:
    1. If you are logged into the administrator account whose password you want to change:
      1. Select Change your password.
      2. In the "Current password" field, enter your current password.
      3. In the "New password" and "Confirm new password" fields, enter the new password.
      4. Optionally, enter a password hint in the last field.
      5. Click Change password.
    2. If you are logged into a different account from the one with the password you want to change:
      1. Select Manage another account.
      2. From the list that appears, select the account for which you want to change the password.
      3. Select Change the password.
      4. In the "Current password" field, enter your current password.
      5. In the "New password" and "Confirm new password" fields, enter your new password.
      6. Optionally, enter a password hint in the last field.
      7. Click Change password.

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If you forget the administrator password

If you forget the administrator password for your computer, the Support Center's Carry-in Consulting service may be able to reset it; see IUB Carry-in Consulting services and pricing.

To reset your administrator password, Support Center consultants must verify that you own the computer. Consultants can:

If consultants cannot verify ownership, they cannot reset the administrator password; they can instead perform a clean installation of the operating system. Installation cost will be based on normal Carry-in Consulting fees.

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This is document arni in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-04-09.

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