Administrator Account is Already in Use as Main Account?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Administration' started by Kcpirana, May 16, 2007.

  1. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    I'm not sure if I've really messed something up or not. When I was setting
    up my computer, I forgot to set up a new account for myself and I've
    completely customized, installed to, and am using the Administrator account
    as my primary account. Is there anyway to duplicate this account (so I
    don't have to start from scratch) and then how would I restore this one to
    the use for which it was intended? Or can I create a new administrator
    account? I tried to do that, but it wouldn't let me name an account
    "Administrator" as it was already in use. When I logged off and back on,
    however, it only showed the account that I renamed with my name.

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 16, 2007
    #1
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  2. Kcpirana

    jimmuh Guest

    I'm thinking you may not be in as much of a predicament as you think you are.

    We need a little information. Go to Start | Run. type "control
    userpasswords2" in the Open field, and hit the Enter key. Make a list of the
    accounts that are listed there, and come back to tell us what they are.

    i'm thinking that your "renamed" Administrator account is really a different
    administrative account that you gave a name to when it was automatically
    created for you. And your original built-in Administrator account is probably
    okay. It isn't active by default, so you would have had to do something to
    activate it deliberately to be able to be logging on to it as your regular
    user account. It couldn't have happened by accident. Well, not likely, anyway.
     
    jimmuh, May 16, 2007
    #2
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  3. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    Guest & Owner are the only two accounts listed. In addition, the box for
    requiring user name and password is checked, but I don't enter a password.
    I don't think I even set one up.

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #3
  4. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    Suddenly the Owner Account is gone and I'm being told I don't have
    permissions (?) to get to the Control Panel, etc. I'm scared to log off!

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #4
  5. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    OK, this is nuts - checked again and now there are two Owner accounts, but I
    still get the "Windows cannot access device, path, or file. You may not
    have the appropriate permissions to access the item" (in this case, Control
    Panel).

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #5
  6. Kcpirana

    jimmuh Guest

    You'd have to provide quite a bit more information for me to be sure, but I'm
    guessing that Owner is your regular account. And it is an administrative
    account. (You can check in User Accounts in the Control Panel to be sure.)
    Guest is, of course, the default Guest account, and it normally shouldn't be
    enabled. Administrator isn't showing up because you never (I hope) activated
    it and logged into it. You don't have to enter a password because you never
    created one. And you can't create an account called "Administrator" because
    there already IS an account with that name -- the built-in Administrator
    account.

    I can't really know this, because, as I said, you haven't given us enough
    information. But if you didn't take special steps to activate the built-in
    Administrator account, then I'm betting my guess is accurate. The only way
    you could accidentally wander into using the Administrator account in Vista
    is if the original installation of the OS was botched -- badly. So, if
    neither you nor anyone else deliberately activated that Administrator account
    (It's not something you do by making a couple of moves with the mouse.), I'm
    thinking you're safe.

    In order to activate the built-in admin account you would have had to issue
    a command from an Administrator-run CLI, or you would have had to use the
    compmgmt.msc console, or you would have had to use a special feature of the
    unattended install process. If you didn't do those, then you're probably okay.

    BTW, I just realized that you could just go to Start | Run, enter
    "compmgmt.msc", and hit the Enter key. If you expand Local Users and Groups
    in the left pane of the console and select Users, in the right pane of the
    window you should see ALL of your user accounts -- including the built-in
    Administrator account. I should have thought of that before. The only thing
    is that I don't know whether or not you're using one of the "crippled"
    versions of Vista. I've never looked at those, the ones that don't have
    policy editors. I don't know if they also don't have some version of the
    computer management console.

    Please check it out and let us know either way. If you don't find what
    you're looking for please post back with information about your Vista version
    and the exact steps you took in configuring this system.
     
    jimmuh, May 17, 2007
    #6
  7. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    OK, I used "compmgmt.msc" and I don't see "local users and groups" anywhere.

    Let's see - I booted up the computer and started working and using the
    account that was there when I booted up. When looking for the administrator
    account, I did try to rename the Owner folder with my name and I succeeded
    in the regular user accounts area, but not in changing the name "Owner". I
    tried to correct that, and that's when two Owner accounts showed up and I
    have no access to the Control Panel, etc. I can't perform a system restore,
    as the "there was an error detected in the Volume Shadow Copy Service." I'm
    afraid to log off, as I've never set any passwords and my account is somehow
    lost or changed, even though I'm on it right now.

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #7
  8. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    To clarify, I succeeded in changing "owner" to my name on the folder that
    shows up on the desktop and in the start menu, but not "Owner" in the actual
    Users file, which is what I tried.

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #8
  9. Kcpirana

    jimmuh Guest

    Okay. You've pretty much confirmed my suspicions. It is almost certainly true
    that you have NOT done anything to the Administrator account. You have still
    not told me what version of Vista you are running, but your observation that
    there is no Local users and groups in the Computer Management console seems
    to indicate that you have one of the versions of Vista that is devoid of a
    policy editor. (I'm not familiar with these versions. I avoid them like the
    plague, but only because they just wouldn't work for me. My computers all
    have to be members of domains, and you can't do that with computers running
    Windows versions that don't have policy editors.)

    If you boot into Safe Mode (hit F8 key repeatedly after passing the BIOS
    screen at startup time, you may be able to log in as Administrator (no
    password) and fix the system. I say "may" because it's possible that the
    system doesn't think your "Owner" account has been damaged sufficiently to
    warrant allowing the automatic logon to the built-in Administrator account.
    The problem is that you have done some damage (from what I can tell) to your
    profile, but it may not be totally disabled. In that case you may have to
    straighten things out from within the farkled Owner account.

    In the future please remember the first rule of holes: When you are in over
    your head, stop digging! You really must learn something about the way Vista
    handles its user accounts and the way ntfs permissions work before trying to
    do the sort of invasive manipulations you've been doing. Were you not seeing
    warnings from User Account Control as you made these various changes? UAC
    wasn't turned off, was it?

    You see, each user account has its own location for storing its profile. You
    started off, apparently, with an "Owner" account. That was probably set up by
    the OEM that installed the OS on your computer. Once you log on to any
    account in Windows a profile location with that name on the directory
    structure is created, and that may have been done effectively even before you
    ever got the computer by the unattended install method used by the OEM. Now,
    you could have changed name of the Owner account to one that suited you
    through the Windows Control Panel | User Accounts interface, but the name of
    the DIRECTORY where the profile for that account is stored would not (and
    should not) be changed at that point. If you do change the name of that
    directory the account won't be able to find its profile at boot time, and it
    will create another one, usually with an extension added to the name.

    I don't know what to tell you now. You might just be better off saving any
    data to an external drive or to another system and then doing a fresh
    re-installation of the OS -- assuming the OEM has provided recovery media or
    a recovery partition. You might also learn quite a bit by trying to fix this.
    It doesn't sound as though the system is really messed up badly, but it could
    be pretty difficult for someone who isn't familiar with the way user accounts
    and the file system work to fix.

    BTW, if you do a fresh re-installation, maybe you'll be happiest if you
    create a new account for yourself with your own name. Its profile will be
    stored under the name you choose for the account. That user account could be
    a non-admin user, and you would reserve the use of the Owner account for
    administrative purposes. The neat thing about Vista is that, when you are
    logged in as a non-admin and try to do something that requires admin
    privileges, UAC will prompt you for credentials instead of just refusing to
    do the task. You would then enter "Owner" as the admin name and the password
    for the "Owner" account in order to be able to proceed with the task. It's a
    recommended way of using Vista. When you're logged in as an admin and try to
    do something that requires admin credentials UAC will simply ask you if you
    wish to proceed. If you choose yes it assumes you know what you're doing and
    activates the admin credentials to perform the task. (That's the default
    setting, anyway.)

    I hope you get it figured out. I can imagine that this situation is very
    annoying.
     
    jimmuh, May 17, 2007
    #9
  10. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    Thank you so much for the information! I'm sorry I neglected to identify my
    OS - It's Vista Home Premium 32-bit.

    As of this morning (and my husband got up before me, so chances are he just
    booted it up because he didn't know anything about this), I can log on to my
    account as normal, access the control panel, internet options, etc, with
    absolutely no problems. Under USERS in the CP, I see now two accounts with
    my name - both identified as adminstrators. Since it's in the CP Users
    (accessible even to us Idiots), I imagine I can delete it without concern,
    as my now-working account is easily identifiable.

    So, barring anymore difficulties, I think I'm reading that you don't *think
    the Administrator account was activated, correct? If so, should I activate
    it?

    You have been great! Thanks so far and TIA!

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #10
  11. Kcpirana

    jimmuh Guest

    That's good news. It sounds as though the system automatically recovered from
    the condition that was causing you so much grief. (It can revert
    automatically to a restore point OR it can offer the option of booting to a
    last known good configuration at boot time, I guess. I wonder if your husband
    saw anything when he started the system this morning?)

    No, I wouldn't activate the Administrator account. It isn't supposed to be
    activated - -except when it is automatically activated during emergencies --
    like when there is no other admin account available on the system. Normally,
    you are not allowed to log in under Administrator in Vista, and that's the
    way it's supposed to work.

    Another point: I suggest that you NOT delete the "bad" account -- at least
    not if it's name is very close to the name of your "good" account. Instead,
    rename it to something really different. Then log back in to be sure that you
    really are using the account you think you are using. While you are logged on
    to your good account, open a command line interface -- Start | Run, type
    "cmd" in the Open field, hit Enter. Look at the prompt before the blinking
    cursor in that window. It tells you where your profile for that account is
    located. Take note of it so that you know where all of your "stuff" is.

    Likewise, if you decided to get rid the directory under C:\Users which
    contains the profile that you think you don't need any more. Just try
    renaming that directory. If you rename it and operate without any problems
    for a few days, then go ahead and delete it.

    I think / hope you're okay now.

    Oh, and as for the "us idiots" comment. Don't be hard on yourself. Just be
    careful. After all, how do you think I learned this stuff?

    ;-)

    Trust me on this. If you're human, you're an idiot -- at least part of the
    time. The trick is to learn to minimize the damage you do.
     
    jimmuh, May 17, 2007
    #11
  12. Kcpirana

    Kcpirana Guest

    Thanks again! I'm going to follow your directions very carefully! I doubt
    my husband saw anything out of the ordinary this morning, or he would have
    mentioned it, I'm pretty sure.

    :)

    Kristy
     
    Kcpirana, May 17, 2007
    #12
  13. Kcpirana

    jimmuh Guest

    You've very welcome, Kristy. Please post back if you run into any problems
    with the cleanup.
     
    jimmuh, May 17, 2007
    #13
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