How to access the computer after you disable the administrator account

This article describes how to access your Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computer by using the Administrator account after you disable the local Administrator account.

Original product version:   Windows Server 2003
Original KB number:   814777

Summary

You can use Windows Server 2003 to disable the local Administrator account. This feature is included to provide an additional level of security in your organization. Additionally, the default Remote Installation Services (RIS) installation disables the local Administrator account on the destination computer.

Log on to Windows by using Safe mode

To log on to Windows by using the disabled local Administrator account, start Windows in Safe mode. Even when the Administrator account is disabled, you are not prevented from logging on as Administrator in Safe mode. When you have logged on successfully in Safe mode, re-enable the Administrator account, and then log on again. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Start the computer, and then press the F8 key when the Power On Self Test (POST) is complete.
  2. From the Windows Advanced Options menu, use the ARROW keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.
  3. Select the operating system that you want to start, and then press ENTER.
  4. Log on to Windows as Administrator. If you are prompted to do so, click to select an item in the Why did the computer shut down unexpectedly list, and then click OK.
  5. On the message that states Windows is running in safe mode, click OK.
  6. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
  7. Expand Local Users and Groups, click Users, right-click Administrator in the right pane, and then click Properties.
  8. Click to clear the Account is disabled check box, and then click OK.

If the server is a domain controller, the Local Users and Groups are not available in Computer Management. To enable the Administrator account, follow these steps:

  1. Start your computer in to Safe mode with networking support.

  2. Log on as the administrator.

  3. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press Enter.

  4. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter:

    net user administrator /active:yes
    

Log on to Windows by using Recovery Console

You can use the recovery console to access the computer even if the local Administrator account is disabled. Disabling the local Administrator account does not prevent you from logging on to the recovery console as Administrator.