Accounts: Rename administrator account

Applies to

  • Windows 10

This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, and security considerations for this policy setting.

Reference

The Accounts: Rename administrator account policy setting determines whether a different account name is associated with the security identifier (SID) for the administrator account.

Because the administrator account exists on all Windows 10 for desktop editions (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education), renaming the account makes it slightly more difficult for attackers to guess this user name and password combination.

Rename the Administrator account by specifying a value for the Accounts: Rename administrator account policy setting.

Possible values

  • User-defined text
  • Not defined

Best practices

  • Be sure to inform users who are authorized to use this account of the new account name.

Location

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

Default values

The following table lists the actual and effective default values for this policy. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.

Server type or GPO Default value
Default Domain Policy Not defined
Default Domain Controller Policy Not defined
Stand-Alone Server Default Settings Administrator
DC Effective Default Settings Administrator
Member Server Effective Default Settings Administrator
Client Computer Effective Default Settings Administrator

Policy management

This section describes features and tools that are available to help you manage this policy.

Restart requirement

None. Changes to this policy become effective without a computer restart when they are saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.

Policy conflict considerations

None.

Group Policy

This policy setting can be configured by using the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) to be distributed through Group Policy Objects (GPOs). If this policy is not contained in a distributed GPO, this policy can be configured on the local device by using the Local Security Policy snap-in.

Security considerations

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.

Vulnerability

The Administrator account exists on all versions Windows 10 for desktop editions. If you rename this account, it is slightly more difficult for unauthorized persons to guess this privileged user name and password combination. Beginning with Windows Vista, the person who installs the operating system specifies an account that is the first member of the Administrator group and has full rights to configure the computer so this countermeasure is applied by default on new installations. If a device is upgraded from a previous version of Windows, the account with the name administrator is retained with all the rights and privileges that were defined for the account in the previous installation.

The built-in administrator account cannot be locked out, regardless of how many times an attacker might use a bad password. This capability makes the administrator account a popular target for brute-force attacks that attempt to guess passwords. The value of this countermeasure is lessened because this account has a well-known SID, and there are non-Microsoft tools that allow authentication by using the SID rather than the account name. Therefore, even if you rename the Administrator account, an attacker could launch a brute-force attack by using the SID to log on.

Countermeasure

Specify a new name in the Accounts: Rename administrator account setting to rename the Administrator account.

Potential impact

You must provide users who are authorized to use this account with the new account name. (The guidance for this setting assumes that the Administrator account was not disabled.)

Security Options