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Safe Computing: How to reset a blank Administrator password on a Windows computer
How to secure a blank Administrator password on a Windows 7/Vista or Windows XP Professional computer


A computer with a blank password for the Administrator account is highly vulnerable to all sorts of virus, trojan, and hacker attacks. Thus, the first step in securing any such computer is to provide the Administrator account with a secure password. If you do not know your Administrator password, and cannot set or reset it, you will need to visit the OIT Solutions Center.

  • How to set an Administrator password on Windows 7/Vista

    The Administrator account on a Windows 7/Vista computer is disabled by default. OIT recommends keeping this account disabled at all times to help ensure the security of your computer.

    To set or change the Administrator account password on Windows 7/Vista, you must first be logged onto your computer with an account that has administrative privileges. If you do not have access to an account with administrative privileges on your computer, you will need to visit the OIT Solutions Center.

    Once you are logged onto your Windows 7/Vista computer with an account that has administrative privileges, you can do the following to set the Administrator account password:

    • Open the Start Menu and right click on Computer and select Manage from the list.
    • Expand Local Users and Groups
    • Click on Users

    • Right Click on Administrator and select Set Password
    • Click Proceed at the prompt
    • Enter your new password twice and click OK to set the password

  • How to set an Administrator password on Windows XP

    Be sure to secure your computer completely from unwanted access. Turn off Guest access as well as file and print sharing, and turn on the XP Firewall. See the following links for complete instruction: Windows XP: How to secure your computer with security settings

    • Set/Change the Administrator password using Windows Security
      For Windows XP Professional
      • Log in as Administrator to the computer. This means literally typing the word "Administrator" at the login screen. If your current Admin password is truly blank, you should be able to log in to the computer with the password field blank.
      • Make sure that in the Log On To field, you have pulled down to your computer name (rather than "PRINCETON" or "WIN").
      • When you see a Windows desktop, you have successfully logged on locally to your computer as Administrator.
      • Once logged in, press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys simultaneously. This will bring up a Windows Security window that gives you a set of options, including Change Password.
      • Click on Change Password.
      • Provide the system with a new password (you will need to type your new password twice) in the window that appears and accept it by clicking on the OK button.
      • This will return you to the Windows Security window. Click Shutdown, or log out, in order to apply the setting.
      • You can now log in again to the Princeton domain by selecting Princeton in the Log On To field using your Princeton netID.
      • Your computer no longer has a blank Administrator password.


    • Set/Change the Administrator Account password using Safe Mode
      For computers with Windows XP Home Edition or Windows XP Professional in a workgroup:
      • Boot the computer in Safe Mode by turning the machine on and immediately pressing the F8 key several times until the Advanced Windows menu appears.
      • Use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode and press the ENTER key.
      • At the login screen, click on the Administrator icon and type in the password (or hit ENTER if the password has not been previously set.)
      • If you do not see an Administrator icon, type in the username Administrator
      • Click Start, and pull up to Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel).
      • Click User Accounts.
      • Click the Administrator
      • Click Change the Password button
      • Type the new password, and then click Change Password.
      • Quit the User Accounts tool, and then restart the computer.


    • Set/Change the Administrator password using command line prompt
      The Administrator account is present on every Windows XP machine (all users are by default given the rights of an Administrator) but it is hidden. If you cannot log on to Windows by using a particular user account, but you can log on to another account that has administrative credentials, follow these steps to apply a password (and to check that all other accounts require a password):
      • Click on the Start button and pull up to Run
      • In the Open field type the following command: control userpasswords2

      • Make sure that Users must enter a name and password to use this computer is checked
      • Choose the Administrator account and click on Reset Password. In Windows XP Home this is often called the Owner account, and by default has a blank password.

    After you log on as an administrator to a computer that is not a member of a domain, when you double-click User Accounts in Control Panel to change the password for the built-in Administrator account, the Administrator account may not appear in the list of user accounts. Consequently, you cannot change its password.

    This behavior can occur because the Administrator account logon option appears only in Safe mode if more than one account is created on the system. The Administrator account is available in Normal mode only if there are no other accounts on the system.

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Last Updated:
March 25, 2016

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