Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

User Accounts, A Bit Confused

  1. #1

    User Accounts, A Bit Confused

    when i installed w8 i'm almost certain that i set it up with just one user account, which had administrator privileges, in fact i believe my user accounts in control panel looked like this:

    1. myaccount (local administrator, administrator privileges)
    2. guest account (turned off)

    recently i noticed that i seemed to get uac prompts whenever i tried to do even simple tasks, like install a trusted application. this led me to look at my settings in user accounts again where i found:

    1. myaccount (local administrator, standard privileges)
    2. administrator (local administrator, administrator privileges)
    3 guest account (turned off)

    myaccount no longer had administrator privileges nor was i able to switch from standard to administrator using the settings buttons (change account type) - apparently administrator privileges were assigned to the administrator account, which i discovered is a windows "built-in" account after reading shawn's excellent tutorial on the subject.

    so i ended up disabling the administrator built-in account (lusrmgr.msc) which removed it from the list of accounts in control panel and returned administrator privileges to myaccount - control panel now shows what i remembered after my install:

    1. myaccount (local administrator, administrator privileges)
    2. guest account (turned off)

    fwiw, before i disable the built-in admin account i decided to check it out by switching to it, wanted to see what it was all about and what it looked like, but this appeared to launch a reinstall of windows 8. in a moment of panic i powered down my pc during this process (real smart, i know) thinking that all of the settings in my other account would be lost, wiped clean. in retrospect i'm sure this was not the case at all and that w8 was just setting up the built-in account for its first use - i had to do a system restore thanks to my rashness, but all is good again.

    anyway, a few questions:

    1. by default does w8 automatically enable the built-in admin account during a clean installation and list it among other user accounts in the control panel, and i just didn't notice it? if not, could a third party av install (or other application install) have enabled it, or perhaps an sfc /scannow or dism health check?

    2. i'm the only one that uses my computer, however it is connected to a wireless router that i grant password access to on occasion so others can share the internet connection - am i asking for trouble by disabling the built-in admin account and instead using just one account, with admin privileges?

    any input would be very much appreciated.

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  2. #2

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    Do you have any sharing turned on? An Administrator account is a leftover from Windows 2000 when you did any Drive Sharing, it could only be shared through the Administrator account. Windows 7 began the use of "Homegroups" and if you use those, it doesn't use the Administrator account. I have two main Windows 8 installs, this one was an update from Windows 7, no Administrator account. the other machine, It was a clean install, it has an administrator account.

    But on both machines, I use my Skydrive account instead of a Local account. I don't know why Windows does this. After you deleted the Administrator account, were you able to assign Admin back to your local user?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    1. no, i don't think i have sharing enabled... in the charms menu, "nothing can be shared from the desktop" appears when i click the "share" icon - under settings > networks > connections, sharing is turned off as well. are there other sharing settings that might need attention? also, fwiw, i'm set up in a workgroup as opposed to a homegroup (or domain).

    2. thanks for the admin account history/info, interesting.

    3. built-in administrator account: actually i disabled it rather than delete it, got an ominous warning when i started to delete, that it would be gone forever, so i disabled it instead. after disabling it administrator privileges were automatically switched to my current account, i did not have to change the account from standard to administrator, it automatically switched from standard to administrator.

    also, fwiw, i'm still having issues with uac messages despite administrator permission. for example i just tried to install crashplan and received this "installer information" error:

    the installer has insufficient privileges to access this directory: c:\programdata\microsoft\windows\start menu\crashplan. the installation cannot continue. log on as administrator or contact your system administrator.

    i tried running the install file as administrator and i also took ownership of the referenced folders, nothing worked. i even turned off uac. how is this possible if i'm the administrator with administrator privileges, and there are no other active/enabled accounts? worth mentioning, prior to disabling the built-in administrator account, when the account i was using apparently had standard privileges only, i used take ownership quite a bit, perhaps even on the c: drive (which, after reading more forum tutorials, i found out is a big no-no after reading). could it be that i've just messed up my system? sfc /scannow doesn't show any problems, not does dism health checks.

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  4. #4

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    I don't know I've had similar things happen. The entire Program Files folder is Admin privileged, but your user account is usually an admin, so during an install everything goes in. If you have to manually drag something in there through, it asks for permission to copy it in, which it usually gives.

    Try assigning your account to a Skydrive account and see if that elevates you up. You can do that in PC settings from the Charms bar. If you have a local account it should give you the ability to change it to a Skydrive account. I have all of my windows 8 machines using the same account.

    I do a lot of manipulating system files and files in the Program Files folder, and sometimes I'm locked out. I had this down pat in Windows 7, in Windows 8, everything is locked down. I'm still learning how get around.

    The other thing I do is slide UAC down to the bottom, but not disable it, and I get less of those UAC messages.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    good stuff XweAponX, helpful and informative. actually it wasn't until i installed w8 and started messing around with it that i realized i've never really used user accounts before, not really, never had the need, so this is pretty new to me. the good news is that i finally set up both my local and skydrive accounts to my satisfaction, well almost, so things are headed in the right direction. i still have to dig into actual permissions for each even tho they're both set up as administrator. also, not sure why i've been using the local account all of this time, just switched over to the skydrive account and will be using it going forward, thanks for pointing this out.

    still have some issues to work out, at the top of the list are the metro live icons - i turned them off, disabled them, a while back after coming across a tweak that i thought made sense - didn't see a need for the tiles to constantly update, flash, revolve, etc., nor did i have a need for ms mail or internet explorer, which i uninstalled and/or disabled. now that i want the live tiles back i can't get them - the "turn tiles on/off" icon no longer appears in the metro taskbar and apps won't download/install from the store. not too worried, i'm sure i'll figure it out eventually, and i really don't mind having to fix what i break, gives me a chance to better understand the os.

    fwiw, many of my searches for fixes have often led me to the ms forum and, i have to say, i'm not at all impressed with the "solutions" the resident ms "mvps" tend to dole out, i mean wow - it seems that 99% of the time it's a) run sfc /scannow and if that fails b) do a reset or refresh. this is especially disconcerting considering there's so much bad info out there regarding resets and refreshes, many users are losing a lot of their data thinking that these procedures will leave everything intact except for the os, which will be as good as new. heck, there was one poor soul who the ms mvp almost talked into doing a clean reinstall because his metro store and apps didn't work - fortunately the guy discovered that avast was causing the problem, uninstalled it, and he was up and running again. anyway, thank goodness for this corner of the net.

    re uac - yes, i've lowered it to its lowest setting (not disabled it in the registry, which apparently kills a lot of w8 functionality) and i still get a lot of requests for permission and a few denials. going to spend some time trying to see what permissions i actually do have and where/how they're applied, should at least be an interesting exercise. also, i've read that setting the uac to its lowest setting also kills metro functionality (apps, store, etc.) so i've moved it up in an effort to get the apps working again, no luck. the storeappscaches cmd didn't work either - the quest continues.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

User Accounts, A Bit Confused
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