Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

How to change the picture for the built-in admin account?

  1. #1

    How to change the picture for the built-in admin account?

    My Windows 8.1 machine has only one interactive account - the built-in "administrator" account. It is just an internal file- and media-server without a monitor, which is accessed exclusively through Remote Desktop.

    I would like to change the "user picture" associated with that built-in admin account. Trying to do it the "usual" way - through Control Panel -> User Accounts - does not work. Apparently, user picture selection is handled by a Metro app. And Metro apps are not launchable from the built-in admin.

    Most likely there are workarounds. I can try using that hack that enables Metro apps under the built-in admin. Or I can add another interactive admin account and try changing the picture of the built-in admin from that other admin. I don't know whether any of these will work, I haven't tried yet.

    But is there a more straightforward way to set the user picture for an account? Like copy the picture file to some folder or something like that?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Best practice is to not use the built in Administrator account for general use. Create an admin level account for daily use and leave the built in account for emergencies. If you have only one account and for some reason you cannot log into it you will have no access, no easy way to solve the problem. Having an alternate account makes this much easier.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    There's no "general use" or "daily use" with any kind of interactive account on that machine. That machine is a file- and media-server, with a bunch of non-interactive restricted user accounts configured to provide network access only. In routine daily use it is running with no interactive users logged in at all.

    The built-in admin account is used only occasionally for carrying out administrative tasks, which I believe is the very purpose of that account. Under such circumstances for obvious reasons I don't care much about the user account picture for the built-in admin. But I still would like to know it there's a simple workaround for this issue.

    UPDATE: A quick experiment shows that setting up another admin account does not help. Windows does not allow managing user account pictures for other accounts. Users, regardless of access level, can only manage their own account pictures. This seems to suggest that the picture for the built-in admin can only be changed from within the built-in admin.

    This is rather curious situation since I have another Windows 8.1 machine (that one is interactive) with customized user account picture for the built-in admin. That picture was assigned back when the machine had the original Windows 8 installed. Later it was upgraded to Windows 8.1 and retained the picture.

    I don't remember how exactly I managed to assign the user picture to the built-in admin. Did it just work somehow in Windows 8 and then got disabled in 8.1?
    Last edited by AndreyT; 28 Feb 2014 at 14:16.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    OK, it turns out I misinterpreted the nature of the problem.

    The reason I could not launch the "PC settings" app under the built-in admin is that my "PC settings" shortcut was missing. I.e. the 'Immersive Control Panel.lnk' was missing from 'C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs'. (Apparently I'm not the only one with this issue.)

    I restored the shortcut and now I can launch the customization app even under built-in admin. From within that app I can change the account picture.

    PC settings - Fix and Restore in Windows 8.1
    Last edited by Brink; 03 Mar 2014 at 02:03. Reason: added tutorial link for more info
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

How to change the picture for the built-in admin account?
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