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Article ID: 814777 - Last Review: October 30, 2007 - Revision: 5.1

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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.


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.

How to log on to Windows Server 2003 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.

Note 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
  5. Restart your computer.

How to log on to Windows Server 2003 by using the 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.


For more information about this issue , click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
312149  ( ) How to enable an administrator to log on automatically in Recovery Console

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
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