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Published: December 4, 2015 | Applies to:

When you lost built-in admin rights, most of features stopped working for you. This article shows how to recover lost administrative rights in Windows 10.

Built-in administrative account is the prime administrator account which you create when you log on first time to Windows. This administrative account rights are very important and losing these rights will bring lots of trouble to you. So in case, if you have just realized that you’ve lost administrator rights, this post is for you. Following are the symptoms you might be facing:

  • While installing some program, User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears but there is no place to input your password and Yes button is greyed out
  • You’re not able to install programs even when you’re administrator
  • You can’t upgrade Windows to a newer edition
  • You can’t add new features to Windows

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

There can be miscellaneous reasons that may contribute to take administrative rights away from you. If you have a secondary user account, you can reset built-in admin account with the help of it:

Steps to reset built-in administrator account in Windows

However, if you still want to regain your lost rights, you can try the steps mentioned below. The only requirement here is the presence of secondary or standard admin account on your system.

FIX : Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

1. Boot into System Recovery Options. Hit the Command prompt entry at following screen:

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

2. Last step will result in opening of Command Prompt at boot.

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

3. In the Command Prompt window, type regedit and hit Enter to open Registry Editor. Now highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch and then click File > Load Hive.

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

4. Moving on, in the Load Hive window, browse the folder system root drive > Windows > System32 > config.

Recommended: “The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process” error when loading hive

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

5. Under config folder, type SAM or click file named SAM and hit Open/press Enter key.

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

6. Now provide a unique name to hive. In this case, you’ve to name it as REM_SAM. Click OK and hive will be loaded into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch.

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

7. Navigate to following registry key now:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\REM_SAM\SAM\Domains\Accounts\Users\000001F4

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

8. Next, highlight 000001F4 key and in the corresponding right pane, look for binary registry DWORD (REG_BINARY) named F. Double click on this DWORD to edit its Data:

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

9. Finally, in the Edit Binary Value box shown above, place your cursor on line 38, in the right side of 11. Press Delete key now and then type 10. Click OK. Close Registry Editor and Command Prompt windows, and turn off your PC.

FIX Lost Administrative Rights In Windows 10

After reboot, you’ll find that you’ve got your admin rights back.

Hope this helps!

See Also: How to enable Guest account in Windows


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9 Comments

  • I reached step 5, then I stupidly managed to double-click the SAM file rather than click ‘Open’. Now when I try clicking ‘Open’, all I get is a message saying ‘This file is in use. Enter a new name or close the file that’s open in another program’. Also, there is a key in the Registry Editor called ‘SAM’, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, that contains only a single subkey, also called ‘SAM’, which contains only a ‘(Default)’ REG_SZ file. This key might have been there to begin with, but I suspect was created by my error. Is there a way to correct this error and create the REM_SAM hive I was supposed to, or have I just screwed myself completely?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ The ‘SAM’ key is there by default and it have user records. Can you retry complete steps carefully and as directed, see if it helps.

  • Tried it again several times, and still coming up with the same error message. I’m loading the file from the local drive (C:, in my case) as instructed.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ I guess there is something wrong with registry. I suggest you to go ahead with Command Prompt method and see if it helps you: http://www.kapilarya.com/reset-built-in-administrator-account-in-windows-10

  • there is no folder named config in my pc

  • Will I lose all of my files if I use this method? I’ve tried everything else

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ I don’t think so. It just enables the administrator account and do not delete your files.

  • Kapil Arya
    Hi, I’m boriswil. You answered me, thanks, but I DON’T have a secondary admin account and my built-in adm acc was accid deleted. Is there a way to restore it or somehow recover admin rights without doing a reset to factory settings and horribly losing a lot of things? Besides, my windows 10 was installed in my laptop when I bought it and I don’t have a win 10 disk to do such reset to fact settings. Is there any hope?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You can do a System Restore if you’ve restore point created before you started facing issue. If you don’t have it, unfortunately you need to reinstall Windows w/o affecting your data: http://www.kapilarya.com/reinstall-windows-10-without-affecting-personal-files

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