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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 or missing
  • 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 10/8.1/8/7

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.

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.

Check the live illustration of this method in following video:

Hope this helps!


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70 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: https://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: https://www.kapilarya.com/reinstall-windows-10-without-affecting-personal-files

  • I have a problem on step. It says “You need to sign in as an administrator” to continue, but there aren’t any administrator account on this PC”

  • Hello Kapil Arya, I have a question hope your help.
    Question: If my size of the cursor file is greater than a certain value and is displayed to be compressed. Using setsystemcursor() set the system mouse pointer is not working. Whether the question can be fixed by modifying regedit value?

  • Hello kapil I’m not having a secondary admin account,,,now how should i get the command prompt

  • Kapil, what about enabling built-in Admin from CMD (from booted media if necessary) to change account back to Admin? Would this also work, or has something else happened to the account?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Greg, I’ve cited many instances when enabling the built-in admin via Command Prompt just doesn’t work. But the registry way mentioned in this article in works always, that’s why I recommend it more :)

  • OK I’m going to start recommending it for these instances.

    Do you happen to know what is happening to explain why an Admin account could lose privileges without the existence of another Admin which is supposedly forbidden? Is it a bug? If so we need to elevate this.

    I do notice that since CMD is always going to prompt for Admin permission except for booted media, that Shawn has a different approach for it specified in tenforums.com/tutorials/2969-enable-disable-elevated-administrator-account-windows-10-a.html.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Not sure what may cause the issue of losing admin rights but most users have faced this. A close suspect might be third-party programs or Windows Update. I don’t think it’s a bug.

  • Thank you! This is the only thing that would work! I’m back in control of my computer! phew

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ That’s awesome Jolene, glad we could help you 😎

  • Hello I get to the point where I need to load the C: drive but uuuh even in Hive it does not detect that I have ANY drive …. Therefore I cant continue..

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Can you load SAM file?

  • Tried it even changed the F 00038 value to 10 but still getting the administrator password box is there a way to fix that

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Can you try this and see if it helps: https://www.kapilarya.com/reset-built-in-administrator-account-in-windows-10

  • Hi Kapil,
    I have a similar problem but from the first step I don’t even get the UAC pop up, I simply get this error message: ”This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Programs control panel”

    of course I cannot install or uninstall anything. I cannot Run anything, no regedit, if I try to run config I get a message ”You dont have permission to access this folder” and if i click continue to get access nothing happens..
    If I try to open cmd as administrator i get this error”Windows cannot find C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe”
    Are you familiar with this problem?

  • hey! this actually worked.but i am wondering if it will harm my pc.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ No 😊

  • hi again. I want to ask that my windows does not respond frequently and other programs crash frequently.also uninstall.exe is gone. why is this happening.it started after i did what you said in this tutorial.

  • Is there anyway to reset this

  • I reached step 5, but when I ‘Open’, file SAM it say ‘This file is in use, Enter a new name or close the file that’s open in another program’. i saw how its done in the video but in my computer it doesn’t work. please help

  • As of 3/23/2018, this solution is still working. Thank you, Kapil Arya!
    That said, the “Delete” part in step 9 should be “Backspace” instead.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Happy to help 😎

  • I don’t have permission to access the config folder. How do I get to pass this point?

  • Thank you so much for this fix, it saved me hours of work and stress.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad to help, John 😊

  • Thank you very much. You saved my day.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Happy to help, Rajnish 😎

  • thank you very much. you’re one of the best.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You’re most welcome Helekesite 😊

  • I did this fix and restarted my computer and now just get the blue stop code screens. It tries to repair and is unable to and restarts. I can’t start in safe mode either. I get the following stop codes: IRQL not less or equal – I get this one A LOT
    Driver overran stack buffer
    Crypto library internal error
    Page fault in nonpaged area
    APC index mismatched

  • When I enter REM_SAM it says The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process…I’m confused
    How can I stop the previous process

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Refer: https://www.kapilarya.com/the-process-cannot-access-the-file-because-it-is-being-used-by-another-process

  • When I got to step 8, the F 00038 value was already set to 10. What do I do?

  • Everything worked fine except this created an “log in” at the start screen that needs no password. Although I am the only one using my computer Im not comfortable leaving administrator rights open to anyone who decides to turn it on or if it gets stolen.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Alright! You can add a password to this account, using lusrmgr snap-in. Open this snap-in, click Users > Built-in administrator > right click > Add password.

  • Hi Kapil, After getting into command prompt mode , its asking for Administrator password which i dont remember. Is there any way I can remove the password to fix this issue?

  • Hi Kapil, when I got into Command prompt mode, it asked me to login to administrator mode for which I dont remember the password. Is there any way I can get into the next step by removing the admin password? Its not letting me go ahead with further steps to get back lost Admin access.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Plug Windows 10 bootable USB and then use recovery mode Command Prompt.

  • i reached upto config. now cant open it. again asking do you want to….. giving option no only. so what can i do now

  • I think I’m in the right area… After a system reboot and reinstall of Windows 10, my PC no longer recognizes my password and says “Windows couldn’t connect to the ProfSvc service. Please contact your system Administrator”.

    I am the Admin. It’s my computer. 😡. Cann you help?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Please refer this fix: https://www.kapilarya.com/the-user-profile-service-failed-the-sign-in-windows-10

  • Thanks, Kapil. But since my screen login doesn’t recognize my password, in locked out and unable to access the start menu or Internet.

  • Thanks, Kapil, but I’m locked out and unable to access the start menu or Internet because of pc says password is not valid.

  • Thank you so much, Now I can full control the computer again.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You’re most welcome Rajesh 😊

  • Thanks a lot kapil…it works!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad to help waklogo 😊

  • there is no folder ‘system root drive’ in the ‘hive’ window

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Here, ‘system root drive’ means the drive on which Windows is installed.

  • I can’t get to the command prompt or any other menu in the advanced options, it requires me to login as an admin and when I do it keeps telling me it’s a wrong password although it is not.

  • Thanks Kapil you are really a genius .

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad to help Harsh 😊

  • Thank you for this detailed procedure. Unfortunately I failed at the first hurdle: “The only requirement here is the presence of secondary or standard admin account on your system.”

    I have only ever had one account – ‘Colin’. I’m not aware of any others – although I think I added me as a gmail address account.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Try booting via Windows 10 install media, it won’t require secondary account to operate Command Prompt.

  • What will i do if “Load Hive” is not clickable after it opens the registry editor from cmd?

  • If I could access config, I wouldnt need to come this page. this is of no help. gets stuck at config with same prob.

  • Kapil, I scoured the internet and spent way to long trying to find a solution and yours worked. Thank you very much. You should add a “Donate” button so users can buy you a cup of coffee or storage space. ;)

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad I could help! I love to help people, not doing this for money or to receive donation 😊

  • I have found the config folder but cant open it because of user account control please help

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ What is the exact error you received?

  • Dear Kapil,

    I don’t know how to Thank you because just saying thank you is not enough..I followed your advise step by step and I could add restore my admin privileges.

    Thanks a million bro! God bless you.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad to help Punia 😊

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