Having trouble changing account types.

December 25, 2012 at 00:28:24
Specs: Windows 7

This is on my own personal computer. I am the only person who uses it, however recently it was 'borrowed' by someone who has now messed up a bunch of account settings and I can't seem to change them back.

The computer used to have two administrator accounts on it: mine, and a guest account for friends/family to use (which is effectively empty, no files, etc). I'm already aware this was a stupid way to set things up and I sure as hell won't be returning things to these settings, so don't bother berating me on that point.

My account has now been changed to a standard account, and the guest account is a password protected admin account. I do not know the password. (The b---tard who 'borrowed' my computer does, but they won't be cooperating.)

I would like to change my account back to administrator, but I can't do this except from within an admin account, which I now cannot access. Can anyone suggest a good way to do this?

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December 25, 2012 at 19:03:28

Apparently not the right person to have let 'borrow' the computer (not to mention the wrong account type for your guest account).
1- Read up on activating the optional Higher Level Administrator Account. (I have never needed to do this and I understand it is easier with Pro and Ultimate than with Home version.)
2- Back up your files to an external drive and do a Factory Restore. This has the advantage of a complete start over in case he (she) has left you other surprises.
3- Find a way to get the new password out of him (her).
Those are the only ways I know of.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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December 25, 2012 at 21:24:02

I have since discovered a few other surprises, so I think I'll opt for the Factory Restore. As a precaution I did a backup when I wrote my first post here, so I'm all ready to go for that. I'll update with details of how it goes.

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December 26, 2012 at 02:34:36

Ok, the developments so far:
I've managed to get administrator rights back on my account, and set the other one to standard. I managed to do this through a variant of option no. 3, which was essentially to wait until this other person was logged in and nab the computer when they left without logging out. Looks like I'm not the only one with shoddy security.

Before this I tried a System Restore (which I think is perhaps what you meant when you said Factory Restore), however this didn't work, claiming some issues with anti-virus software. I also looked into the Higher Level Administration Account, but this can only be turned on with an admin account, which I didn't have at the time. As a last resort I also got my hands on some Rainbow Tables, an option I wanted to avoid if at all possible, but fortunately I didn't need to use them.

There might be a few surprises I'm yet to discover, but for now the issue appears to be fixed.

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December 26, 2012 at 20:24:33

Factory Restore is not a System Restore. I uses the factory installed recovery partition or recovery disk set to return the computer's hard drive to exactly the way it was shipped. It is usually a last resort. To do a System Restore you would need Admin rights and it is best launched from Safe Mode or a Repair Disk. Instructions for launching it vary depending on the factory that built your computer so you would have to look to the manual or supply the brand name.

Since you have your rights back, restart in Safe Mode with Networking and install, update, and run Malwarebytes. Remove all it finds, This will eliminate malware that might have been added either maliciously or accidentally through not caring. Update and run your antivirus program. Restart Normal. Then uninstall all programs that you did not install and/or did not come with the computer. If you are in doubt, Google the name. Then Run msconfig, go to the Start Tab and uncheck all except Microsoft and your antivirus program, Apply and Restart the machine. Then manually do a Windows Update. Then do a Disk Clean Up. Restart. You might also want to check your browser add ons and remove what you do not use/want.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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December 30, 2012 at 04:46:55

Wow, thanks for that. I would never have thought of all that.

I thought you might have meant System Restore because it would return the computer to the way it was a little before this whole issue started, which would avoid the need to reinstall many programs, change settings, etc, and would in general be far preferable to a Factory Restore. When I tried it it didn't say anything about Admin rights or insufficient privileges, however it didn't work, so maybe it just gave an incorrect error message.

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