Janice from PA writes: How do I set Windows 10 so that I am administrator for everything? Some programs wont let me download them unless I am an admin.


By default, the first account you create when setting up Windows 10 actually is an administrator account, but things are done a little differently in this newer version than in old editions of the operating system. Even with an “administrator” account you’ll still be prompted to confirm you want to run, install or download certain programs. There is of course a workaround, but it takes a little extra computer know-how to implement.

There is a separate, higher level admin account (un-creatively named “administrator”) created when you first set up Windows 10, but its hidden by default and Microsoft sort of goes out of the way to make it difficult to find. This account mainly exists for troubleshooting purposes but it does have higher level access and doesn’t prompt you to confirm you want to run or download anything.

With the paid pro edition of Windows 10 you can make this account visible and available to choose when you restart the computer straight through a regular menu, but that’s not particularly helpful at this point in time since most people are currently using the free upgrade edition.

If you are in this boat and upgraded from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10, you’ll have to go through an extra step and actually type in a specific command to make the true administrator account visible (for those with the pro versions, the change can also be made in the “Local Users and Groups” menu).

To start off, you need to open an admin-level command prompt, which is done differently than opening a regular command prompt. Press the “Windows” and “X” keys simultaneously to bring up a menu at the bottom of the screen. See how there are two “command prompt” options there? Click the one labeled “Command Prompt (admin).”

Windows Secret Menu

Now with the command prompt open, type the command “net user administrator /active:yes” (without the quotation marks) and tap Enter. This makes the higher level admin account now available as an option when you restart Windows – however it will be freely open to anyone who turns on your computer. If you’d rather password protect it instead (and you really should, considering how much access the admin account has), type “net user administrator MyPasswordHere /active:yes” and just replace “MyPasswordHere” with whatever password you want to use.

Admin Command Prompt

Now that the account has been un-hidden, you can easily find it by opening the Start menu and clicking your account name at the top. A new account titled “Administrator” will be available to select in the drop down menu.

Administrator Account

If you ever want to re-hide the admin account so other people can’t access it, just return to the admin command prompt you had open previously, type the phrase “net user administrator /active:no” and tap Enter.

Keep in mind that once the account is revealed it becomes available to be changed in the control panel like any other account, so if you ever change its name or password you’ll have to remember those changes and update the command you type accordingly when hiding or un-hiding the account through the command prompt.

~ Ty Arthur