How To Find The Renamed Domain Built-In Administrator Account With Powershell
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The built-in Administrator account is disabled by default in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. It is disabled to enhance security as this is a common account targeted by hacking scripts and hackers when they try and access your computer without your permissions. In my opinion, you should leave the Administrator account disabled, but as there have been many requests for this information, I ...
In the Windows operating system, the built-in administrator account -- the first account created when the OS was installed -- has the highest permissions of any profile on the computer system. That means the built-in administrator account has elevated administrator privileges to do anything on the system without requiring confirmation.
In Windows systems, the built-in administrator account is similar to the \"root\" or \"superuser\" accounts in other operating systems. It was originally intended to facilitate system setup and disaster recovery. It can also be used to run programs and apps before a user account is created.
In Windows XP and prior versions of the OS, the built-in administrator account was enabled by default. Although the administrator account was necessary in Windows XP and earlier OSes, it's not needed in later versions, so it is disabled by default to reduce the attack surface of a Windows PC.
The built-in administrator account is useful for troubleshooting deep system-level issues but must be used sparingly. Even when it is enabled cautiously, it's good practice to immediately disable the account once troubleshooting is complete.
In Windows XP and previous systems, the built-in administrator account was always called \"administrator.\" For this reason, it had the same username on all computers and was often given a consistent password throughout the enterprise. By default, this password was blank. This created security problems for two reasons:
To address these concerns, Microsoft disabled the administrator account by default starting in Windows Vista. This ensures that only local accounts specifically created with administrator privileges -- or domain accounts that are members of the domain administrator's group -- can log on as administrator.
The built-in administrator account can bypass all user access control (UAC) protections. In Windows, UAC shows a security prompt when a user tries to perform an action that requires elevated privilege levels. Examples of such actions include installing an application for all users, editing a registry and opening the command prompt as admin.
When users with standard privileges are prompted by UAC, they must provide admin credentials (username plus password) to proceed. Admin-level users, however, only need to click on a confirmation button. Since the built-in administrator account has no boundaries or limitations, it can bypass all UAC protections and end up making the system vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The built-in administrator account can be enabled by modifying the AutoLogon setting to Administrator in Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup component. This method enables the account even if the password is not specified.
This method is applicable only to those systems/computers that have not yet gone through OOBE (out-of-box experience). Pronounced \"oo-be,\" the term refers to the part of the installation users go through when setting up a new device. Here, the built-in administrator account can be enabled by reentering the audit mode.
However, in upgrade installations, the account remains enabled unless there is an active local administrator on the computer and when the computer is not part of a domain. In such a scenario, the following methods can be used to disable the built-in administrator account:
The built-in administrator account is meant for setup and disaster recovery only. The account is useful for OEM system builders who may need to modify the system before the OOBE experience is complete and for system troubleshooters who may need it for system recovery. Typically, end users have no other reason to enable or use the account, so it should not be used during normal operations.
If the admin accounts on all systems are not secured with unique and different passwords, a security issue in one system can affect all the systems in the IT ecosystem. For this reason, every system must have a unique local administrator password. In addition, the password should be long --127 characters or longer.
The built-in administrator account should never be shared or renamed. Sharing reduces accountability, which can be a big problem in the event of a cyber attack and subsequent investigations. Renaming accounts to fool would-be attackers also doesn't work, since knowledgeable attackers can still identify such accounts to manipulate their access privileges.
See also: five system administrator skills Windows admins should hone, Windows Admin Center brings server management under one roof, how to locate privileged accounts in Active Directory, determine the right level of data center access for administrators and how to configure folder redirection works with roaming profiles.
Brute force attacks are one of the top three ways that Windows computers are attacked today. However, Windows devices currently do not allow built-in local Administrator accounts to be locked out. This creates scenarios in which, without the proper network segmentation or the presence of an intrusion detection service, the built-in local Administrator account can be subjected to unlimited brute force attacks to try to determine the password. This can be done by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) over the network. If the passwords are not long or complex, the time it would take to perform such an attack is becoming trivial by using modern CPUs and GPUs.
For existing computers, setting this value to Enabled by using a local or domain GPO will provide the ability to lock out the built-in local Administrator account. Such environments should also consider setting the other three policies under Account Lockout Policies. Our baseline recommendation is to set them to 10/10/10. This means that an account would be locked out after 10 failed attempts within 10 minutes and the lockout would last for 10 minutes. After that, the account would be unlocked automatically.
Windows 11 includes a built-in administrator account that allows the computer manufacturers to install apps without creating a user account. For general users, however, the account is hidden by default to prevent unauthorized access.
You can change your existing account type to have administrative rights. However, the built-in administrator account comes with elevated rights out of the box. Which means you can make changes to your PC without being bothered by the User Account Control (UAC) prompt.
To sign in to the built-in administrator account, press Win + L to view the lock screen. Then, click on the Administrator account to login.Related: Windows Command Prompt (CMD) Commands You Must Know
How to change Windows administrator account name The built-in administrator account is one of the most Windows accounts targeted by attackers. To improve security on your computer, you should rename the administrator account to less common name because this lowers the risk of brute force attacks.
Account Operators: Active Directory group with default privileged rights on domain users and groups, plus the ability to logon to Domain ControllersWell-Known SID/RID: S-1-5-32-548The Account Operators group grants limited account creation privileges to a user. Members of this group can create and modify most types of accounts, including those of users, local groups, and global groups, and members can log in locally to domain controllers. Members of the Account Operators group cannot manage the Administrator user account, the user accounts of administrators, or the Administrators, Server Operators, Account Operators, Backup Operators, or Print Operators groups. Members of this group cannot modify user rights. The Account Operators group applies to versions of the Windows Server operating system listed in the Active Directory default security groups by operating system version.
By default, this built-in group has no members, and it can create and manage users and groups in the domain, including its own membership and that of the Server Operators group. This group is considered a service administrator group because it can modify Server Operators, which in turn can modify domain controller settings. As a best practice, leave the membership of this group empty, and do not use it for any delegated administration. This group cannot be renamed, deleted, or moved.
The Administrators group has built-in capabilities that give its members full control over the system. This group cannot be renamed, deleted, or moved. This built-in group controls access to all the domain controllers in its domain, and it can change the membership of all administrative groups. Membership can be modified by members of the following groups: the default service Administrators, Domain Admins in the domain, or Enterprise Admins. This group has the special privilege to take ownership of any object in the directory or any resource on a domain controller. This account is considered a service administrator group because its members have full access to the domain controllers in the domain.
Backup Operators: Local or Active Directory group. AD group members can backup or restore Active Directory and have logon rights to Domain Controllers (default).Well-Known SID/RID: S-1-5-32-551Members of the Backup Operators group can back up and restore all files on a computer, regardless of the permissions that protect those files. Backup Operators also can log on to and shut down the computer. This group cannot be renamed, deleted, or moved. By default, this built-in group has no members, and it can perform backup and restore operations on domain controllers. Its membership can be modified by the following groups: default service Administrators, Domain Admins in the domain, or Enterprise Admins. It cannot modify the membership of any administrative groups. While members of this group cannot change server settings or modify the configuration of the directory, they do have the permissions needed to replace files (including operating system files) on domain controllers. Because of this, members of this group are considered service administrators. The Backup Operators group applies to versions of the Windows Server operating system listed in the Active Directory default security groups by operating system version. This security group has not changed since Windows Server 2008. 153554b96e