User Account: Can't change type or delete

imanuelae

New Member
Hello all,

Totally baffled, twice now I've set up parental controls for my daughter but she ends up using an admin account which won't delete or downgrade to 'Standard'.

I was changing the account via Start Menu - Admin Tools - User Accounts (Home premium has no proper local groups and policy control) I go through the steps but account remains as admin account and won't delete either.

Have also tried deleting in Safe Mode (command prompt)

NET USER <username> /DELETE

I get the error 'net user system error user is not a member of group'

Now I have actually disabled the account so it's not available for login

net user <username> /active:no

But really have no clue why vista is acting this way and how my daughter is able to 'switch' to this account without even changing/knowing the password (it's the 2nd time it's happened and I actually changed the password the last time.)

Any ideas please or known bugs?

We are running SP2.

Thanks.
 

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richc46

Vista Guru
Gold Member

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imanuelae

New Member
Try this hidden administrator, then in safe mode if necessary.
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/67567-administrator-account.html
Hi Richc46,

Started laptop in Safe mode with command prompt and ran NET USER :-

Admin - account I'm trying to delete (currently inactivated by me)
AdminX - a new admin account
Administrator - hidden / default admin account (currently inactive)
Standard - daughters standard account.
Guest

I then activated the hidden administrator account.

NET USER Administrator /active:yes

On restarting the laptop normally, 'Admin' appears in addition to 'AdminX' and 'Standard'. The administrator account I just activated has the display name of 'Admin' - I realise it's not actually the Admin' account listed by NET USER.

I login as AdminX and in control panel - user accounts and reset the password for 'Admin' also rename the account (display name) to 'AdminLaptop' so I don't mix them up!

Restart computer, login with the default administrator and run a command prompt.

NET USER returns the same users as before. I try to delete the user again...

NET USER Admin /DELETE


System error 1377
The specified account name is not a member of the group.


Try in safe mode with command prompt but same error.

When I try to add 'Admin' to 'Administrators' group.

NET LOCALGROUP Administrators /ADD Admin


System error 1378 has occurred.
The specified account name is already a member of the group.

When I try to remove 'Admin' from group

System error 1377
The specified account name is not a member of the group.


Mmm - scratching head.

Thanks for responding!
 
Last edited:

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niemiro

Banned
That is quite strange! However, I do find net user to cause problems like this. I think that the best course of action is to try without the Command Prompt for the moment, as I have found net user to be so unreliable, as you have! You say that you have your Daughter's account. She is standard. You set up parental controls, and suddenly she is an Admin, and then you can't downgrade her. From which account are you trying to set up parental controls. I have never dealt with parental controls before, but maybe if you do it from her account it could upgrade her, and then not allow a downgrade, so that you don't lock everyone out. Seems incredibly unlikely though. Have a look here: Set up Parental Controls

although you sound perfectly proficient at this sort of thing!

Richard
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 420
    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.50GHz
    Motherboard
    Stock Dell 0TP406
    Memory
    4 gb (DDR2 800) 400MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3870 (512 MBytes)
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1 x Dell 2007FP and 1 x (old) Sonic flat screen
    Screen Resolution
    1600 x 1200 and 1280 x 1204
    Hard Drives
    1 x 640Gb (SATA 300)
    Western Digital: WDC WD6400AAKS-75A7B0

    1 x 1Tb (SATA 600)
    Western Digital: Caviar Black, SATA 6GB/S, 64Mb cache, 8ms
    Western Digital: WDC WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 ATA Device
    PSU
    Stock PSU - 375W
    Case
    Dell XPS 420
    Cooling
    Stock Fan
    Mouse
    Advent Optical ADE-WG01 (colour change light up)
    Keyboard
    Dell Bluetooth
    Internet Speed
    120 kb/s
    Other Info
    ASUS USB 3.0 5Gbps/SATA 6Gbps - PCI-Express Combo Controller Card (U3S6)

vferdman

New Member
I can tell you how my kid is causing these same symptoms. He got a hold of a CD image with a live CD Linux image on it with a dedicated Vista password reset utility (no GUI). He boot the CD and follows simple instructions for:

* resetting or changing any user's password
* elevating any user to Administrator

Once a use is elevated to admin this way that user can no longer be demoted using normal Vista methods. At least I haven't found a method yet.

This same disk does not have a utility to demote a user account, so we are stuck with an admin account that can be neither demoted nor deleted. Hurray! Vista is really secure, isn't it? My kid did this when he was 13, btw and he is not particularly geeky in computers. Just literate teen who knows how to google and burn CDs from ISO images (even that he has learned on youTube). I am seriously considering reformatting the whole drive and reinstalling windows from scratch.
 

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niemiro

Banned
I can tell you how my kid is causing these same symptoms. He got a hold of a CD image with a live CD Linux image on it with a dedicated Vista password reset utility (no GUI). He boot the CD and follows simple instructions for:

* resetting or changing any user's password
* elevating any user to Administrator

Once a use is elevated to admin this way that user can no longer be demoted using normal Vista methods. At least I haven't found a method yet.

This same disk does not have a utility to demote a user account, so we are stuck with an admin account that can be neither demoted nor deleted. Hurray! Vista is really secure, isn't it? My kid did this when he was 13, btw and he is not particularly geeky in computers. Just literate teen who knows how to google and burn CDs from ISO images (even that he has learned on youTube). I am seriously considering reformatting the whole drive and reinstalling windows from scratch.
Hello vferdman, and welcome to the Vista Forums!

Thank you so much for posting this. It is incredibly useful. I don't suppose that you know the name of this live CD?

If you can, I shall investigate that particular Live CD, and see exactly what it changes on a computer. I can then use this data to attempt to create a utility to undo this process. If you can't get the name, I shall just try all that I know, and see how they each manage it (I do know of some utilities which offer this functionality)

Any insight you could offer would be very greatly appreciated.

However, I doubt that I will be able to offer this in time for your computer. It may take up to several months for this concept to go through all the different engineering and testing stages, which is probably too late for you.

However, any names you could provide would be extremely gratefully received.

Richard
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 420
    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.50GHz
    Motherboard
    Stock Dell 0TP406
    Memory
    4 gb (DDR2 800) 400MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD 3870 (512 MBytes)
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1 x Dell 2007FP and 1 x (old) Sonic flat screen
    Screen Resolution
    1600 x 1200 and 1280 x 1204
    Hard Drives
    1 x 640Gb (SATA 300)
    Western Digital: WDC WD6400AAKS-75A7B0

    1 x 1Tb (SATA 600)
    Western Digital: Caviar Black, SATA 6GB/S, 64Mb cache, 8ms
    Western Digital: WDC WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 ATA Device
    PSU
    Stock PSU - 375W
    Case
    Dell XPS 420
    Cooling
    Stock Fan
    Mouse
    Advent Optical ADE-WG01 (colour change light up)
    Keyboard
    Dell Bluetooth
    Internet Speed
    120 kb/s
    Other Info
    ASUS USB 3.0 5Gbps/SATA 6Gbps - PCI-Express Combo Controller Card (U3S6)

vferdman

New Member
I can tell you how my kid is causing these same symptoms. He got a hold of a CD image with a live CD Linux image on it with a dedicated Vista password reset utility (no GUI). He boot the CD and follows simple instructions for:

* resetting or changing any user's password
* elevating any user to Administrator

Once a use is elevated to admin this way that user can no longer be demoted using normal Vista methods. At least I haven't found a method yet.

This same disk does not have a utility to demote a user account, so we are stuck with an admin account that can be neither demoted nor deleted. Hurray! Vista is really secure, isn't it? My kid did this when he was 13, btw and he is not particularly geeky in computers. Just literate teen who knows how to google and burn CDs from ISO images (even that he has learned on youTube). I am seriously considering reformatting the whole drive and reinstalling windows from scratch.
Hello vferdman, and welcome to the Vista Forums!

Thank you so much for posting this. It is incredibly useful. I don't suppose that you know the name of this live CD?

If you can, I shall investigate that particular Live CD, and see exactly what it changes on a computer. I can then use this data to attempt to create a utility to undo this process. If you can't get the name, I shall just try all that I know, and see how they each manage it (I do know of some utilities which offer this functionality)

Any insight you could offer would be very greatly appreciated.

However, I doubt that I will be able to offer this in time for your computer. It may take up to several months for this concept to go through all the different engineering and testing stages, which is probably too late for you.

However, any names you could provide would be extremely gratefully received.

Richard
Richard, the utility I am talking about is here. It is a really wonderful, free and open source utility. You can get full source code for it. It is the best windows password reset tool out there. As far as promoting user accounts to admin, they clearly state it's experimental and one should be careful. However kids usually do not heed such warnings. What I have learned so far is that this problem of elevated user account only exists in home editions of windows because there is no tool to manage user groups as there is in Pro and Ultimate editions. What I think is hapenning is that the user gets added to administrator group and becomes a permanent admininstrator just like the famous "built-in" admin account that is always present in XP, Vista, Win7. The account can be hidden (or "disabled") easily using the same Linux based utility or even a "net user username /active:no", but the delete option does nothing. I think it's because the account has become equal to the built-in admin account. Let me know if you get any further with this.

--
Vladimir
 

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townsbg

~~тσωηsвg~~
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I've never had a non-pro version of windows although my parents did and it drove me nuts. I know that there is another method of controlling users which is actually better than control panel's users and groups but I don't know if it exists in a non-pro version of windows. If so it can be found under computer management which I know does exist, in part, on home editions of windows. This might help you. From the start menu type (or paste) CONTROL USERPASSWORDS2. It is more advanced that user account control however I don't know if it is on the home edition.

I've heard of utilities that can change/remove passwords and I think that they do so in the registry which might explain why once it's changed in the registry it can't be changed any other way. I have no idea because I've never been involved in this because I stay away from hacking.
 
Last edited:

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tom982

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Hello Andy and welcome to the forums :party:

When I tried doing that, it completely killed my computer and wouldn't let me elevate anything so consider yourself lucky! I think your best bet is to try a System Restore:

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/76905-system-restore-how.html

This should reset things to how they were before, assuming you have a restore point before your kid fiddled with the SAM file.

Tom
 

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Tom

Sad to hear that your attempt was so unsuccessful.
I did do the System Restore to (I assume) a couple days before the hack. It didn't help. That actually was the earliest restore point.
I guess without knowing exaclty what the hack does to the registry any luck might be very limited.
 

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richc46

Vista Guru
Gold Member
It might be easier just to set up a new account and delete the old.
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT

tom982

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Tom

Sad to hear that your attempt was so unsuccessful.
I did do the System Restore to (I assume) a couple days before the hack. It didn't help. That actually was the earliest restore point.
I guess without knowing exaclty what the hack does to the registry any luck might be very limited.
That's a shame, all of the user account information is stored in the SAM registry hive and I was under the impression that all registry hives are restored during a system restore - evidently not :(

Rich has posted a great suggestion for you.
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Build #1
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3770K @4.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB DDR3 1600MHz Low Profile (White)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 (2GB GDDR5)
    Sound Card
    Integrated on motherboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23" LG LCD/LED IPS
    Screen Resolution
    1920*1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung EVO 128GB SSD
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    Corsair TX650W V2 (80+ Bronze)
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    NZXT Phantom 410
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    Corsair H100 Water Cooler, 1x140mm and 1x120mm stock fans
    Mouse
    Microsoft Desktop 2000 Wireless Mouse
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    Microsoft Desktop 2000 Wireless Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    95 Mb/s Download 70 Mb/s Upload
Tom, ironically the topic of this thread is "Re: User Account: Can't change type or delete":o
As vferdman previously said this acount becomes like "permanent admininstrator just like the famous "built-in" admin account that is always present in XP, Vista, Win7" It is really important to figure what exactly the CD does. I see Richard was going to do that but didn't get back on this to the discussion.
 

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richc46

Vista Guru
Gold Member
The OP wants the problem resolved. I dont think that he is that interested in the technical details.
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    Memory
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Cooling
    Fan
    Mouse
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Keyboard
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT
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