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Hidden User Accounts Control in Windows XP


You may not know it, but there is a Windows User Accounts Control in Windows XP that allows you to do so much more with your users such as:

  • Changing default ‘users must enter a password’
  • Password changes and password reset
  • Changing group memberships
  • Changing ‘Secure Logon’ settings
  • Advanced User Management

Worse part is that Microsoft seems to have hidden this very useful application away from its users. To get to it, create a new shortcut with the following target command:

"control.exe useraccounts2" (no quote marks"")

Or enter the same command in the ‘Run’ command in the start menu. The User Accounts window will pop up allowing you to make which ever changes you like. Its quite a powerful little tool that Microsoft didn’t even bother letting you know about.

Requirements: Windows XP Professional

35 responses to “Hidden User Accounts Control in Windows XP

  1. mattbear October 31, 2006 at 9:02 am

    This is pretty far from hidden. If you go into the Control Panel and choose User Accounts, there you go. Anyone who’s picked up a “Windows for Dummies” book knows where this is.

    • michael bashagi May 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      am also facing that problem but that answer doesn’t seem to solve the problem, so am in need of help on that one.

    • Anonymous June 13, 2011 at 3:07 am

      Actually, you’re wrong. Control panel only gives the basic settings for user accounts. The advanced settings cannot be accessed this way.

  2. Justin October 31, 2006 at 9:09 am

    umm that’s not entirely accurate. The User Accounts control panel in the settings of Windows gives you a basic (easy to use) interface with some basic features and settings on there.

    This “hidden” control allows you to modify the admin account and specify whether you want to allow users to HAVE to type a password to start Windows.

  3. Mike November 5, 2006 at 6:50 am

    Actually, the command is “control userpasswords2″.

  4. Pauldaq December 12, 2006 at 12:33 am

    right click my computer > manage > user acounts

    not hidden at all!

  5. Ben December 13, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Again, Innaccurate – not on all machines. When MMC starts on this machine there is no mention of any users.

  6. Scott February 6, 2007 at 8:41 am

    XP by default has an administrator account that has no password on it. You can log in to it by, at the log in screen, holding ctrl+alt+del then type in administrator in the user name and leave password blank. You can also view the actual administrator icon if you boot into safe mode. Also with what they are saying, it’s accessible in control pannel. But can’t get to it from a limited account. Still not hidden, unless you you can’t tell an ethernet cable from a phone line.

  7. heroin March 3, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    lol how di ya config your user accounts till ya found this advanced-poweruserfeature on your xp-pro box ^^


  8. z March 8, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    I think you will find that there about 4 or 5 other built in acounts for things like guest, remote support etc.

    Also using the right hand click, and mangae on my computer will and should get you into most of the settings you need other than the ones in the control pannel

    If you dont set a password on install of a windows xp box, a random one is given and you can not then change the settings unless the user you have is part of the administrators group.

    I have posted an article detailing how to get round these problems and more on my site.

  9. ChumsEmbahmah August 11, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Very useful and informative blog. Recommended for all to see.

  10. AceRoom December 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    If you go to cmd and type in “net users”, there are some accounts there that are hidden even in the control userpasswords2.

  11. TheSeaCucumber July 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, there are a couple of new features, but the best one is
    control panel > administrator tools > computer management > down to users

    not that i like windows or anything.
    worse os ever

    get gentoo or KDE 4

  12. Julia August 7, 2008 at 7:10 am

    I have a problem I am having a hard time finding solution for:
    We have 2 User Accounts on our Windows XP/Wireless system. We are both assigned Admins for the Accounts.

    If for any reason I disconnect from Internet(to log off to other user, step away, or wireless disconnects for whatever reason), I cannot reconnect to Internet BUT other user can. I want to reemphasize that this happens even when there is not a problem with wireless connection. I have to restart (logging off/on, refresh don’t work).

    I have spoken to TimeWarner/Roadrunner…they tell me it is a computer problem. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance!

  13. George March 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    yes you have to go to run and type control userpasswords2 hit enter

  14. Gino April 15, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Thank you Justin. Despite the numerous know-it-alls in the above replies, this was very helpful

  15. lacal July 24, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I have tried all these, but my user name is not available when starting windows, but shows up when I use the “control userpasswords2″. I think this is why I can’t get some programs to run like internet explorer and my wireless.

  16. ralph November 8, 2009 at 6:54 am

    you need to enter SET from CMD prompt
    I thought my userrname was RALPH but turned out to be DAD !
    Forgot that when I set up accoumt !

  17. ralph November 8, 2009 at 6:56 am

    BTW… cant believe these guys did not think to ask if you have HOME vs PRO version.
    They obviously have PRO. I think you have HOME… which does not have all the features of PRO. Apparently they are buried and disabled, but not exactly missing.

  18. Judi November 28, 2009 at 2:53 am

    I tried to set up an Admin account and guest account so that my son and his friends wouldn’t get on and mess up MY files. I didn’t know there was an ‘admin’ account already on my computer. So when I set up a new one, the old one disappeared with all of my stuff. Very scary. How do I get it back?

    • Ben December 4, 2009 at 1:10 am

      I did the same as Judi and ‘lost’ the Administrator account – then a friendly person told me to use Ctrl-Alt-Del TWICE so that I got back to the old NT style login and could access the original administrator account again – this gave me back access to that account’s files but these need to be copied accros to the ‘new’ admin’s My Docs for day-to-day use and the access permissions set to allow access by the other account; tedious but one time only.

    • USER February 14, 2011 at 5:05 am

      Next time, try using the one with easy interface, not the advanced one.

  19. dmrafols April 12, 2010 at 5:53 am

    sorry but i think mattbear doesn’t know about this. he’s saying differently about user account…

  20. novice May 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

    please let me know,from where i can give security like in bank and institution where we cannot right click,can’t install software,USB is disabled and many more inbuilt securities are there.

    • Not Me September 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      You do all of that through the policies.
      If you have XP Pro then us the command “gpedit.msc” without the quotes.
      If you have Home then you are pretty much out of luck.

  21. Mukesh October 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Hi, i have a small problem too. While createing an admin user, i made my files provate, but now i realise they are essential for other users too. How can i make the admin files accessible to other users, especially the word-excel files.
    Searched for a solution, but couldn’t get what i really need. I need to make administrator files accessible to other users, instead of “Access Denied” or “Read-only”.

  22. Daiga December 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I am a single mom and this was very helpfil.

  23. marto February 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    we have a system that runs in windows.we have a user postgres that host our data base right.i want to recover the user postgres for the postgres to start the services.

  24. Zvezdoros September 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    My first post! :)

  25. Deddy Sandi December 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Alot of good information and trick on the comment.

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