Lost Administrator Privileges under Windows 7

I hope the Forum can help me regain my Administrator rights! Having recently bought and installed Windows 7 Home Premium/ 32 Bit, some programs from the previous Vista installation were having difficulty starting in normal user mode. Intending to fix this, I deleted all Administrator permissions to drive C: - intending to re-apply them later. (Not very clever of me, as I now know).

Now, not only do I not have any Admin privileges, but I cannot access drive C: at all.  For instance, it is not possible to run the Command prompt as the Administrator from the Start menu, since there is no Administrator. However, I have worked around this problem by rebooting with F8 and choosing “Start in Safe Mode with Command prompt”. Under Windows in the cmd window I can enable/ disable user accounts using the “net user” command. By this means, and using the /active:yes tag, I have set up an Administrator account that shows up as the Administrator with the typical sunflower wallpaper and classed as “Administrator”. However, this “Administrator” has no rights – neither to change file permissions nor to edit the profiles of normal users in the Control Panel.

At the very least, I would like to access C: and back-up my data files, so that I can re-format the disc and re-install Windows 7. Any ideas ? Thanks - Jim


Question Info

Last updated March 11, 2019 Views 15,584 Applies to:
You did a very thorough job. Here are some comments:
  • Forget about drive X:. It is an artificial drive letter used for the repair environment only. Any change made on that drive will disappear the moment you switch off the machine.
  • Your System drive is obviously drive C:.
  • You can retrieve your unsaved files with the help of an Ubuntu boot CD, as mentioned before.
  • You can restore your access to drive C: with the sequence of commands shown below. You need to execute them at the Console level while in Repair Mode (what you call "DOS" even though DOS has been dead since Windows ME in 2000). It is likely that some commands will end with an error. If so then you need to target the problem folders individually.
takeown.exe  /F  c:\Users
icacls.exe c:\Users /T  /Grant everyone:F   System:F

If either command generates an error, say on c:\Users\Jim then you need to do this:

takeown.exe  /F  c:\Users\Jim  /R
icacls.exe c:\Users\Jim  /T  /Grant everyone:F   System:F

This can take a lot of time, perhaps more than burning an Ubuntu boot CD.

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