Have you ever been in a situation when you accidentally or curiously disabled all of the local user accounts and got locked out of your Windows PC? Now, you can turn ON your computer and stuck on login screen thinking how to login into Windows after disabling all users. But all you see is a message that says, “Your account has been disabled. Please see your system administrator.”
There is nothing much a user can do in such situation but reinstall the Windows. Reinstalling the Windows comes at the cost of your valuable data. It will wipe all the documents and files stored in C drive (including Documents, Downloads, Desktop etc.) and you will have to reinstall all your programs. This can be huge and un-affordable loss depending upon the data you stored on your computer.
Regain Access or Login into Windows 10, 8 or 7 after Disabling All User Accounts
Luckily there exist a method to get into your PC even after disabling all user accounts. But you will have to do some advanced level troubleshooting to get yourself into your locked out PC. This tutorial explains the method to login into Windows PC after disabling all users. Best part of this method is that you don’t lose your precious files/documents. Check out this video before proceeding for detailed steps:
NOTE: This tutorial works only if the Hard disk or Windows drive is not encrypted. This method fails on encrypted hard disk drives.
Step 1: Insert Bootable USB or CD/DVD and Boot from it
In this tutorial we are using Windows 10 PC which have a standard user account HELLPC, builtin Administrator (disabled) and builtin Guest (disabled) accounts. User account HELLPC has been disabled manually. Now, all the user accounts on our test PC are disabled. When we try to login, we see following screen:
Insert bootable Windows USB or CD/DVD disc into your PC and reboot the PC. Make sure you have set your PC to boot from USB or CD/DVD. On startup, press any key to start booting from bootable Windows USB or CD/DVD.
Step 2: Open Command Prompt and Go to Windows Installation Drive
After loading Windows installation files, Windows setup will start. You will see following screen if you are using Windows 10, 8 or 7.
Stop right there. Don’t press Next. We just needed this screen. Here we will open command prompt and make some necessary changes to already installed Windows on which all user accounts have been disabled. Press Shift + F10 key combination on your keyboard, command prompt will open.
Command prompt has loaded from a temporary partition ‘X‘. We need to find the partition (disk drive) on which Windows is already installed. You can change drive in command prompt and check the content of selected drive using
dir command. After finding Windows drive, we will try to re-enable existing users so that we can login into Windows (after disabling all users).
Step 3: Make Necessary Changes and Exit Windows Setup
Finally you have found Windows drive. It’s drive D in our case. Now let’s make some changes in Windows > System32 directory and we are good to go.
We are going to make a copy of cmd.exe file and rename it to some other utility that we can launch from Windows login screen. If you remember, you can see an Ease of Access button on login screen of Windows 7, 8 or Windows 10. Ease of Access utility is launched via
utilman.exe. So, we can use
utilman.exe to solve our purpose.
cd Windows\System32 ren utilman.exe utilman.exe.bak copy cmd.exe utilman.exe
Here we have created a backup of
utilman.exe before making copy of
cmd.exe. So, next time you launch Ease of Access on Windows login screen, Command prompt will open.
You can now close command prompt and cancel Windows installation setup.
Step 4: Launch Command Prompt on Login Screen
Remove bootable USB or CD/DVD from your PC and let Windows boot normally. On the login screen, you will still see your account as disabled. Click OK. Now, we will use that hack to enable user accounts and login to Windows after mistakenly disabling all users.
On user account selection screen, click on Ease-of-Access button on the bottom-right corner of the screen (bottom-left corner for Windows 7) to launch CMD. We will use CMD to enable user accounts (after disabling them).
This will bring up Command prompt instead of Ease of Access menu. After Command prompt has launched, you will notice that it has started in C:\Windows\System32 folder and with Administrative privileges.
Now, we will use this command prompt to enable Windows users which have been disabled. You can enable each and every account on your system. Even you can create new local account on your system with administrative privileges.
Step 5: Enable User Accounts (after Disabling mistakenly) using CMD
You can check current users on your system by using net user command. If you want to enable Administrator account on your system, type following commands:
net user Administrator /active:yes net user Administrator P@ssw0rd
Don’t forget to replace
P@ssw0rd with the password that you want to set for Administrator account.
Similarly, you can enable other accounts using
net user command:
net user HELLPC /active:yes net user HELLPC P@ssw0rd
Don’t forget to replace
HELLPC with username and ‘P@ssw0rd’ with the password that you want to set for selected account.
If you want to create new user after disabling all users in Windows, use following command:
net user /add <username> <password>
Don’t forget to replace
<password> with the name and password of the new user. To provide newly created user with administrative privileges, use following command:
net localgroup administrators <username> /add
<username> with the username of newly created user.
SEE ALSO: A to Z list of all Windows CMD commands
Step 6: Restart your Computer and Login After Disabling All Users
Close the command prompt and restart your computer.
After rebooting Windows, you will see that all your disabled user accounts have been enabled and are visible on login screen. Select the user you want to login with and enter the password that we have set in previous step. That’s it, you can now successfully login into your computer on which you were locked out due to disabling of all user accounts.
Step 7: Reverting the Changes Made to Windows
It’s time to revert the changes we made to the system. This process is even harder. If you try to rename
utilman.exe using CMD or via GUI, you will get Access denied error even with Administrator rights.
So, we will first take ownership of
utilman.exe.bak and after that we will rename it back to
utilman.exe. But before that go to C:\Windows\System32 folder and delete existing
utilman.exe which is copy of
After that, we need to take ownership of
utilman.exe.bak file. You can take ownership via Security settings in Properties or by using simple Registry key which adds Take Ownership to right-click context menu. We have used Registry method to take ownership.
Now, you can rename it back to
utilman.exe.bak file, press F2 on keyboard to rename it. Now, change it’s name to
utilman.exe and press Enter.
You may see additional UAC and File Control prompts, simply click Yes and OK to continue.
Login into your Windows PC after Disabling All User Accounts
You have successfully logged in into your system on which you had accidentally disabled all the user accounts. Now, make sure to remember your passwords in order to avoid such situations in future. You need to pay close attention while making changes to Windows files in System32 folder or you may break your Windows permanently.
Hope you liked this tutorial. Feel free to comment if you face any problems. You may also subscribe to our newsletter and get such cool tricks directly into your inbox.