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The default local user accounts, and the local user accounts that you create, are located in the Users folder. Computer Management is a collection of administrative tools that you can use to manage a single local or remote computer. For more information, see How to manage local user accounts later in this topic. The default local user accounts that are provided include the Administrator account, Guest account and HelpAssistant account.
Each of these default local user accounts is described in the following sections. The default local Administrator account is a user account for the system administrator. The Administrator account is the first account that is created during the installation for all Windows Server operating systems, and for Windows client operating systems. For Windows Server operating systems, the Administrator account gives the user full control of the files, directories, services, and other resources that are under the control of the local server.
The Administrator account can be used to create local users, and assign user rights and access control permissions. The Administrator account can also be used take control of local resources at any time simply by changing the user rights and permissions. The default Administrator account cannot be deleted or locked out, but it can be renamed or disabled. The default Administrator account is initially installed differently for Windows Server operating systems, and the Windows client operating systems. The following table provides a comparison.
No, use a local user account with Run as administrator to obtain administrative rights.
In summary, for Windows Server operating systems, the Administrator account is used to set up the local server only for tasks that require administrative rights. The default Administrator account is set up by using the default settings that are provided on installation. Initially, the Administrator account is not associated with a password.
After installation, when you first set up Windows Server, your first task is to set up the Administrator account properties securely. This includes creating a strong password and securing the Remote control and Remote Desktop Services Profile settings. You can also disable the Administrator account when it is not required. In comparison, for the Windows client operating systems, the Administrator account has access to the local system only.
The default Administrator account is initially disabled by default, and this account is not associated with a password. It is a best practice to leave the Administrator account disabled. The default Administrator account is considered only as a setup and disaster recovery account, and it can be used to join the computer to a domain. When administrator access is required, do not sign in as an administrator. You can sign in to your computer with your local non-administrator credentials and use Run as administrator.
For more information, see Security considerations.
By default, the Administrator account is installed as a member of the Administrators group on the server. It is a best practice to limit the number of users in the Administrators group because members of the Administrators group on a local server have Full Control permissions on that computer.
The Administrator account cannot be deleted or removed from the Administrators group, but it can be renamed or disabled. Because the Administrator account is known to exist on many versions of the Windows operating system, it is a best practice to disable the Administrator account when possible to make it more difficult for malicious users to gain access to to the server or client computer. You can rename the Administrator account.
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However, a renamed Administrator account continues to use the same automatically assigned security identifier SID , which can be discovered by malicious users. For more information about how to rename or disable a user account, see Disable or activate a local user account and Rename a local user account. As a security best practice, use your local non-Administrator account to sign in and then use Run as administrator to accomplish tasks that require a higher level of rights than a standard user account.
Do not use the Administrator account to sign in to your computer unless it is entirely necessary. For more information, see Using Run as. In comparison, on the Windows client operating system, a user with a local user account that has Administrator rights is considered the system administrator of the client computer.
The first local user account that is created during installation is placed in the local Administrators group.
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However, when multiple users run as local administrators, the IT staff has no control over these users or their client computers. In this case, Group Policy can be used to enable secure settings that can control the use of the local Administrators group automatically on every server or client computer. Blank passwords are not allowed in the versions designated in the Applies To list at the beginning of this topic. Even when the Administrator account has been disabled, it can still be used to gain access to a computer by using safe mode.
In the Recovery Console or in safe mode, the Administrator account is automatically enabled. When normal operations are resumed, it is disabled. The Guest account lets occasional or one-time users, who do not have an account on the computer, temporarily sign in to the local server or client computer with limited user rights.
By default, the Guest account has a blank password. Because the Guest account can provide anonymous access, it is a security risk. For this reason, it is a best practice to leave the Guest account disabled, unless its use is entirely necessary. By default, the Guest account is the only member of the default Guests group, which lets a user sign in to a server. On occasion, an administrator who is a member of the Administrators group can set up a user with a Guest account on one or more computers. When an administrator enables the Guest account, it is a best practice to create a strong password for this account.
In addition, the administrator on the computer should also grant only limited rights and permissions for the Guest account. For security reasons, the Guest account should not be used over the network and made accessible to other computers. When a computer is shutting down or starting up, it is possible that a guest user or anyone with local access could gain unauthorized access to the computer.
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