How do I get administrative privileges on Windows XP?

If you have the password for the administrator account, you can easily elevate any other login account to have administrator privileges.

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I have a problem with my computer. Recently I updated Windows from 2000 to XP Professional and now I can’t see the ‘Administrator’ account. The account that I’m using doesn’t have administrator rights. How can I configure the account that I’m using to have administrator rights?

The administrator account is still there, it’s just hidden, presumably for your protection. But we can still sign in using it, and then grant your other regular, account administrative rights.

But you will need the password for the ‘Administrator’ account. I’ll assume you have that.

In Windows XP Pro, that Administrator account is not listed on the login screen, unless it’s the only account on the machine. You can still log into it, though … by rebooting into ‘Safe Mode’. Press F8 when Windows begins to boot, and you’ll be given a list of boot options, one of which is ‘Safe Mode’. Select that, and the ‘Administrator’ account will appear on the login screen.

From here it’s easy. Once you’ve signed in as ‘Administrator':

  • Right-click on My Computer
  • Click on Manage
  • Expand Local Users and Groups
  • Click on Groups
  • Double click on Administrators
  • Click on Add
  • Enter the account name on this machine that you want to assign administrative privileges to.
  • OK your way back out.

Now reboot your machine normally, and the account you selected should now have administrative access.

Comments

  1. Anthony

    There is also another way to login as administrator from the welcome screen in XP (assuming that you don’t auto-login). Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE twice in succession from the welcome screen, and you’ll get a login box for username and password. This will save you from having to boot into safe mode.

  2. Kristo

    all you need to do is go to start then run and then type in “compmgt.msc b” without the quotes there you can add users or delete them..

    kristo

  3. Miss Patel

    I am in England so when I played an American DVD, the region changed. But now I want to watch English DVDs so I need to change it back. But when i put the dvd in, the change the region prompt doesnt come up. I went through the device manager to try to change the dvd, but when i press ok to have it changed to region one, it says:
    ” Unable to update region settings. Please make sure the drvie contains a region 1 media and you have administration privilege.”

  4. Anon

    I am at a library, we have monitoring software. I was thinking maybe with Process Explorer I kill some of these processes that monitor. If I end, I think it was smss.exe first and then the crss.exe to kill the login processes? Then, work on the DefWatch.exe, IAANTMon.exe, inetinfo.exe, SamPrintManager.exe( that process and the tree included), SavRoam.exe, IAAnotif.exe, SamStarter.exe( the process and the tree included), censtat.exe, and Printkey2000.exe. The other processes “seem” normal; I’m positive these are the processes interrupting my computer experience. Any ideas appreciated and thanks for taking the time to read this. -Anon

  5. irrelevent

    it dos not work as if you are using a guest or limited account you dont have suffcient privilages to do this so the best way to get admin privs is either f8 or f110 depending on ur pc during startup then login as administrator or if the normal admin is smarter than that then brute force it (dont understand then google it!!!) or use a kelog or crack the password file (again google it 4 more info)

  6. martin

    hi leo, i wonder if you can help me out, i recently reformatted my friends pc and installed windows xp and everything was cool, i consider myself quite an advanced user, some how he has messed it up and it will not let him install any programs asnd says he does not have administrator rights although he does have them and i have checked the user accounts and it states he has them, but still the problem persists, i tried logging on using the admin account (ctrl-alt-delete) and it let me install a program but doe not go to the found hardware when the camera is plugged in and the software does not appear to have installed, this seems to be the result of him installing a pci usb card??? i have seen this happen on my pc a long time ago although i dont know how or why and my resolution for it was to reformat and install afresh…. any advice or help you could give would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks
    martin

  7. martin

    an addition to my previous poat, anyone experiencing the same problems may find this helpfull….

    Mr. Claesson Offline
    Junior Member

    Posts: 1
    Lost admin rights on XP Home
    I have a big problem.
    All my accounts with admin rights suddenly got turned in to limited user accounts. I think this happend after an upgrade to .Net Framework 1.1 and some messing around with trying to remove the login screen.
    I can’t access any module that requires administrator rights, ie user admin, system settings. Error messge says: You have no rights to access this function (or something similar, using swedish version)
    If I run the system in Safe mode using any account, I can access the user admin tool, where all accounts have the correct level of privilegies (administrator). Unfortunately I can not uninstall .Net Framework since it uses Windows installer, and that won’t run in Safe mode.
    I can’t login as Administrator since MS have prevented this (Knowledge base 290109).

    I’ve searched this forum, internet, microsoft even called my computer support (long shot…) I can’t find anyone with a similar problem. Can it be a virus? (Running Norton and Kerio)

    Running Xp Home with all updates from Windows Update.

    Miz Offline
    Registered User

    Location: Kansas
    Posts: 1,512
    Can you logon to the Administrator account in Safe Mode? If so, you should be able to restore administrator rights to the user accounts there.

    If that doesn’t work, while still in Safe Mode, Administrato account, try this: Go to Start>Run, type in control userpasswords2 (note the space after “control”), click OK.

    Double click on an account you want to change, then go to the Group Membership tab, select Administrators in the drop-down list, click OK. Do that for each user account.

    I never installed NET Framework so I don’t know for sure but perhaps it appears in that list and can be removed there. Try that at your own risk.

  8. Reeciboy

    i also need to get access to install my art programme for college but my mum wont let me have a admin account how can i get access to my computer to do this cheers.

  9. Leo Notenboom

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
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    Have your mother install the program for you.

    Leo
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    p9xc4Bkzfndp1KAHC3vQUaE=
    =L7u3
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  10. Joe Schmo

    This work IF and ONLY IF you have admin rights tobegin with. If you are on a limited account, you will get an Access Denied.

  11. Brandon

    To get access to the admin account, and you don’t have admin privileges, all you need is “windows key enterprise”, you can buy this product on the appropriate website or you can download the torrent link off of demonoid.com …. basically, it makes a bootable CD of USB Flash Drive which you need a computer with admin privileges in order to install, and you insert the CD/Flash Drie into the computer before it starts up, it will execute, opening up a black command line, in the command line, you will be able to “reset” the username and passwords to ANY account, by defaut: all the accounts will have NO password, so you will have to modify that in the control panel / user accounts! Remember this, it is a federal offense to break into any computer without permission from the user except your own computer; if your mother locked you out, then that still qualifies as “someone elses computer”. Just keep that in mind!

  12. AskTheAdmin

    Control Alt Delete on the Logon screen will bring you to a box where you can type in a username and password.

    Cheers!

  13. helpful

    to the person who can’t find their computer name just go to your command file , in your c: folder labeled cmd.exe or command.exe , pretty much run msdos. If you can’t run that way try going to your start button and pressing run then type in “command” without the “” . When you have this running, type in “hostname” without the “” and this will give you your computer name.

  14. T

    This happened to me with XP My daughter added a guest account and my admin acct disappeared
    I too could not find the local users and groups, bad advice.

    I had no password on my account so I logged on in safe mode

    Open is safe mode by pressing F8
    click Start
    Go to control panel / user accounts
    click change an account
    I now see my 2 administrator accounts
    I added a password to both accounts

    logged off safe mode
    Restart computer
    It still puts the guest name up on the log on screen, I retype in the admin acct name and add password and that should get you in to your original account

    Don’t forget to go into the User accounts NOW and turn off the guest account.

    My next computer will be a Mac, I’m so done with MS

    • Sylvia

      Thank you T…this is exactly my problem, thanks for posting ALL the steps for this old person…lol…Much appreciated….blessings, Sylvia x

  15. Ty

    It tells me that access is denied… I am working off of a limited account because my only Administrative account is the one that got messed up and I can’t access the hidden admin because I set a pass for it but I forgot it and I really don’t want to have to do anythign that is going to delete any of my stuff. I can’t burn cds or anything all I can do is get on the internet and basic options…. I just want to type something and be back but typeing anything short of my password I can’t find a way. I don’t want to recover my password I just want to bypass my systems regular options so that I can access one of the admin accounts.

  16. Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Ty: you want this article to regain access to the admin
    account:
    http://ask-leo.com/ive_lost_the_password_to_my_windows_administrator_account_how_do_i_get_it_back.html

    Patrick: it sounds like you’re infected by one of the many
    viruses that play around with your administrative abilities.
    You can try anti-virus software, but you may be looking at a
    reinstall of windows.
    http://ask-leo.com/how_should_i_reinstall_windows.html

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
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    Gj++SJvhPIIb+S83LYuUZ/E=
    =JyiH
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  17. gordon

    You can get a login prompt to the administrator account from the XP login screen by hitting ctrl-alt-del twice. This brings up the old win2k usename/password screen with administrator already entered in the username

  18. Ollie

    If you do not have those options,your on different windows xp.

    Turn on computer, keep tapping F8, start computer in safe mode, click on administrator, but this time -

    - Click start,
    – Control panel,
    – User Accounts

    And the rest should be common sense. Remember, you dont want the account to be limited/restricted when the option comes up.

  19. Noah

    Go to my computer. Go to C Drive. Go to WINDOWS. Find a folder called “System32″ scroll down and find “lusrmgr”. That will take you to the users and groups page.

  20. james

    When i am trying to download my games back onto my computer its says that i need my admin right to do it. So my question is how do i get full admin rights back onto my computer

    Login using an account that has administrative privileges.

    - Leo
    22-Nov-2008
  21. Todd

    Simple solution – start – settings – control panel – user accounts – administrator – add or change password – restart computer

    It happened to me. could not load software into computer. Happened after using Registry Mechanic, I think. Something was removed. Buy restting the password, the missing element must have been re-entered. You can remove the passwrd again too. Kind of like refreshing the account.

    I work only with one account the default Administrator. Some say it is better to create another account with Admin privilages. Any comment on that?

    Thanks

  22. Grey Gonzalez

    My friend gave me this compute, I’m trying to install an printer, but it’s not letting me because I need Amininistrative rights.
    How can I get the rigts.

  23. naga subbarao

    Hi Grey, if u really forgot the xp password,
    Boot ur system with xp OS cd, and go to second repair option, while installing the installing devices press shift F10 and then in command prompt type : (control userpasswords2) enter. There u can reset the password of administrator.if u got any problem contact me in [email address removed]
    Regards
    naga subbarao

  24. youssef

    my Dear: my son work on the computer password and I want to installation program autocad but i found message called (requires administrator privileges please log in with administrator befor attempting installation of autocad) what can i do (thanks for help)

    You’ll need to follow the instructions in the message and login using your computer’s administrator account, or an account that has administrative privileges.

    - Leo
    22-Mar-2009
  25. William Spalding

    “I work only with one account the default Administrator. Some say it is better to create another account with Admin privilages. Any comment on that?”

    That is risky business. Having an account set as an admin that is regularly used is an easy way to have a security issue. If you are on an administrator account and you get a trojan or other malicious software, It too will have full admin control over the pc. Having a non-admin account that is used as a regular account and an admin account that is used when needed is the best way to go. Although more of a hassle at times, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  26. Alice

    Here I’m posting a few methods / utilities which can be used to recover Windows password:
    1st Method:
    The first thing which you check if you forget login password. When we install Windows, it automatically creates an
    account “Administrator” and sets its password to blank. So if you have forget your user account password then try this:
    Start system and when you see Windows Welcome screen / Login screen, press ++ keys twice and it’ll
    show Classic Login box. Now type “Administrator” (without quotes) in Username and leave Password field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.
    Now you can reset your account password from “Control Panel -> User Accounts”.
    Same thing can be done using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode Windows will show this in-built Administrator account in Login
    screen.
    2th Method:
    There are many 3rd party utilities which claim to recover forgotten Windows password:
    Windows Password Reset Tool is a program that works instantly to remove any lost or forgotten password. Simply boot your PC from the supplied Boot CD, and get access to forgotten Windows and administrator passwords in just seconds. Their method is so much faster/easier, and works great!
    http://www.resetwindowspassword.com

  27. christian hearn

    Sir, I want to install macromedia flashplayer 10.
    But I can’t. They said I must have administrative privileges to get that. But how I can get it? I really don’t understand. Could you teach me how to do that step by step? I really hope your answer..Thanks before..

  28. Tibor

    hi. i have the same problem:”Please check your accounts,iff you have no administrator privilege,please login again!” but i have i’m the administrator and why i just can’t update mi BIOS ?

  29. Tamil

    Hi Sir,

    Hi i m Tamil Arasan Sir i try to Disk Defregment in my computer but it ‘ll ask You should Have Administrator Privilege Volume. Can U Explan this how to clear this problem Please.

    Thank u Sir.

  30. happykaka

    It seems that created a reset CD is a common way to reset windows password. A few days ago. I have my computer password lost and so I download a Windows password unlocker from http://www.passwordunlocker.com .

    Firstly, I must use a second computer that can link to Internet. With this PC I downloaded Windows Password Unlocker 4.0 and decompress it on that PC. Note that: there is a .ISO file, I need to burn the .ISO file to a CD.
    Secondly, Got out the newly created CD and insert it to the locked computer.
    Thirdly, re-booted the locked computer and then followed the process of instructions. Just a few steps, the old password was removed.

    So I can re-login the locked computer with no password. But for safe, I created another password.

  31. Martin

    My machine displays “XP”. When I rebooted into safe mode, it said “XP Pro” and I could not change it. I followed the steps anyway and a lovely “Administrator” icon appeared, which was not the one I was using just before having to do all this, and had an ancient password. Things worked OK, I system restored, but now I’m worried that there is at least one other Administrator account on my machine….it’s wireless. I’d be very grateful if you could advise: how do I find out how many Administrator accounts there are on the machine; how can I safely delete them ? Thanks

  32. jiujiu

    There is a way to reset windows password without erasing anything.
    Follow the instructions:
    1.Free download the iso file : http://www.resetwindowspassword.com
    2.Burn it to a disk to create the boot disk, that simple.
    3.Configure your pc or laptop to boot in the cd drive,
    4.Insert the CD, reboot from CD drive, and then just follow the process of instruction. A few steps later, admin password would be cleared
    Setting new password:
    Step one: Open the “Control Panel”
    Step two: Click the “User Account “
    Step three: Select the account you wanna to set a new password.
    Step four: Click “changing Account ” and “set up password”, then fill out the form as listed. Click “Create Password”.

    Extra-cost utilities aren’t necessary.
    I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I
    get it back?
    discusses a free utility to do same.

    - Leo
    12-Jun-2009
  33. Rued

    Let me know if it is possible to install flashplayer 10 without administrative password.
    If so,please tell me the step by step process..
    Thank you..

  34. Ralph Hosmer

    I am using the Administrator Account (No Password and no other user accounts). When I run msconfig to remove a program from Startup, I get a message that I do Not have Administrator Priveliges and am allowed only to restart in Diagnostic mode. How do I eliminate the restriction and allow me to restart in normal mode?? Note: this has happened both before and after I UnInstalled the program.

  35. Glyn Gill

    Hi, (I am on Windows XP Proffessional) i got this new mobile broadband dongle from vodafone. It is a plug and play device so you plug it in and it should install itself. When it gets around to installing it says “Administative privileges are needed to install this software. The installer will now close” I am the admin of the computer and i am really stuck! Please Help!

    Regards, Glyn Gill.

  36. les

    Hi glyn , not able to help but i am having exactly the same problem was having a problem with internet conection (voyager 105 moden)bought vodafone dongle to check if computer was past it,s best as it,s 8 years old (on windows xp
    home edition). problem after problem at present.

  37. les

    Hi again 2 weeks ago my computer was running so slow i decided to reload back to out of box condition then put back on basics (wired broadband/antivirus and google worked like lighting until the connection started dropping this coincided with computer problems at cash machines etc,not realising this i bought the dongle which would not load (same message as yours)when installed automatic updates inc xp service pack 2 this cured the dongle problem but slowed the computer right back down.removed xp service pack 2 working fine again but no dongle would suggest you make sure your updates are up to date and it might cure your problem.

  38. kumar

    But still i could not get administrative privileges on this system. So guide me some other ideas to do so. Thanks in advance.

  39. Trisha Fleming

    Hi, my name is trisha and I need help. I have tryed to download the Adobe Flash Player but it stoped and then it said that I need to go to Administrator and then I did everything on there, Then I got this code number 94173. Then I end up here do you think you can help me I hope so. Thanks

  40. Julian

    I’m trying to use a DVD burning program to backup my entire harddrive, but every time I select that option, I get a message saying “Drive backup is only available for users with administrative rights. Please contact your system administrator or log in as an administrator.” But even after I log in as an administrator, I keep getting this message!

    Is there any way for me to make my computer or this program realize that I am logged in as an administrator and stop giving me that message?

  41. Cam

    Hello
    I am having a problem with my windows xp home edition .I recently had to completly re-install the operating system ,everything went well .as i was trying to update some of the drivers ( found I could not access a properties tab for the monitor ,even loged on as adminstrator ????

  42. M. Shoaib

    That is good thing but what if some one has lost administrator password and using the user account with limitations so how can i get administrator rights not password, is there any way to do so if yes than let me know please …

  43. wael

    Dear
    My PC is connected to a local Network belongs to my company , so in fact I can not create any new user

    also when PC Start do not give this options to start in safe mode ???
    please help
    thanks
    wael

    If the PC belongs to your company and has been configured to disallow it, you may not be able to get administrative privileges. Talk to your company’s IT deparment.

    Leo
    21-Feb-2010

  44. Nicole

    I got this computer as a gift from one of my old teachers. My problem is that I can’t get into my administrative account. The only choice it gives me is STUDENT. When I go to user accounts it does not let me add another account, or change any of the settings on this account. The only choice it gives me is to CHANGE MY PICTURE. Please help me out. Thank you so much.
    Nicole

  45. Steve

    Hi
    I would like to create a new account in XP with administrative privileges to install software etc but limit some of the things this account can do with full rights i.e. elevate the privileges of other accounts. How would I do this?
    Cheers

  46. Luiggi

    I went to manage and I’m unable to Local Users and Groups because there is nothing that says LOCAL USERS AND GROUPS…

  47. dinesh

    Hi, i have set admin rights as told above. But when i login to the same computer through Remote desktop i’m unable to see the LOCAL USERS AND GROUPS…

  48. jamiefreemansaks

    i need java adobe google toolbar no pop up blockers msn games webkinz installed and i cant get it and a better virus program

  49. martin

    in XP Pro I have one adminstrator account which I created. this allows me to create users and do some adminstrator tasks and the OS calls me adminstrator BUT when I try to load software it tells me I need ‘administrator privileges’. what can I do? why is this OS so flaky still?

  50. James

    I know that the directions in this article can’t help me, since I’m running Xp Home sp3. I’ve looked around in the comments and followed the directions of other people who run the same os type as I do, but that didn’t work, either. What else can I try to do to retrieve my rights?

  51. Rodney Paul

    I have a locked PC from my company that has a VPN circuitry, I wish to install google talk and search options and system doesnt allow me to install .s there a way to install these harmless and useful systems in a sytem that is locked for the user? how?

  52. Anonymous

    im starting some research on how to crack the admin code… i already know that you can burn ohpcrack onto a cd and let it run when the computer boots so you can get the admin password but its a pain in the ass and im looking if there are any other easier alternative ways… so far, i reccomend using ohpcrack

    Everyone should realize that if you have physical access to a machine it’s trivial to reset the Windows administrator password. More here: I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

    Leo
    07-Aug-2010

  53. j0lt

    I have the same problem as Martin. I have admin privileges, but when trying to install games (other applications seem to install just fine) it tells me that I need administrator privileges.

  54. Jann Pattersn

    I created a new admin password. Too many characters/digits evidently. Can’t even get Start menu up. the only thing i can get to is Guest account,

  55. Craig

    I have the same problem. My administrator account is gone so i went into safe mode, right click my computer, I click manage, and then there is no Local Users and Group

  56. angelicanna

    There are many password reset tools, but I haven’t personally tested them. Windows Password Recovery Basic is a widely spread edition though…

    Once reboot the computer with CD/DVD/USB, remove the lost or forgotten password and then log in to your computer without any password.

    Here is its official website, Hope it helps
    http://www.windowspasswordrecovery.net/

    That’s a commercial (for-pay) product. This article discusses a free alternative: I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

    Leo
    24-Nov-2010

  57. bernard

    after you change the administrative privileges to a certain account, will you still need a the password to access that account? because i have only one account but no administrative password so i don’t want to do all of this to find i can’t use my account at all. also you said you pressumed that we would have our administrative password already, why did you assume this? should we have been given it before on a piece of paper or something?

  58. Lance

    I cannot boot into XP safe mode now that I have dual-boot system with 7. It automatically boots into 7. How can I get the safe mode boot to stop and ask me which system I want for safe mode?

    Also, I never used any password for any user including the administrator. Will that affect how I can use admin privileges?

  59. SYED.CUTE.SHALEEM@G

    TO ATTAIN ADMIN PREVILAGE_
    1.press cntl+alt+delete,then rename username:Administrator,press enter..
    2.way right click my computer menu, go to “manage–>local users & groups–>users” and go 2 ur login name right click n go to properties–>member of—>add–>advanced–> findnow/ select the Administrator n then apply n ok!
    tatz it~! guys try tis!

  60. Bolt

    leo… this is not helping me at all… i want an perfect administrator jus like when i install Windows XP Service pack 2… (while installing new OS on my HDD)…plz help men… :(

  61. Bevlyy

    I have xp professional I moved an restarted my computer an I only have one user. The administrator account is gone. I tried safe mode it just had ‘help’ there wasnt any admin acc. Just the one user with limited permissions. Then I tried the control alt delete that didn’t do anything. But I can’t do anything with it because I don’t have an account with permissions. Any help will we greatly appreciated.

    You can re-enable and set the password for your administrator account using this technique: I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

    Leo
    24-Nov-2011
  62. edge

    *Press the “ctr+alt+delete” twice to get into the old login mode.
    *Enter username:administrator and your password.
    *That’s it…….

  63. Mark Jacobs

    @Josh
    Clicking on the first link: “I’ve lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?” in the “You may also be interested:” list above should answer your question.

  64. Ahmed

    it shows that “Access is denied , Error Occurred while attempting to save properties of group adminstrators on Desktop proj56″

  65. Bambi

    I have just gotten a used computer from my friend and I am not able to download the adobe flash player. It is saying I need to go to the administrative asst. How do I do that and do I need a password? Because I don’t have it. Please help.

    Sincerely,

    Bambi

  66. marinus

    I’ve had XP for a decade, running different hardware.
    F8 has NEVER brought up the safe mode screen you speak of.
    Only two possibilities seem to exist:
    1] i exist in some alternate dimension.
    2] you’re wrong

  67. Michka'el

    Hi again Leo and friends. Your not going to believe this! I corrected my chkdsk running on every start up and gained full control again.But Now: I set myself up as an administrator along with two others that were on this used Dell 8300 home computer OS windows XP-Pro/Pent4.And limited the other two administrator’s.All i have now is “one limited account” and am unable to change anything! I can sign on and go into Safe mode and everything else but am totally unable to restore “any user accounts.” How can I get things back to Normal? Please help me again.thank you.Michka’el.

  68. Jim

    I am running two computers with Windows XP(separate Lic) on each computer on a home network. I have tried to access a program installed on computer 1 through Computer 2. Computer 2 see’s Computer 1 on the network and will allow through sharing the program I want to run through Computer 2. However, when I try to run the program it denies me by saying I do not have Adminstrators rights. Well to my knowledge I am the adminstrator to both computers. I need to get someone to help me configure these computers so that I can do this, and so far reading some of the answers I have gotten have done nothing but confuse me, and in one case forced me to reload windows to get back to where I started. So if you can help me out that would be great, but keep it simple please. Some of the answers I have got, a person would need a PhD to understand.

  69. Janet

    Good evening, hi my name is Janet and I know next to nothing about computers. However, I still get angry when I want to delete something on my windows 8 laptop and it asks me for administrative privileges. Please help before I break it. Ps, it came with a linox os and my friend with a windows 8.1 is having the same issue.

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