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Q.  I went to install a new program on my computer the other day, but it wouldn't let me because of something to do with Administrator rights. How can I log into my Administrator account so I can get this program installed? Please help me!

A.  When you're installing a new program on to your computer, certain ones may give you an error message that you've probably never seen before. It will say something like "You must have Administrator rights to install (insert program name) on this computer. Please log in to an account with Administrator rights and run this installation again." So, what exactly does that mean? Well, let me begin with a brief definition of Administrator rights.

The Administrator, when talking about computers, is like the sole leader of the whole PC. It's the one person who can go in and have unrestricted access to everything on the computer. They can create, delete and modify any of the files or folders on the computer, as well as, change any settings. Usually a computer has an Administrator and then other accounts that have a more limited access allowance. For example, in your household, you may be the Administrator, but you may also have other accounts created for your children or grandchildren.

So, when you're trying to install certain programs, your computer requires the Administrator rights to be intact. This usually only comes up if the program is of a more "detailed" or "advanced" nature. If you happen to come across this on your own computer, there are a couple of things you can do, so don't think all is lost. Now, when you boot up your computer normally, you probably won't see the Administrator account listed, but just because you don't see it, that doesn't mean it's not there. Those accounts are usually hidden, so you have to do things a little differently to get there.

In Windows XP, the best thing to do is boot your computer up in safe mode. To do this, restart your computer, but once Windows starts to boot up, hit the F8 key on your keyboard. You'll then be given a list of boot options and you can just select Safe Mode. Hit the Enter key and you will then see the Administrator account come up on the log in screen. Just enter in your password for the Administrator account and you'll be all set. Now, let's see how you can give your regular account (the one you normally use on your computer) Administrator rights.

Okay, once you're booted up in the Administrator account, right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Manage. From there, expand the Local Users and Groups folder. Click on Groups and then double click on Administrators. Choose Add and then enter the name of your regular account that you want to give administrator rights to. This is usually just your name, but if you named it something else (for example, The Internet Fixes Family), just make sure it's entered in correctly. Once you do that, just click OK to back yourself out of that.

Next, restart your computer normally and choose your regular account. It will then have the Administrator rights that you need to install the program. So, just run the install again and you should be all set!

Now, you may be wondering what you can do if you've forgotten the password to your Administrator account. This seems to happen quite a bit, so don't worry, you're not the only one. It's forgotten because you don't usually use that account and even if you have it written down, you probably don't know where it's at. Well, if this happens to be your case, here's what you can do.

You'll want to again reboot your computer in Safe Mode. (If, after reading this tip, you know you forget your password, make sure you do this part first!) Once you're in safe mode, go to Start, Run and type in "control userpasswords2." A new window will then come up with all of your passwords, etc. listed. Click to highlight the Administrator account and hit the Reset Password button. Type in a new password in both the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes. Click OK and your passwords will be changed.

After you do that, restart your computer normally and then you can get started on giving your other account Administrator rights, as we discussed above. I know this seems like a lot of work, but the bright side is that once it's all done, you'll be able to install any program that may give you the Administrator error.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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