How to copy Admin user account? (6 consecutive days of horror)

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  1.    19 Jul 2016 #1

    How to copy Admin user account? (6 consecutive days of horror)


    First post, new to the fora, hope this doensn't exclude me from benefitting from your expertise though.
    Quite literally I've been troublehooting for almost 100+ hours (I'm an insomniac) since last "patch tuesday".

    Main/initial problem:
    After last updates my login for my only local Admin account on Win 10 64x Home has changed from PIN to password. I've been using that PIN for 18+ months and forgot my password so I am locked out of the account.

    Current phase/question: After trying numerous options to to work around the main problem as a last resort I now want to copy my user account to a newly created account but encounter troubles as well, so this is where I need your help.

    When a thread has a common title (like mine) or a large volume of text (as I will try to keep to a minimum though) there's always the risk people either will state the obvious or won't be bothered to read the whole thread. Nevertheless I will give a quick context and runthrough of what I've been trying as it may be needed for problemsolving.

    I have a dual-boot system (UEFI) with 2 separate SSD's and OS-es. One OS (Win 8.1) is a highly tuned DAW environment and the concerned OS is Win 10 Home. These are both OEM although I do have the original Win 8.1 DVD. Thing is this set-up should be indicative for the technically adept (who I so need!) regarding SECURE BOOT/CSM enabled and the shared license between the two OS-es (build by & bought from a professional DAW-builder so please no semantic discussion on "system" vs. "machine"). Also, I am the first to admit I am an idiot by not having a backup/restore disk or apparentely even a restore point, hence my last resort: copying the user folder/settings.

    - Initially I tried the original Win 8.1 disk for repair, cmd-line access etc. but nothing.
    - The dual-boot/UEFI prevents me from using resources like Hiren's boot and several Linux distros to use pasword recovery utilities since they don't play well with UEFI settings (ACPI) although with Kali I could boot and I tried to alter the SAM file (chntpw -l SAM / chntpw -u "username" sam) but without succes.
    - I had a Win Repair Disk lying around (downloaded) which eventually gave me acces to the registry and I activated the hidden Admin account (HKLM \ SAM \ Domains \ Account \ Users \ 000001F4 and the value F, Row 11, 0038 to 10). so now I finally had acces to the OS on GUI level. I created a new local Admin account and de-activated the hidden Admin account again with net user Administrator /active: no. Earlier attempts through wellknown options like 'Seth' file / Utility manager / net user options like create account /netplwiz did not work (can elaborate but trying to lmit text).

    Since then I've been trying (without altering and/or not rolling back) to gain acces to my locked local Admin account (non-Microsoft) with at first the "hidden" and now newly created Admin acccount but to no avail. I've given up and now only want to copy the user profile to another one as a workaround.

    I must say I've lost thorough conceptual understanding of accountmanagement since Win 7 and now under Win 10 I am completely lost as to how installing licenses/configs/rights/etc. relate. What I do notice though is that when I create a new user account (Admin or regular) all settings and most installed 3rd party programs (from the locked account) don't work. Why some are visible and do work (like a MP3-name change util) and others don't (VLC Player) for eg. I don't know. Even if I download and install for eg. MPC-HC media player under a newly created account I get errors so there must be something with double registry entries and/or rights for which I have no proper understanding.

    So much for the context. Now the troubles with copying the user account: Although the boot SSD only contains Win10/programs and my media files are stored on a seperate HDD I do need my account back for some database data plus I have no proper conceptual understanding of the actual and possible errors I'd encounter with other locally created accounts in my last paragraph.

    1. Copying the profile through diskmanagement doesn't work (greyed out) and regedit neither since Win 10 Home registry doesn't show a user folder.
    2. So then I tried though Explorer \user accounts. The locked out account was about 11 GB and I could easily copy the contents to a newly created standard account. It did seems strange to me that I wasn't prompted about the files/maps overwriting the (similair named) maps of the new account though. Giving Admin rights and rebooting and logging in under this account had no results.
    3. Rolling back I figured \Appdata is by far the biggest and hidden folder (30 GB) I exposed it, gained access and tried to copy that to the new account. Worked fine for 99% then ran into Content.IE5 as well as as some alphanumerical named .DAT files which wouldn't copy. IE5 for lack of rights, the DAT files for having too long a name for destination.
    4. Realising I was probably copying corrupt NTuser.dat/ini/cfg as well I tried tried the proces again de-selecting the NTuser files. No succes either.

    I hope this post doesn't seem to chaotic. I tried too briefly describe what I've been trying to do and moved towards my current angle for solution: Duplicating (as much as possible) of the locked user account.

    Now easiest way -some might say- is a fresh install. But given the dual-boot nature and the shared OEM license (which I did not set-up and have no clear understanding of other than the DAW-builder mentioning it was a PITA) even such a simple solution could seem fatal from my pov for my DAW environment. With numerous MIDI-components, 15+ external HDDs etc. it would end me having to restore or set that up again so...

    If someone could point me in the right direction I'd be ever so grateful. I know too little about Win accountmanagement and the limitations of a HOME Edition (first & last time I buy such one) to properly understand the errors I encounter but maybe the experts here can (easily?) deduct something from what I've described or even offer a (semi-)solution.

    Thanks in advance.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. philc43's Avatar
    Posts : 3,824
    64bit Win 10 Pro ver 1809 Build 17763.292 and W10 Insider Build 18312
       19 Jul 2016 #2

    Once you have created a new Admin local account you can use it to change the password of your original account so you can then access it and it saves you having to copy everything across. Use option 3 of the tutorial below.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    19 Jul 2016 #3

    I don't have that option. All I can do is change an Admin to regular or delete the account. Could be a Home version limitation.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. philc43's Avatar
    Posts : 3,824
    64bit Win 10 Pro ver 1809 Build 17763.292 and W10 Insider Build 18312
       19 Jul 2016 #4

    Can you not get option 5 in the tutorial to work either? I guess if not then there is a limitation in the Home version.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    19 Jul 2016 #5

    Nope, exhausted all net user options (as briefly touched upon in my post).

    Edit: I do wonder though if the Home limitations should reside on cmd/kernel level too and not just GUI.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 35,441
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro build 18317
       21 Jul 2016 #6

    Hello Martijn, :)

    Did you enable the built-in "Administrator" account in Windows 10 using OPTION FOUR below?

    Afterwards, did you sign in to the built-in "Administrator" account, and see if you are able to change the password for your local account? Option 3 below is available in all Windows 10 editions.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    21 Jul 2016 #7

    Hi Brink,

    Thanks for responding!

    I did try your first suggestion yes but got a message the SAM file is in use (using an elevated Admin account). Also the /user folder isn't available/visible in the registry of a Win 10 Home Edition.

    As for your second suggestion: The weird thing is this option isn't available either for me regarding the blocked account. I can only change it to default or delete it.

    EDIT: In a very early stage of my troubleshooting (8 days ago) I did manage to access the registry through a Win Repair Disk (just downloaded it somewhere some time ago) and activated the "hidden" Admin -as described in my initial post. I used it to create another Admin account then de-actived the "hidden" Admin account again through CMD-line (had to since reverting the registrykey somehow was't accessible anymore).
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 35,441
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro build 18317
       21 Jul 2016 #8

    If the SAM file is in use, then it sounds like you didn't open a command prompt at boot from your installation media independent of the OS.

    1. Boot from your Windows 10 installation USB or recovery drive, and open a command prompt at boot (Shift+F10).
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9.    21 Jul 2016 #9

    I see. I didn't realise (as I'm learning along the way) opening the command prompt from pre-login differs from accessing it when already in the OS regarding rights and/or proper access.

    This could very well account for all the other limitations I encountered on many other levels so it's definitely something I am going to look into again. Like mentioned though the Win Repair Disk I initially used to gain access wasn't created by myself since I failed to created something of a backup or boot-disk from the current OS (I know, a classic and carnal mistake!). Hope using this medium again doesn't cause issues but since I gained acces again to the OS I could probably also create one now myself using the links you provided me with.

    You've provided me with some new ammo to look into it again. For now I'm kinda beat physically though (no sleep and high summer here) so am gonna have to give my eyes some rest. Should I solve my issues I'll be sure to provide proper feedback for closure of this thread.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 35,441
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro build 18317
       21 Jul 2016 #10

    You're welcome. I hope it helps. :)
      My ComputersSystem Spec

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