Administrator privliges

So a neighbor asks me to help hook her daughter’s laptop to their home printer. The laptop was bought as a mandatory item in a private high school. When I get there I first try to find out what kind of hardware it has installed. Right click my computer, properties, then I am told I am denied access. OK, I’ll go through control panel. No control panel. No run button.

I figure, forget about exploring the hardware. After spending 45 minutes downloading the printer driver on their internet connected PC, and burning it to a CD, I install it. Printer won’t work. Seems you need to be an administrator to add a peripheral. I am begining to wonder if the wireless router I talked her into getting will even be able to work with this thing.

My main question is, using windows XP Professional, is there a way to hook up a printer without being an administrator. If not, what do I tell them to tell the person in charge of the system to change so that a student can hook up the computer to peripherals at home. It seems obvious to me that the person in charge of the system itself has limited knowledge and has created the type of envoronment a company would place on it’s employees so that equipment they own can be used only exactly as they wish. I assume there is a middle ground that allows the school to control the computers when they access the schools intranet, and yet will allow them to function as a reasonable home computer off campus.

Any advice?

Sounds like it’s been pretty thoroughly locked down - a good thing with children except that you said that the neighbour bought it, not the school, so it belongs to the neighbour. The parent - not the child - should have the password.

With regards to the printer, what you want and need are Power User privs at least. You’ll need to get the school admin to set this up for you.

As for the wireless router, I’m assuming you also have a wireless PC card NIC? To get that correctly set, you’ll almost certainly require admin privs. Again, you’ll need to get the school admin to give you the local admin password or set up another admin account for you.

Your last assumption is correct, BTW. Domain accounts and local accounts are entirely seperate.


Thanks for the info. If I understand you correctly, it seems like they dumped the domain and user accounts together. I believe they did this knowingly, having complained in the past about students changing the desktop appearance, and I know that they are locked out of AIM and Kazaa, which is a great idea at school, not so hot for at home, particularly if you don’t have tons of money and would like to use the $2,000 laptop for personal stuff every once in a while.

So it sounds like that if my neighbor wants to hook up hardware, perhaps to use the computer to interface with a digital camera or whatever, that would be impossible as things now stand.

I would think it perfectly reasonable to allow parents to have local admin. access, the fact that many would have to ask their kids how to use it nothwithstanding.

So it does sound right that I can’t hook up hardware to the computer, or was I just not doing something correctly?

My daughter has a computer she uses at school, that has a built in wireless adaptor. When she comes home, her laptop detects and accesses our wireless network. I assume it is set up differently from my neighbors daughter’s. And I was the one who talked her into ordering a wireless router. I will feel bad if I can’t get it to work.

I suggest creating another user ID and use that ID at home. You will need administritor privileges to create the ID and install the printer or other hardware, but not to use it unless you set those rights. By default all hardware can be used by everyone. So assuming you know the administrator password:
Create the home user.
Shut the machine down.
Connect the PC to the printer.
Restart the PC. You did not state this, but if the printer is a plug and play (or plug and pray more often), it might be detected as the PC boots up. Cancel the detection and installation wizard.
Log on as the user you just created.
Find the setup file for the printer on the cd. While holding down the shift key, right click the file and select “RunAs” from the fly out menu.
Enter the a user name and password that has administrator rights. Make sure the domain name is set to the name of the local machine, not the school domain.
The setup wizard will start.
Follow the wizard prompts.
This should work for any hardware or software you want to install.
By doing it this way you will not disturb the user ID the school created and will be able to use the machine at home.
If you will want to share files between the two user ID’s create a seperate directory and use that. The “My Documents” directory is unique to each user and is you save a file there you will not have access to it if you are logged on as the other user.
Good Luck!

Great advice, but that is the problem. I have no idea what the administrator’s password is, and know for sure that the school is not going to give that out. This is the first year they have tried laptops, and it is turning to be a mess.

Probably the best way forward is for you to get the parents to speak to the school hand have them set up a seperate local admin user.

That’s awesome. You “buy” the hardware, but it’s controlled by someone else? I could understand having them log onto a restricted network, that could work. But the first rule of network security is if someone has physical access, you’ve lost the war.

I would suggest some things, but I wouldn’t want to get knocked for encouraging hacking, even if it is your own gear. :stuck_out_tongue: I’d say asking someone with authori-tah what the heck they were thinking is the way to go.

Yes, it’s a very interesting situation. I have two girls who go to the same private school, but this laptop thing is brand new for entering freshmen only and my kids are in different grades. Hopefully, in three years when my youngest is a freshmen the kinks will be worked out. I was personally outraged that they got parents to buy the hardware and software and then control it. Like I said, there is not even a control panel, so I can’t even get to the add a user page. And the teachers are making up stuff to do, just to use the computer. For instance, this how thing involving me started because the assignment was to draw a map of india using the paint subroutine and print it in color, and they won’t let you print in color at school because it costs too much.

Anyway, anything you tell me is fine because they only want to use their own equipment at their own house for their personal purposes. Nothing illegal, immoral, or anything.

When I went to add a printer and clicked on it only had a listing to choose from one at the school, the drop down menu only had qrsnetwork, and I couldn’t get to place where I could add a local computer. Is this an area of exploration. Also, their are rumors of other students who are able to print at home. I have no idea if they found a work around or whether they contacted the IT people at school. This has become a mission with me, to figure out how to do it. Any further advice is greatly appreciated.

First off, the school has a right to protect its network. On the other hand it is your notebook and you have a right to use it as you see fit when not connected to their network…

From a technology standpoint there are many solutions to this problem.

I might suggest a meeting with the school to discuss this. It appears to me that the school did not take the wishes of parents into account when they created the policy that covers student owned computers connecting to their network.

If it comes down to it and the school will not work with you, I suggest you take the machine to a pro that can gain admin access.

What I would do if someone came to me with this problem is to perform a repair of the OS and in the process reset the admin password. It will not change the settings the school setup, other then to change the local admin password and will give you complete access to the machine.

From there you can proceed as I suggested earlier.

I agree with the comment earlier to have them (the school) create a local Admin account. I set up XP boxes like this all the time, and it does allow protection of the domain and adherence to the domain policies, while allowing use as a “personal” computer off-domain.

If the school techs don’t want to do this, then you may have to press the issue. However, since it is a private high school, I imagine you’ve had to essentially sign your rights away in saying that you and your children will adhere to all school policies whether or not they make sense or are logical, and then you may be at the point of either getting another computer and a USB thumb drive to transfer files.

Can’t you just log in as the Super Administrator? Ctrl-Alt-Delete-Delete at the login prompt?

I have no problem with the school protecting and controlling its domain. I really have no problem with them controlling what the computer can and cannot do at school. Unfortunately, they made no provision for setting up two accounts, one limited and one admin for home use.

I talked to my friend today. She called the school on Monday and they have not called back. Everyone except the person who thought of the idea hates the laptop idea, and I think they are avoiding everyone.

I will try to be a super administrator, and/or also try and F8 safe boot. Hopefully, one or the other should work.

The Super Admin can override anything (including other Admins) and can do almost anything to the computer that you can imagine. Just hold down Ctrl and Alt, and hit Delete twice at about the speed of a slow double click. When it asks for a password, just hit Escape.

For NT/2000 you can use a Linux boot disk to reset the PW. You’ll have to look around the net for it, however :slight_smile:

Step One —_buy new laptop hard drive
Step Two — remove existing hard drive
Step Three —_swap drives…

Alternately, get a copy of XP and reinstall the OS. You would need that after step 3 anyway. I would find this intolerable. My daughter-in-law has a similarly challenged laptop, but it was given her by her employer. No problem with that.

Another thing you could try:

When you start up your computer, login with Administrator as the username and leave the password blank.

WindowsXP creates this administrator account by default at the same time it makes the default login account. Most inexperienced network admins will not remember to change the password on the default administrator account. Based on how locked down the laptop you have is, I think it’s unlikely that the school’s admin would have forgotten this, but you never know.

I’m restating this to affirm it’s truthfullness, and that it works for XP as well. The default administrator password can be reset by creating a linux boot floppy (or cd) from software that’s “out there”.


On the contrary. Based on how the laptop is locked down, I think it’s very probable that the school’s admin forgot that. Doing things like removing “run” from the start menu doesn’t add any security at all, but it’s the sort of thing an administrator might do if he or she didn’t know how to do “real” security.

I agree that your cause is just, but this board is read by people both just and unjust, so I won’t give any specific instructions here. But if you can’t get anywhere reasoning with the authorities at the school, then ask around for workarounds. Most college CS students could probably find one of the ways in, and there are probably other families at this school which have figured out specific workarounds.