Information, Technology & Consulting

Initial Passwords in Operating Systems

Step-by-Step

Windows Systems

Windows systems typically arrive with no password attached to the Administrator's account. We recommend changing this as soon as possible. To change the Administrator's password or to update a password for an account in the Administrators group for your computer:

  1. Log in with the user name Administrator and a blank password OR with the user name of an  account in the Administrator group.
  2. Next, change the password to something non-trivial. To do this, press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys all at the same time. The Windows Security window will appear.
  3. Click Change Password, then enter the current (old) password (which may be blank) then the new password in both the New Password and Confirm fields.
  4. Click OK, then Cancel.

Another way to prevent hackers from gaining access to your system is to change the default login names. On Windows systems, there is a default user of Administrator. Lately, this account is disabled, but it may be active on your computer. Changing the name on this account will make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your computer. In addition to guessing the password, they will need to guess the user name as well. Like the password, the user name should not be your name or some combination of your name, but rather something that is not easily determined about you.

To change the name for the Administrator's account on Windows if it is active:

  1. In Windows 10, press the Windows-key and the "X"-key. In the pop-up menu, click Control Panel. In Windows 7, click the Start button, then Control Panel.
  2. Double-click User Accounts and then Change your Account Name or Manage another account if you are changing the name of another account.
  3. Click the Administrator account from the list of accounts currently set up on the computer, then click Properties.
  4. In the User Name field, enter the new name of the Administrator's account. This should be a different account than your own. The account with which you are currently logged into your computer will need to have Administrator privileges (e.g., be a member of the Administrator's group) in order to do this.

Macintosh OS X

To prevent others from accessing your system, change the Administrator's password:

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then Users & Groups.
  2. Select the user(s) listed as type Admin, then click the lock icon at the bottom left corner if it is not already open to allow you to make changes.
  3. Click the Change Password button, then enter the current password followed by the new password in both the Password and Verify fields.
  4. In the Password Hint field, you may optionally enter a clue that will remind you of what you entered for the password, depending upon how your Login Options are set. This hint should not include information that would help someone guess the password. It should be a hint that is useful to only you.
  5. Click Change Password.

Details

Strong passwords are recommended for all users. They can best be created by following the Password Rules and Recommendations suggestions.

Windows Systems

Within Windows systems, an Administrator account is automatically created when you set up a system. This account may default to using a blank password. This is a common way that hackers can gain access to your system. In addition, this may be a "hidden" user, so if you look at the users set up on your computer, you may not see this user.

Macintosh OS X

Mac OS X also has a password which you are asked to supply when you first set up your computer. This first user is by default the local Administrator. You need this password to install software on your computer. If a hacker can determine this password, they can install whatever they want on your computer. To prevent others from accessing your system, ensure all Administrators have a strong password.

 

Topic: 
Computer and Device Services
Subtopic: 
Desktops and Laptops
Last updated: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

If you have questions or need further information, contact your department's IT support office, or contact the IT Service Desk via email at [email protected], via phone at 603-646-2999 or walk in to see them in Baker/Berry 178J.

Close
Information, Technology & Consulting