This page provides an overview of the differences between the user accounts types you can setup on the computer.This blog provides an introduction into what user accounts are in Windows 7, 8, and 10. It outlines the differences between the user accounts types you can setup on the computer and how to go about modifying settings for a user account.
Administrative User Accounts
Most of the time when you hear reference to an Administrator account in Windows, that reference is to a regular user account that has administrative privileges. This is an account that has virtually all the power and privilege of the built-in Administrator account. But it also has a lot of security built in to help thwart security threats that might otherwise abuse that account’s privileges to do harm to your computer.
Ideally, you want to create one user account with administrative privileges on your computer. If you intend to implement parental controls, you’will need to password-protect that account to keep children from disabling or changing parental controls.
A standard user account is the kind of account everyone should use for day-to-day computer use. It has enough privilege to do day-to-day tasks such as run programs, work with documents, do e-mail, and browse the Web. It doesn’t’t have enough privilege to make changes to the system that would affect other people’s user accounts. It doesn’t have enough privilege to allow children to override parental controls. And most important, it doesn’t have enough privilege to let malware such as viruses and worms make harmful changes to your system.
If you use a standard account all the time, and use a built-in administrative account only when absolutely necessary, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your computer safe from Internet security threats.
The optional Guest account exists to allow people who don’t regularly use your computer to use it temporarily. Basically, it lets them check their e-mail, browse the Web, and play some games. It definitely won’t let them make changes to your user account or anyone else’s. Its limited privileges also help protect your system from any malicious software they might pick up while online.
Creating and Managing User Accounts
The best way to handle user accounts is for one person to play the role of administrator, even if that person isn’t a professional. In a home environment, it would most likely be a parent who needs to define parental controls. It’s best to log in to a user account that already has administrative privileges to get started. If you only have one user account, or are taken straight to the desktop at startup, then that account probably has administrative privileges.
As with most configuration tasks, you create and manage user accounts through the Control Panel. There are several pages you can use, and several ways to get to them. As always, there is no right way or wrong way. No good way or bad way. You just use whatever is easiest and most convenient for you at the moment. Here are a couple of ways to get to options for managing the user account you’re logged in to at the moment:
How To Create A User Account In Windows 7
This section will teach you how to setup a user account under the Windows 7 operating system.
- Left click Start Orb
2. Left click the Control Panel link on the Start menu.
3. This will load the Control Panel applet.
4. In the Windows Control Panel left click the User Accounts shortcut.
5. This will load the User Accounts software where you can configure existing user accounts or add a new one to the system.
6. Left click the “Manage another account” link.
7. Left click Create a new account link.
8. In the box type a name for the user account.
9. The next option will ask you to specify whether you want to make the user account a standard user account or an Administrator account.
- Standard account users can use most software and change system settings that do not affect other users or the security of the computer
- Administrator user accounts have more privileges; they have complete access to the computer and can make any desired changes. Based on notification settings, administrators may be asked to provide their password or confirmation before making changes that affect other users.
10. When finished specifying options left click the Create Account button. Windows will take a moment to finalize the changes of the new user account.
11. Left click the Cancel button to abort the change and close the window.
12. The new user account will appear on the next window.
How To Create A User Account In Windows 8 / 8.1
This section has been designed to teach you how to setup a user account under the Windows 8 / 8.1 operating system.
Like Windows XP and Windows 7, setting up a user account in Windows 8 is basically the same procedure and easy to do except the steps to get you where you need to be are different than in previous versions of Windows. Here’s how to do it:
To Access the Windows Control Panel in Windows 8 / 8.1:
On the Windows Start Menu enter desktop mode by clicking the desktop app.
Hold down the R key plus the Windows Start key at the same time, to open the Windows run dialog window.
The run dialog window will open. In the open box type the command control and left click the OK button or press Enter.
This will load the Control Panel applet.
In the Windows Control Panel double left click the User Accounts shortcut.
This will load the User Accounts software where you can configure existing user accounts or add a new one to the system.
Left click the “Manage another account” link.
Left click Add a new user in PC Settings. This will load the PC settings window where you can add a new user to the PC.
Under the Other users label left click the plus sign besides the add a user label. This will open the Add a user function.
In the first box, type a user name to identify the account on the PC.
Next, type a password that will be associated with the user account.
Confirm the password by typing the same thing in the Re-enter password box.
Type a password hint in the Password hint box.
Left click Next to proceed with the addition.
If the account you are setting up is a child’s account and you want to monitor what they do left click the box “Is this a child’s account? Turn on Family Safety to get reports of their PC use”.
This will enable reports for administrators or parents to see regarding the child’s usage of the computer.
How to Create Limited-Privilege User Accounts in Windows 10
1. Tap the Windows icon.
2. Select Settings.
3. Tap Accounts.
4. Select Family & other users.
5. Tap “Add someone else to this PC.”
6. Select “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.”
7. Select “Add a user without a Microsoft account.”
8. Enter a username, type the account’s password twice, enter a clue and select Next.
9. Tap the Windows icon.
10. Select the User icon at the upper left corner of the Start menu.
11. Select the new user. You’ll then sign into your account with your password from step 8.
You’re now using a non-Administrator account!
Congratulations! You now know how to create an additional user accounts in Windows 7 and 8 / 8.1, and how to create a limited user account in Windows 10. Although not an overly complex procedure, it is helpful for you to understand the security risks presented with using an administrator account for your day-to-day computing. That is why you should always setup a regular user account (or one without user accounts) and use the administrator accounts only when you absolutely need to modify system settings.