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Beginner Geek: Add a New User Account in Windows 7

If you’re a home user who skipped the Windows Vista release and are moving from XP to Windows 7, one thing you might want to do is create new user accounts for other members of the household. Since the interface is laid out quite differently than XP, we will take a look at user accounts in the new OS.

Several aspects of the user interface have changed from XP to Vista and Windows 7. If your computer is shared by the rest of your family, it is nice to be able to give each person their own account. However, you probably don’t want to give the same functionality to each of them. Let’s take a look at how to add a new user account, an overview of each account type, and assigning the type to each user. 

Add New User

To add a new user open Control Panel and under User Accounts and Family Safety click on Add or remove user accounts.

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Now click on Create a new account.

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Just type in the name of the user and select the type of account. Your best bet is to make them a Standard User so they cannot make changes to system settings, delete other users important files, or change security settings.

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Now when you reboot the PC you will see the new users you created at the log in screen.

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Of course a user who’s account is password protected will need to log in to start their session.

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Standard users won’t be able to make any important system changes without the admin password.

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As Administrator you can make additional changes to the account like changing or creating user passwords.

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Types of User Accounts

There are three types of user accounts and each provides the user with different levels of control over the computer.

  • Administrator – The Admin account have complete control over the computer and its settings.
  • Standard – Standard users can use most of the capabilities on the machine. They cannot install software, delete system files, or change settings. If you’re working in a Standard account and need to make system changes, the administrator password will be needed. 
  • Guest – Let’s a user have temporary access to the computer. They cannot install software, make any changes, or create a password. This is a good choice for someone to use to check their email quick or type out a document.

Here is an example of what a user with a Standard account would see if they tried to monkey around with something they shouldn’t be.

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The Guest user account it off by default but you just need to go in and turn it on.

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The only changes available to the Guest account are changing the picture and turning it on or off.

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User Account Tips

If you’re the administrator and installing software, remember to select if you want it available for all users or only yourself.

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Keep in mind that if you shut down the machine while another person is logged in, they might lose all any data they have not yet saved. Even though you get a confirmation screen, it might be worth mentioning to other users so they are aware of it, especially in a busy household.

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These basic tips should help create and configure user accounts so each member of the household has their own account when working on the computer.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/26/09

Comments (14)

  1. Santo

    I don’t think there will be any other better way to explain the steps. Very good, keep up the good work.

    I am sure that there are many computer users who are not aware of the steps on how to create user accounts. Many such steps for different procedure should be posted in HTG.

  2. Gordian DSouza

    I have just purchased Windows 7 and would like to know the procedure for making partitions

  3. abdo

    thankyou very very much

  4. Joy Morris

    I am trying to get to the stage of my emails where I want to have privacy and that means I need to make sure that no one else can activate and see my emails. My husband can by just logging with out my password it brings up all my emails to read. I have tried to make a new account and dont seem to be successful, how can I rectify this problem Joy Morris

  5. Bob H.

    With you there Joy – I’ve been trying to make a new account – Windows 7 Professional – with no success. Really don’t understand ‘domain’. bob H.

  6. mom

    Encrypt files and folders that you don’t want to allow any access to.

  7. HAWAII2002

    I originallyset up my accounts as you stated. My problem now is at the windows startup screen I can only see the user account last used. in order to switch users I must click on a blank box, type in user and password. Not sure why all three of my user accounts no longer appear on the startup screen. Please help. I already tried the netplwiz method without results.

    thank you

  8. Karl Grissom

    Good help article. User accounts are pretty basic stuf but I have never ever worried about since I am the only one using the laptop. Also, on my company laptop, I am the adminstrator and that is what I use all the time for daily task since I am a developer. It is XP Pro but my home/ personal laptop, new, just got since the other one died, is Win 7 Pro. OS came preinstalled but when configure for first time use apparently it had ask me to create a standard account along with the adminstrator account I was using to setup everything. I restored files from a backup that I needed and installed all the software but never to into account that there was a standard account with my full name while the admin account just had my first name. None if the restore files are veiwable to the standard account.

    Ok, after that long winded rant, since I am the only user, is ok to continue to use the Admin account as my main and only account? I was think of deleting the the standard account. Only I can think that might be a risk in that is if using the admin account something seriously happens to hose that account, how would I be able to log back into to recover an do adminsitrative needs to restore and fix anything. If I should be using the standard account for everyday use, what do I need to do in the admin account to make retored files and all new install programs be available to that account. I would then only use the admin account to download and install stuff.

  9. threenorns

    hi – how would i go about creating a user profile with firewall, defender, AV, etc, removed but leave it intact for the main account? i work from home and it’s a PITA having to reset, reload, etc, every time i start and finish a shift. ideally, i would like to click and go into my work environment with no access to (f.ex MSN IM or and with no antivirus, firewall, etc, installed) , then either log out or reboot and go into my personal environment with no access to work programs and files.

  10. Becky

    after creting an additional use on my computer, I cannot figure out how to transfer their files to their user account

  11. Jeff

    Just got turned on to your site. What a great resource. Take this article for example, step by step, exactly what needs to be done in sequence and with graphics. I do IT support and believe that I will be sending some of my users articles to end users. The key at the heart of all good documentation is that it is useful to a wide audiance. Microsoft could take some tips from you!

  12. Will Snyder

    So far so good, but its so jacked up by her, it’s gonna take some fine tuning. I am on to the game, and can fix it. She has a program that can figure out passwords, but those couldnt be figured out with Ales Trebec. We’ll see, drop me a line. She is a nut on these things and I am a worker, very different but when you jack with my money, shit our money your jackin with the wrong guy. This shuts off all forwarding info, and will lock it down tighter. Keep me posted, anything to help. Thanks, Will

  13. Will Snyder

    So far so good, I am going to school on this, and I don’t have the time to be jackin with this crap, she knows better. Bitch is crazy, as all of them are. Got to break them of habit. This is an easy way to learn please advise just be sure she can’t see shit. We’ll roll. Thanks Will

  14. Judy Jardin

    Very well put together. Easy to follow steps. Awesome! I can definitely use this. Thanks!

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