How-To Geek

How to Delete a User Account in Windows 7, 8, or 10

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If you have a bunch of user accounts on your Windows PC that you don’t need anymore, it may be time to clean them out. Today we’ll take a look at how to delete a user account in Windows.

NOTE: If you’ve hidden the user account you want to delete, you will not be able to delete it because it’s completely hidden from everywhere. You must show the account again before deleting it. Also, you will need to log into an account that has administrative privileges to delete user accounts. You cannot delete accounts from within a standard user account.

First: Back Up the User’s Data, If You Need It

The process of deleting an account is relatively easy, but you might want to back up their files and settings in case you need them again. Each user’s account settings and data are in the C:\Users folder under their user name. Back up the user’s folder to another location or an external drive before deleting the account. This is important especially for Windows 8 and 10, because you are not provided a way to do this when deleting the account.

In Windows 7, you are provided with an option to keep some (not all) of the files before deleting the account, as we’ll discuss later in this article. Note that not all folders from the user’s folder are copied to the folder on the desktop, so you may want to manually back up the user’s folder as well as any other settings or files located outside of the user’s folder to make sure you have everything you need.

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Delete a User Account in Windows 8 or 10

To delete a user account in Windows 10, click “Settings” on the Start menu.

NOTE: This process is similar in 8. However, to access the list of users you can manage or delete, search for “user accounts” on the Start screen and click on “Add, delete, and manage other user accounts” in the results. Then, follow the instructions starting with the Family & other users screen below.

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On the Settings window, click “Accounts”.

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Click “Family & other users” in the left pane on the Accounts screen.

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In the right pane on the Accounts screen, scroll down to the Other users section where other user accounts are listed. Click on the account you want to delete.

Notice that local accounts are labeled as such. Microsoft accounts will list the account name with the email address below it.

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Click “Remove”.

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You’ll be asked if you want to keep the files from that user. As we mentioned earlier, you should make sure to have a backup in case you need the files. If you are sure, then click “Delete account and data” to remove the user and delete the data.

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Once you’re finished, those accounts will no longer appear on the login screen.

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Delete a User Account in Windows 7

If you’re running Windows 7, make sure you are logged into an account with administrative privileges.

To delete a user, type user accounts in the search bar on the Start menu and click on “User Accounts” listed at the beginning of the list of results.

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Then, click the “Manage another account” link on the Make changes to your user account screen.

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On the “Choose the account you would like to change” screen, click the user account you want to get rid of.

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Next, click the “Delete the account” link.

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You are then given the option to either delete the user’s files or keep them. You may want to do this if they need them for another machine or you want to store them in case they’re needed later.

NOTE: We recommend that you back up files from the user’s account manually, because this method does not back up everything.

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Click “Delete Account” on the Confirm Deletion screen to delete the account.

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If you selected to keep the files, they are moved out of the account before the account is deleted.

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You are returned to the Choose the account you would like to change screen and the account you deleted is gone. Click the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the window to close it.

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If you chose to keep the files, they are saved in a folder on the desktop.

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As we mentioned earlier, not all the folders from the user’s folder are backed up using this method, only what’s listed in the image below.

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When you’re done, those users will disappear from the login screen.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 11/10/16

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