RELATED: User Accounts, Groups, Permissions & Their Role in Sharing

A security group is really just a collection of user accounts. Rights and permissions are assigned to a group, and then those rights and permissions are granted to any account that’s a member of the group. Group membership can determine a user’s access to files, folders, and even system settings. Here’s how you can find out what groups a Windows user account belongs to.

Use the Local Users and Groups Tool for a Quick Look

If you just want a quick look at the local groups to which a user account belongs, the Local Users and Groups tool does the job nicely. Note that you’ll need to be signed on to Windows with an account that has administrator privileges to run this tool.

Hit Windows+R, type “lusrmgr.msc” into the Run box, and then hit Enter.

In the “Local Users and Groups” window, select the “Users” folder, and then double-click the user account you want to look at.

In the properties window for the user account, switch to the “Member Of” tab. This tab shows you the local groups to which the user account belongs, and also lets you add the account to other groups.

Use PowerShell (or the Command Prompt) for a More Detailed View

If you want a more detailed look at an account’s group membership that also includes the hidden system groups to which the account belongs, you’ll need to fire up PowerShell (or the Command Prompt; the command we’re discussing works the same there).

Hit Windows+X, and then click the “Windows PowerShell” option.

At the prompt, type the following command, and then hit Enter:

whoami /groups

Unfortunately, unlike using the Local Users and Groups tool we covered in the previous section, the whoami command does not let you check out groups for any user account other than the one with which you’re currently signed in.

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Walter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He's authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O'Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He's also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years.
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