When users are setting up their computers for the first time, Windows prompts users to create a default account for using to log in to the computer. If additional Windows 7 user accounts are needed later, how do you create them? How do you modify user account settings or remove accounts? Also, what account type should be chosen for new account(s)? Those are the questions that I am going to look at in this article. There are times when it is better to have each user of a computer assigned a user account of his or her own. Individual user accounts let users customize settings specific to his or her profile on the computer. Some of the customizable settings are the desktop background and the user account’s profile picture. Each individual user account also provides a dedicated set of folders for stuff like documents, pictures, and media for storing data in.
Before looking at how to create user accounts in Windows 7, I am going to discuss the two types of accounts that can be selected. As shown below, Windows 7 has two types of accounts Standard and Administrator. The default account created when first setting up the computer is always created as an Administrator account.
Standard account users can make changes to their own accounts and use most of the software installed on the computer. Standard users can also make some changes to system settings if those changes do not change the security of the PC or affect how others use the computer. Standard users cannot access certain parts of the computer unless they have the Administrator account’s password. If this password is needed, the User Account Control window will appear asking for the password to be entered. If a Standard account user sees a blue and yellow shield emblem to the left of a function in Windows, elevated access such as an Administrator account (or the password to the Administrator account) will be needed. Note: I will be addressing what User Account Control is and how to make changes to it in a future article.
Administrator accounts have full access to the computer. Administrator accounts can be used top make changes that will affect all users on the computers. Settings changes can cause issues on the computer if the administrator is not careful. As such, caution should be used in determining which accounts are set up as Administrators. User Account Control settings may require administrators to enter their password prior to applying some changes.
Although user account types can be changed between Standard and Administrator account types, one user account on the computer must be configured as an Administrator type account at all times. Also, users with Standard account access must enter the Administrator account password if the Standard user is trying to upgrade to an Administrator account. An example of the UAC window showing the prompt for the password is shown below.
Creating Windows 7 User Accounts
Creating user accounts in Windows 7 is a fairly easy process. Here are the steps for creating a new user account.
- Click on Start.
- Click on the option for Control Panel.
- From the Control Panel, users have a couple of options available for creating new user accounts. If you click on the link under User Accounts and Family Safety called Add or remove user accounts, another screen will appear. The second location to add user accounts is accessed by clicking on the User Accounts and Family Safety link. for this article, I am using the link directly accessible from the Control Panel.
- This screen is the Create New Account window. If the only other account on this PC is the Administrator account, skip to step 5. Otherwise, click on the Create a new account link below the dialog box for selecting an account.
- On the Create New Account window, users will need to provide a name for the account and select the account type.
- After entering the name and selecting the account type, click the Create Account button. At this time, the new account will be created.
Modifying User Accounts
When new user accounts are created, a password is not set up and a profile picture from the Windows 7 images is selected. If a password or other changes are needed, go to User Accounts and Family Safety using the option in the Control Panel. If the Control Panel needs to be opened again, please use steps 1 – 3 above from the Creating User Accounts section and then use the steps below to set up the password or make other account changes.
- Once at the Control Panel, click on the option for User Accounts and Family Safety.
- From the User Accounts and Family Safety window, click on either the User Accounts link or the Change your Windows password link. Note: The default option for changing the password or account picture is for the current user account. If the password needs changed for another account on the PC, skip to step 5.
- The next window to load is the User Accounts window in which changes to the account can be made such as creating, changing, or removing passwords along with options to change the account picture or account type. From this window, click on the appropriate link and enter the requested information.
- Once the needed information has been entered, click on the confirmation button such as the Change Password button in the second image below.
- If another account is the one that needs changed made to it, click on the Manage another account link as shown in the image below.
- The next window to load is the Manage Accounts window. Click on the account that needs changes made to it.
- Once the account has been chosen, the options available for changing will appear in the next screen.
- Click on the appropriate link, enter the necessary information, and then click the confirmation button like you did in steps 3 and 4 above.
Removing User Accounts
Removing accounts is a simple process to do as well. Use steps 1 – 5 from the Modifying User Accounts section to load the User Accounts section for Changing an Account and then use the following steps to remove user accounts. Note that there must be an administrator account still on the PC. As such, users cannot delete the current administrator account until another user account is set up as the Administrator account. Also, Standard users cannot delete their own accounts unless they have the Administrator account’s password.
- From the Manage Accounts window, select the account that will be removed.
- The Change an Account window will load with several options.
- Click on the option to Delete the account and the Delete Account window will load asking you to choose whether or not to delete or keep the user’s files. Pick the option needed to delete or keep the files.
- The final window for removing the account asks you to confirm that you want to delete the account.
- After clicking the Delete Account button, the user’s account will be deleted and the Manage Accounts window will reload showing the remaining accounts.
Family Safety/Parental Access Controls
The last area that I will be looking at are the family/parental controls that can be set to limit what children can access on the computer. To get to the Family Safety/Parental Access controls, please use steps from 1 – 3 from the Creating User Accounts section to get to the Control Panel window as shown in the image below and then use the steps after the image.
- Click on the link for Set up parental controls for any user.
- The Parental Controls window will load. Select the account that you need to set up Parental Controls for.
- After selecting the account, the following window will load. Under the Parental Controls section, click the radio button to turn on the parental controls and enforce settings.
- Once the parental controls have been turned on, three options in the Windows Settings section will become active. The right side of the window shows whether the settings are on or off.
- The Time Limits option allows users to select what times the accounts access is blocked. By default, the entire time is set to allow access and each time frame that needs blocked must be selected on the chart. After selecting the times that need blocked, click the OK button. Once the times for blocking access have been set, the user will be unable to use the account during those times.
- The Games section identifies whether or not the account can be used to play games and which games are allowed. Click on the Set Ratings link to select what games or types of content will be allowed or blocked. Click the OK button when finished. Depending on what games have been blocked, the Game Ratings: section on the right side of the window will indicate what is allowable access for this account.
- The Allow and block specific programs section is used to set access for the programs installed on the computer. The basic options are to allow access to all programs or only allow access to specific programs. The first image below shows the basic options. The second image shows the extended options for blocking access to specific programs. Note that the default setting for the options available in the second image is to not allow use of anything but the Windows operating system programs.
I hope this article has helped in identifying how to create additional user accounts, set account types, modify user accounts, remove user accounts, and set up family access/parental controls on computers. If there are any comments or questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below or email me at the address linked in my bio.