Microsoft Windows

Windows 7 Foundation

Managing Users in Windows 7

User accounts in Windows 7 allow you to setup different profiles for different people using your computer. This will keep your settings, documents, mail files, favorites, and so on separate so you can all lead your own lives on your computer! It’s easy to setup and use multiple accounts in Windows 7 and this section will show you how to create and manage users and setup parental controls so you know your children will be more safe on the Internet.

Creating Users

You can setup as many user accounts as you wish on your computer, allowing each person in your household to have a Windows profile with their own documents, desktop images, mail files, Internet Explorer favorites, and so on, so you do not intrude on each other on one physical computer. You can share files among your different user accounts to make it easy if you want to write a Christmas letter with your wife, as an example. By default, you setup at least one account when you installed Windows, here’s how you create another user account:

  1. Click on the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Click on Add or remove user accounts.
  3. Click on Create a new account.
  4. Enter the account name you want to use. Select whether or not the user will be a Standard user, one which will not be able to change some system settings or install some types of software, or an Administrator, a user with full control on the computer. A Standard user is recommended for most user accounts you will create so that the user does inadvertently cause major problems on your computer.
  5. Click Create Account. A new user account has been created!

Resetting a User’s Password

When you create a new account, by default, it does not have a password set. If you set a password or the user creates their own password and subsequently forgets it, you can reset the password with any administrator account. If you forget the password of an administrator account and have no other administrator accounts on the machine, you’re in some trouble! To reset the password of a user on the computer:

  1. Click on the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Click on User Accounts and Family Safety.
  3. Click on User Accounts.
  4. Click on Manage another account. (You can change your own password on this screen if you’d like).
  5. Click on the account you want to reset the password for.
  6. Click Change the password.
  7. Enter a new password, confirm it, and then enter a password hint.
  8. Click Change password to change the user’s password.

Deleting an Account

If no longer need a user account, you can delete it to remove it from your computer. When you delete an account, you can choose whether or not save the person’s documents (not their email, however). Once you delete an account, the user’s profile – all of his or her settings and files – is deleted.

  1. Click on the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Click on Add or remove user accounts under User Accounts and Family Safety.
  3. Click on the user account you would like to delete.
  4. Click on Delete the account.
  5. Select whether or not you want to Delete or Keep the user’s files.
  6. Confirm you would like to delete the account.
  7. The account is deleted and any of the user’s files are copied to your desktop.

Configuring Parental Controls

Windows 7 contains flexible parental controls you can use to help lock down your child’s account. They aren’t a good substitute for parental monitoring and involvement (in other words, an enterprising kid can bypass some of the controls if they’re smart enough and have the right access level), but it is a good option for young kids or as a baseline of control over what you’re children do. The first step to using parental controls is to setup a user account for your child. Next, let’s setup some parental controls:

  1. Click on the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Click on Set up parental controls for any user under User Accounts and Family Safety.
  3. Click on the user account you would like to setup parental controls for.
  4. Turn parental controls on by clicking on the On, enforce current settings radio button.
  5. You have three ways you can control what the user does: time limits, games, and allow or block specific programs. Time limits allows you to select what hours of what days the user is permitted to logon to the computer and use it. Games allows you to block all games that use parental ratings or select specific game ratings permitted. You can also block or allow specific games. Finally, you can allow or block specific programs on the computer. This allows you to allow the user to only use programs you specify.
  6. Once you’ve set the parental controls you want to enable, click OK.

In this section of the Windows 7 tutorial, we explored how to setup user accounts, manage them, and activate parental controls. In the next section of this tutorial, we’re going to discuss how to add or remove software programs in Windows 7.