How to Manage User Accounts on Windows 10

Introduction

In this guide, we'll walk you through managing your Windows profile, for security and setting up so others can use the computer, as well.

Profiles provide a way for you to store all your personal settings, such as which browser you use, how the desktop looks, and how the mouse works. These settings are personal and unique to each person, Windows offers profiles to allow that level of customization for each person that uses the computer.

Profiles also provide the first level of security; access to the computer itself.

This guide will walk you through:

  • Understanding different types of profiles, and choosing the most appropriate type for someone.
  • Creating a new profile for a new person.
  • Managing profiles for multiple people.

? Would you like to manage an existing profile, or create a new one?

  1. Manage Profile
  2. Create New Profile

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In this guide, we'll walk you through managing your Windows profile, for security and setting up so others can use the computer, as well.

Profiles provide a way for you to store all your personal settings, such as which browser you use, how the desktop looks, and how the mouse works. These settings are personal and unique to each person, Windows offers profiles to allow that level of customization for each person that uses the computer.

Profiles also provide the first level of security; access to the computer itself.

This guide will walk you through:

  • Understanding different types of profiles, and choosing the most appropriate type for someone.
  • Creating a new profile for a new person.
  • Managing profiles for multiple people.

Edit your own Profile

This will allow you to change your password and your sign-in options, such as using a PIN.

  1. Select the Start menu, then select Settings.
    start menu with settings highlighted

  2. In Windows Settings, select Accounts.
    settings with accounts highlighted

  3. On the left, select Sign-in options.
    accounts with sign-in options highlighted

  4. Here, you'll find options to change your password, as well as other ways to sign-in to Windows, such as using a PIN, a Picture password, your webcam, or a fingerprint (if your computer has a fingerprint reader).
    sign in options with password and PIN options highlighted

Change Profile access level

This allows you to change how much access is granted to each Profile you have setup on your computer.

  1. Select the Start menu, then select Settings.
    Start menu with settings highlighted

  2. In Windows Settings, select Accounts.
    settings with accounts highlighted

  3. On the left, select Family & other people.
    accounts with family and other people highlighted

  4. Here, highlight the profile you want to work with, and choose Change account type.
    family and other people settings with change account type button highlighted
     
  5. Select if you'd like the profile to be a Standard account (can use programs, but not install or remove programs), or Administrator (can install and remove programs).
    account type dialog with choices highlighted

Wherever possible, you should pick a password that is impossible to guess and is also resistant to brute-force attacks.

Some devices or systems do not allow special characters or they may have their own requirements.

Password Dos and Don'ts

Dos
Green Check
  • Passwords should be long, 8-12 characters or more.
  • Passwords should be something easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess or lookup.
  • Passwords should have lots of different character types: upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Replacing letters with symbols is a simple way to achieve this: use @ for a, and ( for c, as example.
  • Passwords are personal, most services have a way to create a 'linked' account or share services with trusted friends and family.
  • Change passwords regularly. Every 90 to 180 days; this helps keep your accounts from being compromised long-term.
  • If you must write down a password or make note of it, do so only in specially designed programs, or keep and hold the physical copies with the same care and respect you would a social security card or birth certificate. Remember; anyone with your password "is you".
Example of a good password
Don'ts
Red X
  • Don't use short passwords; computers can guess them very easily.
  • Don't use a common word you can find in a dictionary.
  • Don't use information that can be looked up or guessed, such as a birthday, anniversary, or pet's name.
  • Don't use the same password for everything. If one password is compromised, all of the same ones are compromised across all your accounts.
  • Don't share passwords. People with your password "are you" to a computer system, or a service.
  • Don't keep the same password forever. Assume that, at some point, it will be guessed, seen, or otherwise compromised, and it must be changed.
  • Don't write down passwords in the open, or save them in non-encrypted files on your computer.
Example of a bad password
Password Resources
  1. Click the Start button then the Settings gear.
    Windows 10 start menu showing settings highlighted

  2. Click Accounts.
    Windows 10 settings menu showing Accounts highlighted

  3. Click Sign-In Options then click Change (or Add if this is first time setting up a password).
    Windows 10 account settings showing sign in options and add password highlighted

  4. If you are changing your password, you'll be prompted to type in your current password.
    Windows 10 popup to reenter your password

  5. If you log in using a Microsoft Account, Microsoft will text you a code using the number associated with your account. You'll have to verify the last four digits of your number first and then type in the code when you receive it.
  6. Now enter your old password and then your new password.
    Windows 10 change your password popup

  7. That's it! Your password is now changed.

First Login

  • When you first turn on your computer, you'll be prompted to log in. You can choose who to log in as in the bottom-left corner.
    Windows Login Screen with user choices highlighted

Log out

  • After you're logged in, but are done with the computer, and want to let someone else use it, choose the Start menu, then the Profiles button, then Sign out.
    start menu with profiles and sign out highlighted

Switch user

  • If you're not done with what you are working on, but another user still needs to use the computer, you can switch to that other profile is still up and running. Choose the Start menu, then the Profiles button, then select the profile you wish to switch to.
    start menu with profiles and profile choice highlighted

  • Alternately, you can simply choose Lock, and your your profile will still be open, but someone else can log in and use the computer, as if it was just turned on.
    Start menu with profile log out highlighted

Types of Profiles

Windows 10 provides 3 types of profiles:

  • Administrator
    • This type of profile has full control of the computer; it can install and uninstall programs, make changes to system files, and perform any and all system-related tasks.
  • Standard
    • A standard profile can use programs installed on the computer, but cannot install, or uninstall them. It cannot access system files, or perform system-related tasks.
  • Child
    • This is the same as a Standard account, but with the Family Safety settings automatically turned on.

Each type of profile has their own, separate place to store files they download and create.

Examples

To help you best decide what kind of profiles you'd like to create, here are some examples you can use to help base your decision on.

  • In a family, the parents each hold an Administrator profile, each kid has a Child profile.
  • In a shared apartment, the computer owner has an Administrator profile, and the roommates each have a Standard profile.
  • A laptop with a single person that uses it, they may choose to use the Administrator profile only while in a secure location like at home, and a separate Standard profile when out and about in public areas.
  • Someone who works from home may setup 2 separate Administrator profiles for themselves; one for while at work, another for when just using the computer for personal use.

Wherever possible, you should pick a password that is impossible to guess and is also resistant to brute-force attacks.

Some devices or systems do not allow special characters or they may have their own requirements.

Password Dos and Don'ts

Dos
Green Check
  • Passwords should be long, 8-12 characters or more.
  • Passwords should be something easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess or lookup.
  • Passwords should have lots of different character types: upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Replacing letters with symbols is a simple way to achieve this: use @ for a, and ( for c, as example.
  • Passwords are personal, most services have a way to create a 'linked' account or share services with trusted friends and family.
  • Change passwords regularly. Every 90 to 180 days; this helps keep your accounts from being compromised long-term.
  • If you must write down a password or make note of it, do so only in specially designed programs, or keep and hold the physical copies with the same care and respect you would a social security card or birth certificate. Remember; anyone with your password "is you".
Example of a good password
Don'ts
Red X
  • Don't use short passwords; computers can guess them very easily.
  • Don't use a common word you can find in a dictionary.
  • Don't use information that can be looked up or guessed, such as a birthday, anniversary, or pet's name.
  • Don't use the same password for everything. If one password is compromised, all of the same ones are compromised across all your accounts.
  • Don't share passwords. People with your password "are you" to a computer system, or a service.
  • Don't keep the same password forever. Assume that, at some point, it will be guessed, seen, or otherwise compromised, and it must be changed.
  • Don't write down passwords in the open, or save them in non-encrypted files on your computer.
Example of a bad password
Password Resources
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button

    By default it is in the lower left corner of your screen.

  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu
    Windows 10 Settings icon
  3. In Windows Settings, select Accounts.
    Windows settings with Accounts highlighted.
  4. On the left, select Family & other people.
    Account settings with family and other people highlighted.
  5. Choose to Add a family member, or Add someone else to this PC.
    Family and other people settings with add buttons highlighted.
  6. Follow the prompts until creation of the profile is complete.
  7. To begin logging into the new user profile, click Start then the User icon.
    Start menu with User icon highlighted
  1. Choose to Add a child, or Add an adult.
    Child or adult prompt

  2. Next, enter the e-mail address of the profile you'd like to create. Alternately, if the e-mail address already has a profile (for example, the one you're using now), just click The person I want to add doesn't have an email address, and you'll be prompted through creating a new one at outlook.com.
    child or adult prompt with e-mail address options highlighted

  3. If you choose The person I want to add doesn't have an e-mail address, you'll be guided through creating a new Microsoft account for that person.
    new account creation screen

By default, the profile is setup as a Standard profile that can use the programs, but not install them. You will need to set the profile to an Administrator account if you want that profile to be able to install programs.

  1. If the other person has an e-mail address already, enter it here. This will create their Microsoft account. Otherwise, choose I don't have this person's sign-in information.
    New account setup with email field and unknown information link highlighted

  2. You will be guided through creating the Microsoft account if the new person doesn't have one. Otherwise, it will add instantly and you'll be all set.
    new account setup conformation screen

By default, the profile is setup as a Standard profile that can use the programs, but not install them. You will need to set the profile to an Administrator account if you want that profile to be able to install programs.

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