If you manage a computer with multiple users then you probably need to create a separate user account for each person. However, you don’t want everyone to have administrator access to your PC. We show you how to create standard non-administrator accounts in this easy step-by-step walkthrough.
Understanding the Difference between Windows Account Types
There are two different types of Windows user accounts: administrators and non-administrators also called standard accounts.
- Administrator accounts have full control over the computer and its settings with more or less unrestricted access to all areas including those that affect other users.
- Standard accounts have nearly all of the functionality of an administrator account except they can’t make changes that affect other users on the computer.
A good example to illustrate the difference between the two account types is installing software; if you try to do so while logged into a standard account, you’ll likely be prompted to input an administrator password.
Standard accounts are recommended for most users because it limits the ability of the user to affect other users – it’s rarely the case someone would try to do so intentionally, but there’s generally no reason for users who aren’t performing administrator-type tasks such as installing software and Windows updates to have an administrator account. Standard accounts in essence provide a layer of security on the user account, preventing them from changing the computer in a significant fashion.
If you haven’t already figured it out, this advice is important for parents who don’t want children to mess up the family PC or if you don’t want your roommate to accidentally install adware or a virus on your computer when they borrow your laptop.
Creating a Standard Account
The following steps apply to all versions of Windows 7 both 32- and 64-bit. Note you’ll need to be logged in as an administrator to create user accounts.
Access the Start menu by clicking the Start button in the lower left of your screen. Alternatively, simply press the Windows key on your keyboard.
When the Start menu opens, type add or remove users into the search box and then click the item Add or remove user accounts when it appears.
Click the link to Create a new account on the next screen.
(Note: this screen will show you the other user accounts on your computer. You can use this screen later if you wish to open those accounts and change their account types from administrators to standard users or vice versa).
This final screen is where you’ll create your user account. Type a name for the account in the box, ensure Standard user is selected and then click the Create account button to finalize account creation. The new user account is now created and ready for use!
Password Protecting a User Account
You’ll be taken back to this familiar screen after creating your user account. It’s a good idea to take one additional step and password protect the account you just created – this will add a vital layer of security and prevent unauthorized access. To begin, click the account you just created.
On the following screen, click Create a password.
Enter your password twice on this screen; it must be identical in both the New password and Confirm new password boxes. For optimal security, the password you assign should have a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, at least one number and a special character such as ! or #. Ensure the password is at least eight characters long if not longer.
You may also want to type password hint in the Type a password hint box but of course, don’t be too specific.
This article detailed how to create a new standard user account in Windows 7. We detailed important differences between administrator and standard accounts; most users should have standard accounts unless they’re actively involved in maintaining the computer or you trust them to install software. We furthermore detailed how to password protect the new account after creation which is a vital step to add extra security.