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Chapter 4. Installing the Home Networkin... > Adding Users to Your Windows XP Comp...

Adding Users to Your Windows XP Computer

If more than one person will be using your Windows XP computer, you should create a separate user account for each person. Each user account has the following personalized settings:

  • Unique My Documents folder

  • List of favorite Web sites

  • List of recently viewed Web pages

  • Personalized display settings, including wallpaper and screen saver

Tip

Another handy feature of user accounts is fast user switching. When fast user switching is activated, Windows will not close any programs that are running when you log off. This feature is useful if, for example, another person wants to use the computer while you take a short break. When you return to the computer and log back on, your desktop appears exactly as it was before. To turn on fast user switching, on the Start menu click Control Panel, and then click User Accounts. In the Pick A Task list, click Change The Way Users Log On Or Off. Select the Use Fast User Switching check box, and then click Apply Options.


Windows XP allows you to create two types of user accounts, depending on your needs. These accounts are:

  • Computer Administrator A user with a Computer Administrator account can change any computer settings, install programs and hardware, make system-wide changes, gain access to all private files on the computer, create and delete user accounts, change other users’ accounts, change his or her own account type, and change the logon picture associated with the account. The accounts created during the Windows XP setup process are Computer Administrator accounts.

  • Limited A user with a Limited account can gain access to any program installed on the computer and can change his or her password and desktop settings, but he or she cannot make potentially damaging changes to the computer system. For example, a user with a Limited account cannot install programs and hardware, make system-wide changes, gain access to private files, create and delete user accounts, change other people’s accounts, change his or her own account type, or change the picture associated with the account.

In addition, anyone can log on and use your Windows XP computer with a third type of account, guest. A user with a guest account can access programs that have already been installed on the computer, but he or she cannot change any system or user account settings. This account is ideal for someone who, for example, needs only temporary access to use the computer to surf the Web but doesn’t need to be able to remove or install hardware or adjust user accounts.

Important

User accounts work on only one Windows XP computer. They do not apply to all the computers on your home network. A user account that you create on one Windows XP computer will not automatically be created on other computers on the network.


In this exercise, you’re logged on to the Windows XP computer with a Computer Administrator account. You’d like to add an account so that your daughter can use the computer and personalize her settings. To make sure that she can’t change any system settings but can still gain access to all the programs installed on the computer, you decide to give her a Limited account. To do this, complete the following steps:

1.
On the Start menu, click Control Panel.

Control Panel appears.

2.
Click User Accounts.

The User Accounts screen appears:

3.
In the Pick A Task list, click Create A New Account.

The Name The New Account screen appears:

4.
Type a name for the account—perhaps the first name of the person who will be using the account—and then click Next.

The Pick An Account Type screen appears.

5.
Select the Limited option, and then click Create Account.

Tip

To improve security on your computer, you can change the Welcome screen so that user names are not shown. This makes it more difficult for an intruder to guess a user name and password and thereby gain access to the computer. It also requires users to know the correct spelling of their user account names as well as their passwords. To change this setting, on the User Accounts screen, click Change The Way Users Log On Or Off. Then on the Select Logon And Logoff Options screen, clear the Use The Welcome Screen check box.


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