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Chapter 28. Managing Users > User Account Types

User Account Types

Each user identifies him- or herself to Windows with a username and an optional password (or in high-tech environments, perhaps with a smart card or a fingerprint scanner). Windows keeps track of each user in its list of accounts, or known users. For each user, Windows associates information such as whether the user has Administrative privileges, the user’s desktop and sound preferences, and the location of the user’s My Documents file folder.

A list of valid users is stored in each Windows XP computer. These are called local accounts because the information about the user is stored on the computer itself, and the username and password are recognized only on this one computer. If the computer is a member of a domain-type network, the network’s domain controller holds a master list of all accounts for the entire domain, for example the entire corporation. These are called global accounts, because the account information is accessible anywhere on the network, and any member computer can validate the user’s name and password.


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