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What is a User Account

When there are two or more people using the same computer, it can be hard to keep files and folders organized and system settings and preferences also have to be shared. For this reason, Windows makes it possible to have multiple user accounts so that each individual user of the computer can have their own files and folders linked to their own user account. Also, each individual user account can have its own settings and customizations such as start menu shortcuts, desktop backgrounds, accessible programs and much more. Having multiple user accounts is not only a far more efficient way to keep each user's data organized; it's also better for your computer's security.

Windows 7 provides three different types of user account. The default, primary user account which you'll configure when you install Windows or start up a new computer for the first time, is the main administrator account. You can also create additional administrator accounts later on. When you're logged in using an administrator account, you can install programs and drivers as well as change important system settings. User Account Control will, by default, alert you when you try to make a major system modification, but it will not actually prevent you from doing so. Users with administrator accounts can enjoy full control over the computer.

Windows also provides the possibility of creating standard user accounts. Standard user accounts are the default account type for additional accounts created on your computer. A user of a standard account will be unable to make any significant changes to system settings and, for the most part, they'll not be able to install programs or drivers either. The only way to work around the restrictions imposed by a standard user account is to either log in as an administrator or enter the administrator password when User Account Control intervenes.

If you have many different users accessing your computer, yet they don't use the computer frequently enough to warrant having their own accounts, you can activate the guest account. The guest account is a standard user account designed for sharing between other users of your computer.

More advanced user privileges can be configured by using the Local Group Policy Editor component, available to administrators only. This feature is only available in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. It allows you to configure user account privileges which are not accessible in any other way.


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