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Managing User Accounts and Logins (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
Passwords and separate accounts help ensure that information on the computer stays private and secure. The information in this document describes the different account types in Windows 7, and explains how to change account types and how to save and change passwords.
Your version of Windows 7 might vary slightly from these instructions, but the instructions will be very close. Some procedures in this document are for specific versions of Windows 7, and the if that is the case, the affected versions will be noted at the beginning of the instructions.

View a video on managing user accounts in Windows 7

Administrator, standard, and guest accounts in Windows 7

Windows 7 provides three types of user accounts. Each allows for different abilities and permissions to be enabled during computer use.
  • Administrators :
    • Can change privileges (change Users to Administrative accounts), passwords, and system-wide settings, access all files, and install any Windows 7 compatible software, drivers, and hardware.
  • Standard Users :
    • Can change the account picture and create, edit, or delete the account password.
    • Cannot install or open certain programs.
  • Guests :
    • Can use certain programs installed by others.
    • Cannot access personal or password protected files.
    • Cannot install or open certain programs.
    NOTE:The Guest setting must be turned on before using the Guest account. For more information, see Turning on the Guest Account .

Creating a new account in Windows 7

To create a new account, log in through any account with administrative privileges and follow these steps to create the account:
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under User Accounts and Family Safety , click Add or remove user accounts .
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Figure 1: Add or remove user accounts
  3. Click Create a new account .
  4. Type the name for the new account, click an account type, and then click Create Account .
The account has been created.

Adding administrative user privileges to a Windows 7 user account

You can log in using any account that has administrative privileges and add administrative privileges to any other account.
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under User Accounts and Family Safety , click Add or remove user accounts .
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Click the name of the account you want to change.
  4. Click Change the account type .
  5. Select Administrator .
  6. Click Change Account Type .
The account type has been changed to Administrator.

Changing a Windows 7 account password

When an account has a password, the Windows password is used to log in to the computer.
To change an account password, log in to the computer using the account, and follow these steps:
  1. Press the CTRL+ALT+DELETE keys at the same time on the keyboard, and then click Change a password .
  2. Type the current (old) password, the new password, and then the new password again.
  3. To confirm, click the right arrow next to Confirm password .

Saving a Windows 7 account password

When you create an account, you should also create a password reset disk, which you can use to recover a lost password. This procedure requires removable storage media. The types of storage media that can be used are USB storage devices, floppy disks, and flash memory cards. Writable CDs and DVDs are not supported at the time of this writing.
NOTE:You create the password reset disk once per account. You can change the account password but do not have to remake the disk.
  1. Insert a USB flash memory drive into a USB port, a flash memory card (photo memory card) into the memory card reader, or a floppy disk into the floppy drive.
  2. Click Start , and then click Control Panel . Click User Accounts and Family Safety .
  3. Click User Accounts .
  4. In the left pane, click Create a password reset disk .
  5. Follow the instructions to create the password reset disk on the removable media.

Resetting a lost Windows 7 account password

When you forget your password, use the following instructions to create (reset) a password in Windows 7:
NOTE: If the main administrator password is lost, and you have the Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium operating system, you can perform a system recovery to reinstall Windows 7 and set up a new administrator password.

Resetting a lost Windows 7 account password with a password reset disk (device)

  1. Go to the log in screen of the computer. An incorrect password window opens. Click OK in the incorrect password window.
    A new log in screen opens.
  2. Click Reset password , and then follow the instructions to use the password reset disk.

Resetting a lost Windows 7 account password without a password reset disk

Use one of the following procedures to reset a lost password using an Administrator account.
CAUTION: If you use an Administrator account to reset an account password, you permanently lose access to any email or encrypted files that are associated with that account.
NOTE:You cannot reset a lost password using a non-Administrator account. If the main Administrator account password is lost , and you do not have a password reset disk and you do not have another Administrator account (available in Windows 7 Ultimate operating system only), you must run a system recovery to reinstall Windows 7 and set up a new administrator password. You might find password recovery software from the Internet, but this type of software is used at your own risk and may cause other problems. Always write down your password and store it in a secure location where it can be retrieved later.
  1. Log in to an Administrator account.
  2. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  3. Under User Accounts and Family Safety , click Add or remove user accounts .
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. Click the name of the account you need to change.
  5. Click Change the password ,or Remove the password , and follow the instructions.
  6. Type the new password, and type the password again to confirm.
  7. Restart the computer.

Turning on guest accounts in Windows 7

A guest account can be used to allow multiple people quick limited access to the same computer through one account. Use the following steps to enable a Guest account.
NOTE:This procedure for the Guest account is not available if you have the Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium operating system.
  1. Click Start on the task bar, and then click Control Panel .
  2. In Control Panel, under User Accounts and Family Safety , click Add or remove user accounts .
    If needed, enter the Administrator password or click confirmation.
    If User Account Control opens, click Continue .
  3. Click the Guest Account.
    Figure 2: Guest account off
  4. Click Turn On .
    The guest account is now enabled and appears as a selection from the main login page.

Resolving permission issues when installing software in Windows 7

When installing software, if you are getting errors telling you that you do not have administrative permissions, use the following instructions:
  1. Click Start .
  2. Click Computer .
  3. Right-click the hard disk icon on which your operating system is installed, usually the "C" drive.
  4. Click Properties .
  5. Click the Security tab.
  6. Click Advanced .
  7. Click Change Permissions . It is found after the Permissions Entry list.
    A window opens containing a list of all the user accounts available on your computer.
  8. Select the user account you want to give total control over your Windows 7 and click Edit .
  9. Select Full Control .
  10. Click OK .
    The permission has been adjusted.
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