Understanding User Account Types

by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 15, 2015)

Windows allows for there to be several user accounts on one computer system. Because of this, several different people can use the computer, albeit not at the same time. Each account has its own set of folders, files, permissions, etc., so that the data from one account is kept separate (and secure) from the other accounts. When you login to your account, you access your desktop with your icons, your screen saver, your Start menu, etc., without worrying about possibly interfering with someone else.

There are three different types of accounts that exist within Windows. There is an account type that gives system-wide permissions so that someone logging into that account can manage the entire system as if they had it all to themselves. These are administrator accounts and should only be used by persons well-versed in Windows and the particular system they're managing.

A second type of account is a standard account. These are generally the most used accounts because users logged into standard accounts perform their day-to-day duties with their own files, and they don't concern themselves with the extra responsibility that goes along with managing the entire system.

Finally, there is the guest account. Guest accounts are disabled by default and are typically established for people who only need temporary access to the computer and aren't going to be using it on a regular basis. When creating a guest account, it is recommended that you limit its capability, e.g., to prevent network access, prevent system shutdowns, prevent access to the event logs, etc.

 This tip (12460) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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