Multiple Accounts

Question: I originally had Window ME installed on my computer. I then upgraded to Windows XP Home Edition. However I don't understand if I am the administrator, why are there other accounts such as: Administrator, All Users, Joe, Joe's documents. Can I not delete any of these accounts? If there is anything in one of the folders that is in the Administrator's folder already, can I move or delete that folder in i.e. Users accounts.

Answer: With a single user Windows XP setup you should have two accounts. One with Administrator access for those occasions when you need to reconfigure the computer and one without administrator access for everyday use.

Not all of the names you mention there are actually separate accounts. With the user folders there is one to save those settings specific to a particular user and two additional folders. The 'All Users' folder contains all of the things that are common to all of the users so as to save having a separate copy stored for each user. There is also a default user folder that contains all the default settings that will be initially applied if you create a new user on the system.

If you have two users set up on the system you would therefore have four folders. That is exactly the setup I have on my main computer.

the way to use the system is to login using your regular user account which from the names supplied in the question would be 'Joe'. From there you can do most of the things that you will need to use the computer for with everyday use. There may be one or two utility programs that you need to use that will not run with the standard settings for that account and with those programs you can use the "Run As" option from the context menu to run that program only as Administrator while still within your 'Joe' account. You may also need to do the same when installing new software. There will be very rare occasions where you actually need to log in to the Administrator account directly.

One thing that you may need to do after finishing installing software via the Administrator account that you need to be able to use from your regular account but where the install wasn't set up correctly and has only installed for the admin user is to move the files that the install created in the Administration folder and put it into the 'All Users' folder so that it can be accessed from both logins.

The one other user account that can sometimes be set up automatically on your system is called 'Guest'. This account gives anyone on the network access to your computer and should not normally be required. You should turn this account off and if you do need others to have access to selected folders on your computer you should configure those specific folders to allow the required access.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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