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Setting Up Programs for All Users

Anthony from NYC asks:

When installing a program, some appear on all user accounts, others on just the user account you are on at the moment. Is there any way to be sure that what you are installing is installed on all user accounts?

Well, Anthony, there are multiple answers to your question, and I will try to address as many of them as I can.

You didn’t mention which version of Windows you’re running, but these tips should work on any version later than XP.

The first and most disappointing answer is that some programs designed for ME or earlier may not be accessible by different user accounts. It’s just the way that they were written.

Make sure that the user profile that you’re using to install the program has administrator privileges. By doing that, the program should be accessible by all users.

Many new programs will also offer a setup window that allows you to choose whether the program can be used by the installing user only, or by all users.

If you are using XP, once the program is installed, you can also increase the usability to all users by moving the execution icon to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.

On Vista and 7, you can also allow or restrict program access for certain users by using parental controls. From the Control Panel, go into User Accounts. In this example, my alternate user is called “test”. (Note: since I am running Vista, the screenshots here are for Vista.)


This will default to your administrator account, so click Manage Another Account, then choose the account that you want to manage. Then click on Set up Parental Controls.


Once you are in the parental controls set up, you will see Program Limits: Off, or Program Limits: On with the on or off in blue.


Click on the On or Off, and it will give you the choice of allowing the user to access all programs, or only certain programs. If you click on User can use all programs, then program limits will be off. This is a way to allow all users to access all programs. If you click on User can only use the programs I allow, a list of programs will come up.


Hope this helps.

~Randal Schaffer