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User Profile in Windows XP

Friday, September 8th, 2006 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

User Profile in Windows XP

Today, let’s take a sneak peak through the user profile ability available with Windows XP. I’ll discuss with you the advantages of it and how you can set one up and maintain it with a step by step basis.

Windows XP gives you the ability to create user profiles, which allows each user on your computer to have a separate log in. There are also additional benefits, such as allowing each user to have their own document folders and personal settings, such as desktop icons, Start menu items, favorites, etc. This also allows for greater privacy and less hassle of changing individual preferences for each user.

Note: You must have a computer administrator account on the computer and be logged in as an administrator to add a new user to the computer. Make sure this is correct for your computer before continuing.

To Create a New User Account

1.) To open the User Accounts tool, open the Control Panel from the Start menu and double click User Accounts.

2.) Click “Create a new account” in the “Pick a task” list box.

3.) Type the name that you want to use for the account and then click Next.

4.) Click Computer administrator or Limited, depending on the type of account you want to assign to the new user and then click Create Account.

To Make Changes to an Account

1.) To open the User Accounts tool, open the Control Panel from the Start menu and then double click User Accounts.

2.) Click “Change an account” in the “Pick a task” list box.

3.) Click the account you want to change.

4.) Select the item that you would like to change.

  • Click “Change the name” to change the name that appears on the Welcome screen for the account.
  • Click “Change the picture” to change the picture that is used to represent the user account. You can use any image file on the computer for the user’s picture.
  • Click “Change the account type” to change the account type to increase or decrease the user’s rights on the computer.
  • Click “Create/change the password” to create or change the password for the user and create or change the password hints.
  • Click “Delete the account” to delete the user account from the computer. When you delete the account, you are given the option to save the user’s files on the computer.

Now, whenever you start windows, you will come to a login screen. Just click on the icon for the user account that you will be using and enter a password, if you have specified one.

To Change Users Without Logging Off

1.) Click Start, click Log off and then click Switch User.

2.) On the Welcome screen, click another user account icon.

To Logoff

1.) Click Start, click Log off and then click Log off.

2.) On the Welcome screen, either click another user account icon or click on “Turn off computer” to shutdown.

To Set Up Multiple Users

If you need to share a computer with several family members, co-workers or colleagues and if each person sharing the computer wishes the person who used it last would leave things the way they found them, you should consider setting up multiple user profiles. Multiple user profiles lets each user sharing the computer maintain their own personal version of Windows, in which the desktop, Start menu, My Documents and even the e-mail are theirs alone.

Your first step in setting up multiple user profiles is to set up one for yourself. Click the Start button and choose Settings, Control Panel. Double click the Passwords icon. In the Passwords Properties dialogue box, click the User Profiles tab. Select the second option, Users Can Customize Their Preferences And Desktop Settings. Windows Switches To Your Personal Settings When You Log On. Then, under User Profile Settings, select the custom settings (as opposed to universal settings) you want each user to have. For example, if you want each user to maintain his own desktop, My Network Places, Start menu and Programs groups, check both boxes.

Click OK and Yes to restart your computer. When prompted, type a username and, if you like, a password for your new profile and then click OK. If you entered a password, confirm it and click OK. When asked if you want the computer to retain individual settings, click Yes. Windows 98 and ME will create your profile, which might take a few minutes. It creates a place for maintaining your personal desktop, My Documents folder, recent documents menu, Start menu, favorites, Web cache and history, cookies and more. The next time you start your computer, the Enter Network Password dialogue box will appear. Enter your username and password and click OK.

Once you’ve added your own profile, there are two ways you can set up others. You can set them up at startup, as you did your own and when the Enter Password dialogue box appears, just enter a new username and password and repeat the procedure described above. Or you can set up several user profiles at once through the Control Panel. Click Start, choose Settings and then Control Panel. Double click the Users icon. Select your profile and then click New User. (You could also click Make A Copy to create a new user profile using yours as a starting point).

The Add User Wizard appears. Enter the username for your new user and click Next. Enter and confirm a password and click Next. Of course, you may want the user to do this. Select the items to personalize for this user and whether to copy existing content in these areas (from your profile) or create new items to save hard drive space. Click Next to finish.

You can also use the wizard to customize your profile settings (or any others). For example, if you want your profile to maintain a customized My Documents folder and Start menu, but not a custom desktop, double click the Users icon in the Control Panel, select your profile, click Change Settings, make your changes and click OK.

There you have it. It’s all in a day’s work!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami

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