Why should I use separate Windows user accounts with Family Safety?

We recommend that you give each member of your family a separate, standard Windows account. A parent or guardian should keep the passwords for any administrator accounts and not make them available to children. Following this recommendation helps you preserve your personalized settings, but—more importantly—it helps improve your children’s safety and the security of your computer.

Here are a few of the ways that each family member can personalize their own account:

  • Customize your own desktop. Younger kids can set a picture of their favorite cartoon character as their desktop background, for example, and older kids can use a picture of their favorite band.

  • Set up your own Start menu and taskbar. Your Start menu and taskbar stay arranged the way you like.

  • Set your own Internet favorites. Parents’ money management websites won’t appear on the kids’ Favorites lists, for instance, and cartoon sites won’t be on the parents’ lists.

Here are a few of the ways that separate, standard accounts help improve your children’s safety and the security of your computer:

  • Web filter settings can be unique to each child. A website might be okay for a parent or an older child but not for a younger child. Separate accounts let you enforce rules that are tailored to your child’s age or other factors.

  • Family Safety won’t be uninstalled. If your child has a standard Windows account, they won’t be able to either accidentally or deliberately uninstall Family Safety.

  • Other computer settings aren’t changed. Standard Windows accounts help with general computer security by preventing your kids (or anyone else) from changing most computer settings.

To create a user account in Windows 7, see Create a user account, or, to create a user account in Windows Vista, see Create a user account.

Managing multiple accounts

If your family has always used just one user account, having multiple accounts might take some adjustment. Here are a few ways to make things easier for your family:

  • Use Fast User Switching to switch between accounts. For more information, see Switch users without logging off. When you use Fast User Switching, you’ll stay signed in to the Family Safety website, and you won’t have to sign in to Family Safety each time you switch back to your own Windows account.

  • When you leave the computer, log off by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, pointing to the arrow next to the Lock icon, and then clicking Log Off.


    Lock the computer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and then clicking Lock this computer.


    • You can also use this keyboard shortcut: hold down the Windows key and press the L key