With user accounts, several people can easily share a single computer. Each person can have a separate user account with unique settings and preferences, such as a desktop background or screen saver. User accounts control which files and programs users can access and what types of changes users can make to the computer. Typically, you'll want to create standard accounts for most computer users.

The steps that you should follow will vary, depending on whether your computer is on a domain or a workgroup. To find out, see "To check if your computer is on a workgroup or domain" in What is the difference between a domain, a workgroup, and a homegroup?

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My computer is on a domain

Because your computer is on a domain, you can create local user accounts, which give people access to your computer but don't give them access to the domain. Only system administrators can create domain user accounts.

  1. Open Microsoft Management Console by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, typing mmc into the search box, and then pressing Enter. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. In the left pane of Microsoft Management Console, click Local Users and Groups.

    If you don't see Local Users and Groups

    If you don't see Local Users and Groups, it's probably because that snap-in hasn't been added to Microsoft Management Console. Follow these steps to install it:

    1. In Microsoft Management Console, click the File menu, and then click Add/Remove Snap-in.

    2. Click Local Users and Groups, and then click Add.

    3. Click Local computer, click Finish, and then click OK.

  3. Click the Users folder.

  4. Click Action, and then click New User.

  5. Type the appropriate information in the dialog box, and then click Create.

  6. When you are finished creating user accounts, click Close.

My computer is in a workgroup

Watch this video to learn how to create a user account (0:48)

To create a user account

  1. To open User Accounts, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, click User Accounts and Family Safety, and then click User Accounts.
  2. Click Manage another account. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click Create a new account.

  4. Type the name you want to give the user account, click an account type, and then click Create Account.