Demo: Understanding user accounts

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Several people can easily share a single computer by creating separate user accounts. This demo helps you understand the different types of user accounts and how they affect what you can do on the computer. You'll also learn how to change your account's password and other settings, and how to set up new accounts for others who use your computer.

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With Windows Vista, it's easy for several people to share a single computer.

Each person can have a separate user account with customized settings and preferences. For example, each user can choose a unique desktop background and color theme.

The type of user account you have determines your privileges on the computer. There are two main types of accounts. An administrator account is created when Windows is installed. It gives you full access to the computer. Here, notice how the administrator can access both her own files and those of other users.

A standard user account lets you perform common tasks and work with your own files. But you can't see other users' files or change their settings.

Now let's log on to an account. The Welcome Screen appears when you start Windows, and it shows all of the accounts on the computer. Your password is the key to your account.

Once you're logged on, the Start menu displays your account name and picture. To manage your account settings, you got to Control Panel, click User Accounts and Family Safety, and then click User Accounts. Here, you can see that we're currently using a standard account.

And here's where you can change your account settings, such as your password or picture. Let's change the picture.

Notice that these tasks are marked with a shield. That means they require administrator privileges. For example, when we click Manage another account, we're asked to provide the password for an administrator account. Let's do that now.

From here, we can change any user's account settings or add new accounts to the computer. Let's create a new account now. You type a name for the account, and then choose the account type. Most people should use a standard account. After you create the account, don't forget to set a password. That prevents others from accessing the user's files.

When another user wants to use the computer, you'll need to switch to a different account. To switch accounts, you click here on the Start menu, and then click Switch User. If you don't see this option, click Log Off instead.

Back on the Welcome screen, you can choose a different account. Here you can see the account we just created.

Now you know the basics of working with user accounts.