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Working with User Accounts

User accounts have been around for a while, and if you share a computer with several people in your household, you know they are a good idea. When you have separate accounts for different users, you can each have your own preferences and favorite websites and programs. This makes it possible for each of you to have a completely different experience-tailored to your own preferences-even though you're all sharing the same computer.

Adding a User

Individual users can have their own user account so that specific preferences, histories, favorites, and more can be linked with that account. It's a good idea to create separate user accounts for each person who shares your computer or device. Windows 10 enables you to add two kinds of users: a family member or a user who isn't a family member.

  1. Type account into the Search box in the taskbar.
  2. Click Add, Edit, or Remove Other People in the results list.
  3. Tap or click the + to the left of Add a Family Member.

    Other Users
    Select Add Someone Else to This PC if the account you want to add is not a family member or regular user. The steps for adding these users is similar to what you see here, except there is no child/adult selection.
  4. The Add a User window appears, asking you whether the new family member is an adult or a child. Click your answer.
  5. Enter the person's email address.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Confirm. Windows 10 tells you to make sure the person knows he needs to be connected to the Internet the first time he logs in.
Child Accounts
If the account you're creating is for a child, you see Family Safety options on this screen. Click the check box beneath the new user's profile picture placeholder to turn on Family Safety settings.

When you add a new user, you'll have the choice to sign the person up using her Microsoft Account or sign up with a Local Account specific to that computer. The difference is that when a person signs in using a Microsoft account, all system preferences-including notification settings, color schemes, and more-are available.

Using a Microsoft account also enables users to download apps from the Microsoft Store and save content to the cloud using OneDrive. If the new user doesn't sign in with a Microsoft account, settings and preferences are stored on the local machine.

Switching Users

You can easily switch among the user accounts on your Windows 10 computer by clicking or tapping your profile icon on the left side of the Start menu. You also can sign out of Windows 10, lock your computer, or change users.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Click or tap the profile area (either your username or your picture) on the left side of the Start menu.

    Switching on a Touchable
    If you're using the Start screen on a touch device, your profile icon is located in the lower-left corner of the Start screen. Tap your profile picture to display the options for logging out and changing accounts.

  3. Tap or click Lock to display your Lock screen and safeguard your computer. You might choose this when leaving your computer unattended for a while.
  4. Tap or click Sign Out when you want to sign out of Windows 10, perhaps so that another user can log in.
  5. Tap or click another user account to display the login screen for that account. The other user can enter the account password and click Submit to log in.
On Logging Out
If you log out of Windows 10, the next time you dismiss the Lock screen by swiping the touchscreen or pressing any key, all user accounts on your computer appear on the next screen so that you can tap or click the one you want to use to log in. You can then enter the password that goes along with that account to sign in to Windows 10.
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