Windows 10: Managing User Accounts and Parental Controls

Lesson 9: Managing User Accounts and Parental Controls


Managing user accounts and parental controls

A user account allows you to sign in to Windows 10. By default, your computer already has one user account, which you were required to create when setting up Windows for the first time. But if you plan to share your computer, you can create a separate user account for each member of your home or office.

Connecting users to a Microsoft account will help them get the most out of Windows. But if a user prefers not to create a Microsoft account, you can also add a local user account that exists only on your computer.

Watch the video below to learn more about creating and managing user accounts:

Note that you must be signed in as an Administrator (the first user account created on your computer) to add a new user.

To add a new user (with a Microsoft account):

  1. Open the Settings app, then select Accounts.
    navigating to the Account settings from the Settings app
  2. Select Family & other users. Scroll down to the Other Users section, then choose Add someone else to this PC.
    adding a new user with a Microsoft account
  3. If the new user already has a Microsoft account, enter the associated email address, then click Next.
    entering the microsoft account email address
  4. The user can then sign in to the computer with his or her Microsoft account information. Note that it may take several minutes to configure a user's settings when logging in with a Microsoft account for the first time.

To add a new local user (without a Microsoft account):

  1. From the Account settings, click Add someone else to this PC.
    adding a new user with a Microsoft account
  2. Select The person I want to add doesn't have an email address.
    adding a user without an email address
  3. The account creation screen will appear. Select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    adding a local account without an email address
  4. Enter an account name, then type the desired password. It's important to choose a strong password—in other words, one that is easy to remember but difficult for others to guess. For more information, check out Password Tips in our Tech Savvy Tips and Tricks tutorial. When you're finished, click Next.
    adding a local user account
  5. The local user can then sign in to the computer with this account information.

Signing out and switching users

If you're finished using your account, you can sign out. To do this, click the Start button, select the current account in the top-left corner, then choose Sign out. Other users will then be able to sign in from the lock screen.

signing out of Windows 10

It's also easy to switch between users without signing out or closing your current apps. Switching users will lock the current user, so you won't need to worry about someone else accessing your account. To do this, select the current account, then choose the desired user from the drop-down menu. You can use this same method to switch back to the other user.

Managing user accounts

By default, the user account you created when setting up your computer is an Administrator account. An Administrator account allows you to make top-level changes to the computer, like adding new users or modifying specific settings. Any users you add are automatically assigned to a Standard user account, which should meet the everyday needs of most users. You will probably only need one Administrator account on a shared computer, but you have the option to promote any user to an Administrator account if you want.

  1. From the Family & other users options, select the desired user, then click Change account type.
    changing a user's account type
  2. Select the desired option from the drop-down list, then click OK. In this example, we'll choose Administrator.
    changing the user to an Administrator
  3. The user will now have administrative privileges.
    the user is now an Administrator

Setting parental controls

Windows offers a variety of parental controls that can help you monitor your children's activity and protect them from inappropriate content. For example, you can restrict certain apps and websites or limit the amount of time a user can spend on the computer. You'll need to add a family account for each user you want to monitor. Each user will also need to have a Microsoft account; you cannot enable parental controls on a local account.

  1. From the Family & other users options, select Add a family member.
    adding a new family member
  2. Select Add a child, enter the new user's email address, then click Next.

    entering a family member's email address
  3. The new member will then need to confirm the addition to your family group from his or her inbox.
    email confrimation for a new family user
  4. Once this is done, select Manage family settings online.
    navigating to the family management settings
  5. A page will open in a new browser window. From here, select the desired user to set parental controls.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about setting parental controls:

labeled graphic

Screen time

From here, you can limit the amount of time a child can spend on the computer.

Apps & games

From here, you can set general restrictions and age limits for apps and games downloaded from the Windows store.

Web browsing

From here, you can enable web browsing preferences. For example, you can choose to block inappropriate websites by default. You can also approve certain sites so they won't be blocked by the filter.

Recent Activity

From here, you'll see a general summary of a child's activity, like the websites visited and the total amount of time spent on the computer.