How to Create and Delete User Accounts in Windows 10

Steps to set up, manage, and delete your account

What to Know

  • Create account: Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people > Add a family member.
  • Delete account: Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people > select user.
  • Next, Block or Remove the user, depending on their account type.

This article explains how to carry out multiple actions on your PC using Windows 10, such as creating and deleting user accounts.

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How to Set Up a Basic Account

Settings App

Let's start with the basics: how to add a standard new user account to an activated PC.

To begin select Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. This process brings you to the screen where you add new users. The standard new user will be part of your family. If you and a roommate share a PC you may want to differentiate by listing your roommate's account in the "other people" section.

First, let's add a family member. Under the sub-heading "Your family" click Add a family member.

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Adult or Child User

Add a child or adult

A pop-up window appears asking if you are adding a child or an adult. Child accounts can have privileges added or taken away from their account such as what apps they can use and how long they can spend on a PC. Adults managing a child account can also view all the child's activity on Windows by signing in to the Microsoft accounts website. If that seems excessive or just plain creeps you out then a child account may not be the best choice. Instead, you should consider using a local account instead of one tied to a Microsoft account.

Adult accounts, on the other hand, are just regular private user accounts. Again they are tied to a Microsoft account (you can also create a local account for an adult), but they have normal privileges and access to the full range of apps on a desktop PC. Adult accounts can manage child accounts, but do not have administrator privileges for making changes on the PC. That can be added later, however.

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Finalizing the Account

Child or adult

Once you've decided between a child or adult account, type the Hotmail or account that person uses. If the person doesn't have one, create one inside Windows by clicking the link labeled The person I want to add doesn't have an email address.

Once you've added the email address, click Next, and on the following screen make sure you've entered the email address correctly and click Confirm.

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Invite Sent

Email invite

In this example, we created an adult account. After clicking Confirm our new adult user will receive an email asking them to confirm they are part of your "family."

Once that person accepts that invitation, he or she will be able to manage child accounts and view activity reports online.

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Inviting Others

Other people

Now that you've got a family member all hooked up, what if we want to add someone who's not family? This could be a roommate, a friend staying with you for a short time, or a crazy uncle who doesn't need to view your child's activity reports.

Whatever the situation is get started by going once again to Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. Now, under the sub-heading "Other people" click Add someone else to this PC.

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Same Process, Different Pop-Up

Other People

A pop-up window appears just as with the earlier process. Now, however, you're not being asked to differentiate between a child or adult user. Instead, you just enter the new user's email address and click Next.

After that, you'll be good to go. The new account is all set-up. The one thing to note is the first time this user signs in to the PC they will have to be connected to the internet.

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Assigned Access

Assigned Access

After you've added non-family members to your PC under the Other people heading, restrict their account using a feature called assigned access. When user accounts are given this restriction they can only access a single app when they're signed in, and the selection of apps they can be assigned is limited. 

Click Set up assigned access at the bottom of the account management screen at Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people.

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Settings app assigned access

On the next screen, click Choose an account to decide on the account that will be restricted, and then click Choose an app to assign the one app they can access. Once that's done, return to the previous screen or close the Settings app.

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Why Assigned Access?

Groove Music

This feature is specifically designed for computers that act as public terminals, and thus usually only require access to a single app. If you really want to restrict someone to only using email or a music player like Groove this feature can do that.

But that's really not useful for an actual person who needs to use the PC.

One exception to that rule could be when you actually want your home PC to be a public terminal. Let's say, for example, you want guests at your next party to be able to select the music playing on your PC. But you're nervous about allowing everyone in attendance the chance to access the personal files on your PC.

Creating an assigned access account that only uses Groove Music would offer a solution that prevents nosy people from poking around your PC, while still offering free access to your Groove Music Pass subscription.

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Turn Assigned Access Off

Sing out of Assigned Access

If you ever want to turn off assigned access for a specific user go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people > Set up assigned access. Then on the next screen click the account designated for assigned access and click Don't use assigned access.

When you want to sign out of an assigned access account use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

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Administrator Access

Cortana User Accounts

There's one last setting you'll want to know about when creating user accounts. That's how to elevate an account from a regular user to an administrator. Administrators are device-specific account privileges that allow a user to make changes to a PC such as adding or deleting other accounts.

To elevate a user in Windows 10, type in "user accounts" into the Cortana search box. Then select the Control Panel option that appears at the top of the results.

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Control Panel

Control panel in Windows 10

The Control Panel will now open to the User Accounts section. From here click on the link labeled Manage another account. On the next screen, you'll see all the users who have accounts on your PC. Click on the account you'd like to change.

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Make Changes

Change the account type

On the next screen, click Change the account type.

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Make Administrator

Administrator User Account

Now, you'll be moved to the final screen. Click the Administrator button and then click Change Account Type. That's it, the user is now an administrator.

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Deleting a User Account

Family member block

Now, let's look at how to delete a user account. 

The easiest way to delete an account is to go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people. Then select the user you want to get rid of. If the user is under the family section you'll see two buttons: Change account type and Block. Choose Block.

The one thing to remember about the Block option for family is that you can quickly reinstate the account on your PC by selecting the user's account. Then click Allow to permit that user to access the PC again as part of the family group.

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Deleting 'Other People'

Remove a local account

Under the Other people section, the two buttons are a little different. Instead of saying Block the second buttons says Remove. When you choose to Remove, a pop-up window will appear warning you that deleting the account will remove this user's personal files such as documents and photos. If you want to keep this data, it would be a good idea to back it up first to an external drive before deleting the account.

Once you're ready to delete the account click Delete account and data. That's it. The account is now deleted.

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The Control Panel Method

Delete the account

The second way to delete an account from a Windows 10 PC is via the Control Panel. Get started by typing "user accounts" into the Cortana search box in the taskbar, and choose the user accounts control panel option as we saw earlier.

Once the Control Panel opens to the User Accounts section click Manage another account, and then in the next screen select the user you want to get rid of.

Now we're on the screen where you can manage the account in question. To the left of the user account picture, you'll see several options. The one we want to select is, you guessed it, Delete the account.

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Warning Screen

Control Panel

Similar to the Settings app method you'll get a warning screen. This time around, however, you have the option to actually delete the user account while keeping the user's files intact. If that's something you want to do then click Keep Files. Otherwise, select Delete Files.

Even if you do decide to keep the files it's helpful to back those files up to an external hard drive before deleting the account just in case something goes wrong.

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Delete the Account

Control Panel

Whether you choose to delete or keep the files you'll now land on a final screen asking if you're sure you want to delete this account. If you're sure then click Delete Account if not click Cancel.

After you click Delete Account ​you'll be returned to the user screen in the Control Panel and you'll see that your local account is no longer there.

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Just the Basics

Windows 10 surface PC

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Those are the basic ways to set-up and delete accounts in Windows 10. Also, check out our tutorial on how to create a local account in Windows 10 that is not tied to an online identity.

In Windows 10, guest accounts were removed. Most accounts are tied to an online Microsoft account, and Windows 10 offers new permissions you can use with individual accounts.

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