Adding and Managing User Accounts in Windows 8

Managing users accounts in Windows 8 is a little different than in Windows 7.

Search by Typing in Windows 8.1

Multiple user accounts are a must for any shared Windows PC. In Windows 7 and older versions of the operating system this was easy enough since you'd head to the Control Panel to create new users. But Windows 8 changes things up a bit thanks to the new "modern" user interface as well as an increasing importance placed on Microsoft accounts. Before you get started, make sure you know the difference between Local and Microsoft accounts and which you want to use. 

Getting Started 

Whether you’re completing this procedure in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you’ll need to get into the modern PC Settings. First, access the Charms bar by placing your cursor in the bottom-right corner of your screen and sliding upwards. Select the Settings Charm and then click “Change PC Settings.” From here the procedure differs based on your operating system version

If you’re using Windows 8, select “Users” from the left pane of the PC Settings and then scroll down through the right pane to the Other Users section.  

If you’re using Windows 8.1, select “Accounts” from the left pane of the PC Settings and then select “Other Accounts.” 

Once you’ve located the Other Accounts section of PC Settings click “Add a user.” From here on the procedure is the same for both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. 

Add an Existing Microsoft Account to Your Computer 

To add a user to your computer who already has a Microsoft account, you’ll need to enter the email address associated with their account in the field provided and click “Next.” Now, select whether or not this is a child’s account. If it's a child’s account, Windows will enable Family safety to keep your apprised of your child’s computer habits. You'll also have access to filters and other tools for blocking objectionable content. Once you make your choice, click “Finish.” 

Your computer will have to be connected to the Internet the first time a new user logs in to their account. Once they do, their background, account settings and, for Windows 8.1 users, their modern apps will be synced.  

Add a User and Create a New Microsoft Account for Them 

If you want your new user to use a Microsoft account, but they don’t currently have one, you can create a Microsoft account during this new account procedure.  

After clicking “Add a user” from the PC Settings, enter the email address your user wants to use for logging in.  Windows will verify that this email address is not associated with a Microsoft account and then prompt you for account information.  

Enter the password for your new account in the spaced provided. Next, enter your user’s first name, last name, and country of residence. Click “Next” after the form is complete. 

You’ll now be prompted for security information. Enter your user’s birth date first and then choose two additional security methods from the following options: 

  • Phone Number – Microsoft can text security codes to your phone to help recover lost passwords and secure account changes
  • Alternate Email – Microsoft can send emails to an alternate account to recover passwords and secure account changes
  • Secret Question – Select a question and provide an answer only you would know to verify your identity when making account changes

Once you're done with security, you’ll need to select your communication preferences. Choose whether or not to allow Microsoft to use your account information for advertising purposes and send you promotional offers in your email. Click “Next” once you’ve made your choice. 

Finally, you'll have to prove you are a human and not some automated bot trying to create an account. To do this you'll need to type in the jarbled characters displayed on screen. If you can’t make them out, click “New” for another character set. If you still can figure it out, click “Audio” to have the characters read to you. Click “Next” once you’re done, choose whether or not this is a child’s account, and then click “Finish” to add the new Microsoft account to your computer. 

Add a New Local Account 

If your new user wants to use a local account, you won’t need to worry about Microsoft accounts, email addresses and security information. Simply click “Sign in without a Microsoft account” from the bottom of the Window after clicking “Add a user” in the PC Settings. 

Microsoft will now attempt to change your mind by extolling the virtues of Microsoft accounts and then try to trick you into selecting a Microsoft Account by highlighting it in blue. If you’re certain you want to use a local account, make sure to click “Local account” to move on. If the information they provide changes your mind though, go ahead and click “Microsoft account” and follow the procedure outlined above. 

Enter the username, password and a hint for your new user account. Click “Next,” select whether or not this is a child’s account to enable or disable family safety and then click “Finish.” That’s all there is to it. 

Granting Administrative Privileges 

Giving your new accounts administrative access allows them to install programs and make changes to system settings without your knowledge or consent. Be wary when granting these privileges.  

For Windows 8 users, you’ll need to access the Control Panel. You can find it by searching from the Start screen or clicking the link in the Settings charm from the desktop. Once there, click “Change account type” beneath “User Accounts and Family Safety.” Select the account you wish to make an administrator, click “Change the account type” and select “Administrator.” To remove admin status, follow this same procedure, and then click “Standard.” Once done, click “Change account type” to make the change final. 

For Windows 8.1 users, you can make this change right from the PC Settings. From the Other Accounts section, click an account name and then click “Edit.” From the Account Type drop-down list select Administrator and then click “OK.” To remove the permissions select “Standard user” from the same list and then click “OK.” 

Removing User Accounts in Windows 8

Windows 8 users will have to return to the Control Panel to remove user accounts from their computer. Once in the Control Panel, select “User Accounts and Family Safety.” Next, click “Remove user accounts” where it appears beneath “User Accounts.” Select the account to be removed and click “Delete the account.” You’ll then have to select whether to delete the user’s personal files or leave them on your hard drive. Select “Delete files” or “Keep files” and then “Delete Account” to finish the job. 

In Windows 8.1, this job can be completed from the PC Settings. Select the account you wish to remove from the Other Accounts section and click “Remove.” Windows 8.1 doesn’t provide an option to keep the user data after deleting the account, so back it up if you want to keep it. Click “Delete account and data” to finish the job. 

Updated by Ian Paul