Why you should have two user accounts on your Windows PC

Prepare for the worst, but expect the best. It's like insurance

If you are the only user of your Windows PC you might have only one account. After all, what would you do with two? There are good reasons for having two accounts and you should create them now!

Create a backup user account in Windows in case of problems

The problem with having only one account in Windows is that it can become corrupted. What are you going to do if it is the only account that allows you to log into Windows?

Sometimes the corruption is minor and your account works, most software works, but one or two things don’t. For example, you may find that you can run desktop software fine, but Windows 10 or 8 apps will not work, or the Windows Store will not open. There may be a problem browsing the web, or printing in WIndows 7.

When there is minor corruption to an account and just a few features that don’t work, most people try to fix it. However, it rarely works.

Major corruption, or even just a small amount of corruption, but to key files in your account, can prevent you from logging into Windows. If you cannot log in then you cannot access your files, so your documents, photos, music, videos and other files are inaccessible.

Could you cope with corruption to your user account?

One solution is to reinstall Windows, but that is a drastic step and it may or may not work without first erasing the disk, which would mean losing all your files. (You do have a backup on an external disk don;t you?)

If you have two user accounts on your Windows PC then you can always log in with the second account. It should be an administrator account because this gives you access to all parts of the disk drive and the power to make changes to Windows, settings, the registry and so on.

If the account you usually use is corrupt you might be able to fix it from a second admin account. If you can’t, then you can copy the files out of your old account and into the new one. Then you can abandon the old one and use the new one.

Create a backup account in Windows 7

Windows 7 is straightforward and you open the Control Panel, click User Accounts, Manage another account, Create a new account. There is an option to create a standard account or an administrator account. Enter a name and create a new administrator.

 Create a new user account in Windows 7

Afterwards, click the account and then click Create a password. This is your backup account and you might not use it for some time, so do not forget this password.

 Add a password to a user account in Windows 7

Create a backup account in Windows 10

Windows 10 is a bit more complicated because there are several different types of account. There are standard and administrator accounts as with Windows 7, but also family and other users accounts, and accounts you sign in with a Microsoft ID (like an outlook.com email account), local accounts, child and adult accounts.

User accounts in Windows 10 actually deserves a whole article on its own because it is so complicated. Here is one way to create a backup account

Press Windows+I to open Settings and click Accounts. Select Family & other users on the left. Click Add someone else to this PC under Other users.

 Add a user account to Windows 10

If you choose to add someone else, you are prompted to enter an email address or phone number. Click I don’t have this person’s sign in information.

 Add a new user account in Windows 10

On the next screen click Add a user without a Microsoft account.

 Add a new user account in Windows 10

This enables you to simply add a user by entering their username and a password. It is like the old Windows 7 style of account. This is fine for a backup account.

 Add a new user account in Windows 10

After creating the account, click it to select it and then click Change account type.

 Add a new user account in Windows 10

You can now make this user account an administrator from the Account type menu.

 Create an administrator account in Windows 10

If you ever need to switch accounts because your main one becomes corrupt, you can always log in, change the backup account, create a new account, or try to fix the old one.


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1 Comment on Why you should have two user accounts on your Windows PC

  1. Carolyn Paul Branch // 2016/06/16 at 17:18 //

    Thanks! I added a second account easily following your screenshots and clear instructions. Still trying to get acquainted with windows 10.

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