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Windows 8: Add a user account in PC Settings

Many people share computers and they have partners, children, work colleagues and so on. There is often one or more other users of the computer and it is best if everyone has their own user account. This means that their email, web browser favourites and bookmarks, documents, music, photos, videos and Windows settings are all their own and not someone else's. Having our own account enables us to personalise our PC.

Adding a new account to Windows 8 is similar to previous versions of Windows, but like a lot of things, it isn't quite the same. There are some differences as we will see.

There are two places for creating new user accounts and to access the first move the mouse to the top right corner of the screen and let it hover for a second. The charms panel appears on the right and you can move the mouse down to Settings and click it to select it. This opens a new panel on the right and at the bottom is More PC settings. Click it.

Windows 8 user accounts

Select Users in the settings list on the left and down at the bottom is a plus button to add a user. Click it and you are prompted for an email address for the person. It is not compulsory, but it is useful if the user has a Microsoft account. You get a Microsoft account if you sign up for one of Microsoft's free services like Hotmail, Windows Live Mail, or SkyDrive, Messenger and so on. If you enter this email address and password when creating a new user account it enables extra features in Windows 8, such as the ability to download apps from the Store, sync settings with other computers the user may use, and access files from other computers.

There is a link on the page to sign up for a free Microsoft account if the user doesn't already have one, and there is a link if you don't want the user to have a Microsoft account. A young child, for example, might not need one.

In this example we will click the link Don't want this user to sign in with a Microsoft account? The screen changes and there are two buttons at the bottom. One is for a Microsoft account and one for a Local account. A local account is exactly the same as in previous versions of Windows. This is no different to what you are used to. It's the Microsoft account that is new in Windows 8 and this is a superior type of account. Let's carry on with the local account though.

Clicking the Local account button prompts you to enter the user name, password and a password hint (in case the user forgets the password). The account is then created. It will be displayed when the computer is started and the lock screen slides up the screen.

This type of account is what is called a standard account, which means that the user cannot access advanced configuration and system tools, or make major changes to Windows. A standard account is fine for most people and they will be able to check their email, browse the web, run software and do anything they need. An administrator account is for the person in charge of the computer who might need access to advanced tools and configuration settings.

If you want to create an administrator account, see this article.