I would like to continue our series of more advanced articles on managing user accounts and groups, with a tutorial about how to use the Local Users and Groups panel (snap-in) from Computer Management to create user accounts and user groups.
NOTE: This tutorial doesn't work on Windows 7 Home Premium, as the tool being presented is not available.
How to Create a User Account
To create a user account, first open the Users folder, found in Computer Management -> Local Users and Groups.
Right click somewhere on the empty space found in the middle section of the window. There, click on New User.
This opens the New User window, where you will enter all the details about the new user account.
First, type the user name, its full name (optional) and description (optional).
Then, you must type the password that will be used and confirm it. You can choose not to use a password and check the box which says "User must change the password at next logon". This way, when the person using this user account logs on for the first time, he or she must create their own password.
There are also other options that can be used:
- User cannot change password - this is self-explanatory. Only the administrator will be able to change the password for that user account.
- Password never expires - this setting is useful in business network environments which have policies for user account passwords to expire after a certain time. Checking this box makes the password set to... never expire.
- Account is disabled - checking this box means you are creating a user account that is disabled and cannot be used.
Once you are done making all the settings, click Create and the user account will be created and ready for use. If you are done creating user accounts, click Close in the New User window.
All user accounts created using this method won’t have any administrative permissions and will be listed as members of the Users group, which has permissions only to use existing applications and resources.
How to View & Change the Properties of a User Account
You can also edit the properties of existing users. To do so, right click on the user account you want to configure and click Properties.
This opens the Properties window for that user account. In the General tab you have the options covered in the previous section, which can be changed as needed.
The Member Of tab lists the user groups that user account is a member of.
The user account can be made a member of other groups, by clicking on Add and selecting the user groups. You can also remove its membership of a group by selecting the user group from which you want it removed and clicking on Remove.
The Profile tab should be used only in business network environments to set specific paths for: where the user profile data is stored, logon scripts that should be executed at the Windows logon or setting the home folder to another value than the Windows default.
Once you made the changes you desire, don’t forget to click OK, so that they get applied.
How to Create a User Group
To create a new user group, click on the Groups folder in Computer Management -> Local Users and Groups.
Right click somewhere on the empty space found in the middle section of the window. There, click on New Group.
The New Group window opens. There, type the name and description(optional) of the group.
Then, it is time to add members. Click Add. This opens the Select Users window. There, click on Advanced.
A new version of the window opens, with more options for finding user accounts. Click Find Now and then scroll down through the list of results and select with the mouse the user account(s) you want as part of the user group. Then, click OK.
The user account(s) you selected are now shown. Click OK again.
You are back to the New Group window where you can see the member(s) you just added.
When done with the user group configuration, click Create and then Close.
You can now give special permissions to that user group and all its members will inherit them. If you are looking for a good tutorial on how to change permissions, read this one: Take Ownership and Change Permissions of Files and Folders.
I hope you found our mini-series of articles on using the Local Users and Groups panel (snap-in) useful. If you have any troubles with it or questions, don’t hesitate to share them via the comments form below.