Windows Vista Help

User Accounts and Permissions

1. How do I setup User Accounts in Vista?

It depends on whether you have Vista Home or Vista Business. In Vista Home, click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, User Accounts and Family Safety and click 'Add or remove user accounts'. You can also change user account details and change the way people log on or off i.e. use Welcome screen or the old classic Login box like Windows 2000 Pro/XP Pro and allow Fast user switching so you do not need to logoff and logon again.

For Vista Business, you use the Local Users and Groups (or Computer Management) admin tool from Start, Programs, Administrative Tools. You can also access it by right clicking My Computer and select Manage.

2. What is an Administrator user?

By default windows is installed with one 'administrator' account and a guest account. An administrator account can change any settings on the computer, install drivers, install programs, change file/folder permissions, change entries in the registry and so on. When Vista is installed, the user can specify additional accounts with administrator priviledges, when then happens the original 'administrator' account is hidden. The only way to login as 'administrator' is to boot into Safe Mode.

3. What is a Standard User?

A standard user make make changes in their own account such as desktop appearance, themes, create icons on their desktop, run programs and load and save files. They cannot install drivers or programs or make system wide changes.,

4. How do I set Folder Permissions in Vista?

To set permissions in Vista, right click the folder and select Properties and click on the Security tab which shows the current file and folder permissions:

Security tab

At the top is a list of users and groups, and below is the list of permissions. The permissions are as follows:

Full control - can read,write and change files and change permissions.
Modify - can read, write and change files only.
Read & Execute - can read files and execute program files or scripts.
List folder contents - can view a list of files but cannot view contents of files
Read - can read contents of files
Write - can create files or folders and change files
Special permissions - combination of permissions set in the Advanced tab for more granular control.

5. How do I delete old user Profiles?

User profiles are stored in C:\Users. There are special folders called Public and Default which must NOT be deleted as they contain the a shared profile for shared documents and a Default user profile used to create new accounts. Profiles can be deleted via the System Control Panel, select the Advanced tab and then User Profiles. You can copy or delete profiles here.

6. My profile is corrupt and using a default. How do I fix it?

Create a new account and login with it, then copy the folders from your old profile into your new profile in C:\Users such as Application Data, Local Settings, Desktop, Favourites, My Documents, Send To, Start menu but not then ntuser.dat or ntuser.dat.log files.

7. How do I create a Power User?

A Power User has more permissions than a Standard User and can read/write to files in C:\Windows or C:\Program Files and make some system changes. This feature is not available in Vista Home. In Vista Business, you just need to add the user to the Power Users group via Computer Management console.

8. How do I customise the Default User?

The Default user profile is used when creating new accounts in Vista. It contains the default settings for all new accounts created on Vista machines. Usually, when you create a new account and login, the default user's settings are copied to the new profile, then the user can customise their setup as they wish. If you wish everyone to have the same settings from the start. You need to copy the settings to the default user. This is best when using a fresh account. First, create a new user called NewUser, then login with it, you can then use the Control Panel to change the settings as you wish, change the My Documents location, Screen Savers, backdrops and so on. Then logout when done. Login as an Administrator user and load the System control panel, click on Advanced, user profile Settings and select the NewUser profile from list, click on Copy To and browse for C:\Users\Default and click ok to copy settings.

9. I can not log in to Windows Vista, I have forgotten my password?

You can use your Password Reset Disk which you created when you first installed Vista or when you created accounts to reset your password. To use the disk, boot up Vista as normal, on the Welcome screen click your user and then click on the Question mark button, the Did you forget your password message appears, click use your password reset disk to start the Password Reset Wizard to set a new password.
If you do not have this disk or deleted your user, reboot in Safe Mode by pressing F8 during the boot up sequence and login with the built in Administrator user and use the User Control Panel to change your password or create a new user.

10. I have installed some programs but they do not appear in the Start menu when I login as another user?

For users to see program shortcuts they must be either copied to their Profile (C:\User\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start menu\Programs) or in the ProgramData (c:\progradata\Microsoft\Windows\Start menu\Programs). If you install a program and the shortcuts do not appear in another user's account then you need to move the shortcuts from your profile to the ProgramData start menu location.

You can access either location quickly by right clicking the start menu icon at the bottom left and click either Open (or Explore) for your own program short cuts or Open all users for shared program short cuts.

11. Can I rename my profile folder in C:\Users?

It is possible unfortunately, a lot of Registry entries will point to files and folders in your Profile. It is better to backup your Profile to another directory, as an administrator user, (create one if you only have your own), login, goto System Control Panel, Advanced, User Profiles and select Copy To to copy it to another folder. Then delete your old user account (along with the old profile), create a new user, login as the new user to create a new profile. Then logout and login as an Administrator and copy the profile into your new Users folder.

12. I have some files, they are private and I cannot access them?

You need to grab Ownership of the file, this can be done via the Properties of the folder, click on Security, Advanced, Change Owner.

13. Can I move folders from C:\Users to another location?

Yes you can, the Documents folder is easiest to move, locate C:\Users\<username>\Documents folder on your hard disk, right click it and select Properties and select the Location tab enter a new directory and click Move.

The Temporary Internet Files can be relocated using the Internet Options control panel (see Settings, Move Folder). Other folders can be changed using a program called X-Setup or use Regedit and change locations in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ShellFolders. So you can move your Favourites, Cookies and Application Data etc elsewhere.

14. How do I change my password?

You can change it via the User Accounts control panel, the Computer Management console or sometimes via the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen and select Change Password. You can also use the Net user username new_password command to change passwords of a user.

15. How do I turn off or on the User Account Control dialogs?

You can turn it off or on in Control Panel, User Accounts and Family Safety, User Accounts and Turn User Account Control on or off.

16. How do I enable the built in Administrator account?

In Vista, the administrator account is disabled and hidden. To renable access, open a command prompt using Run as administrator first, then enter:
Net user administrator /active:yes . The account will then be available on the login screen when you logout.