Windows XP Help

User Accounts and Permissions

1. How do I setup User Accounts in XP?

It depends on whether you have XP Home or XP Pro. In XP Home, click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, User Accounts and click 'Create a new account'. 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 and allow Fast user switching so you do not need to logoff and logon again.

For XP Professional, 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 XP Home 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 Limited User?

A limited 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 XP?

In XP Home, only files in C:\Documents and Settings\ can be set to Private in the Security and Sharing tab of the Properties of Folders on NTFS volumes. On other folders this is greyed out. To set permissions on other folders you need to use the Cacls.exe program, for example:

Cacls "C:\Documents and Settings" will display current rights for that folder.
Cacls C:\Private /T /P user1:N /E will edit acl for C:\Private giving user1 no access (N) but leaving other rights alone (/E).
Cacls C:\Private /T /P user3:R /E will update acl for C:\Private giving user3 Read (R) access.

Alternatively, if you boot into Safe Mode and login to administrator, you can access the full Security tab as in XP Pro. In XP Pro, you need to disable Use Simple File Sharing in Explorer, Folder Options under the View tab. This will give more advanced control over sharing, files and folders by setting Permissions for users or groups of users.

5. How do I delete old user Profiles?

User profiles are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\. There are special folders called Administrator, All Users and Default User which must NOT be deleted as they contain the builtin Administrator account's profile, a shared profile for program shortcuts for Program menu 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:\Documents and Settings 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 Limited User and can read/write to files in C:\Windows or C:\Program Files and make some system changes. This feature is not accessible via the standard User Account interface in XP Home. To access advanced features for users, goto Start, Run and enter Control userpasswords2 when you can add and modify users and make them a Power User (which has more rights than a Limited User). In XP Pro, 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 XP. It contains the default settings for all new accounts created on XP 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:\Documents and Settings\Default User and click ok to copy settings.

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

You can use your Password Reset Disk which you created when you first installed XP or when you created accounts to reset your password. To use the disk, boot up XP 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:\documents and settings\<user>\start menu\programs) or in the All Users Profile (c:\documents and settings\All Users\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 All Users profile.

11. Can I rename my profile folder in C:\Documents and Settings?

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 useraccount (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 Documents and Settings 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. For XP Home users,
you must boot into Safe Mode (press F8 during boot up), login as administrator and you will have access to the Security tab in Explorer.

13. Can I move folders from C:\Documents and Settings to another location?

Yes you can, My Documents is easiest to move, right click My Documents folder on your Desktop, select Properties and enter a new Target Folder Location and click Move. 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.