Despite the introduction of the UAC (User Account Control) mechanism since Windows Vista, using a normal user account instead of an administrator account is the first rule to avoid most problems.
Administrative accounts allow you to make any kind of change to your Windows configuration, even at a low level: Using a non-administrative account protects you from 94% of the problems in Windows.
In Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, administrative accounts – like normal accounts – may be local or Microsoft: in the latter case, user preferences and operating system settings are saved on Microsoft servers so that they can be restored if Windows is reinstalled: Switch from Microsoft accounts to local accounts in Windows 10.
Create a New User Account in Windows 10 and Windows 7
The advice is therefore to work daily with a normal account instead of the administrative one to create a user account in Windows 10 of normal type for each person who will use the same machine.
In this way each user will have his profile and the various personal folders (Documents, Images, Downloads, Music, Videos,…) that will be automatically created and stored in the folder \Users.
To manage user accounts in Windows 10, simply access the operating system settings and then click on the Account icon.
The Sign in with a Local Account link allows you, as mentioned above, to convert a Microsoft account into a fully hosted account on your local PC: How to create Microsoft accounts and when to prefer a local account.
By clicking on Family and other people in the left column, you can create and add new user accounts.
Simply select Add another user to this PC and then decide whether you want to create a Microsoft account or a local account.
To add a Microsoft account, simply enter the person’s email address and to create a local account, select I don’t have this person’s login information and then click Add a user without a Microsoft account.
When you create a new account in Windows, it by default belongs to the normal user group (standard user).
To change its type, simply select it and then click the Change Account Type button.
Alternatively, as in Windows 7 (or Windows 8.1) to quickly change the type of a user account or to create a new user account in Windows, just press the Windows+R key combination then type control.exe userpasswords (or choose the Account icon from the Control Panel).
The Manage another account link gives you access to managing the other accounts configured on the machine.
In Windows 7 you can also press Windows+R then type lusrmgr.msc.
Alternatively, you can access the Operating System Control Panel, choose Administration Tools, Computer Management.
The so-called snap-in for user account management is not available in all Windows editions but only in Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions.
Even if you choose to create a local account, it is important not to refrain from specifying a password to protect it. If you do not, for example, you will not be able to share files and folders.
When opening the command prompt with administrator rights, we suggest that you only verify that the Guest account is disabled by typing net user guest | findstr /c: “Active account”.
If the Guest account is active, just use the following command to disable it:
|net user guest /active:no|
Corrupted user account, how to create a new account
If, suddenly, you can no longer logon to Windows and no longer have access to your data, you can create a new account.
The concept is to use a new administrator account that will allow you to recover your files.
Not everyone knows that in Windows 7 as well as in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 there is an administrator, called Administrator, hidden and disabled.
It is easy to notice its presence by typing the following at the command prompt:
|net user administrator | findstr /c: “Active account”|
In all likelihood, the active Account indication will appear: No.
If any user account is damaged, including an administrative one, simply do the following:
- Start the system in safe mode:
- Start Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 in Safe Mode
- Restart in safe mode Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7
- Open the command prompt as administrator then type:
|net user administrator /active:yes|
- Restart the machine and log in to Windows with the Administrator account just activated.
- Create a new administrator account using the above procedure.
- Open a File Explorer window, click on the View menu and then access the folder options.
- On the View tab, choose the Show hidden folders, files and drives option.
Remove the check mark from Hide system protected files (recommended).
- Go to the folder c:\users and access the contents of the old folder with the name corresponding to the account that no longer works.
- Select all the contents of the folder (except for the files Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log, Ntuser.ini,…) press CTRL+C to copy the files then move to the new subfolder with the name corresponding to the account just created and press CTRL+V to “paste” the files from the old directory.
- Log out from the Administrator account and log in to Windows with the new account you just created.
- After opening the command prompt with administrator rights, we suggest to hide the Administrator account again by typing the following:
|net user administrator /active:no|
Alternatively, to retrieve files from an account – even an administrative one – in case of a non-functioning user account or forgotten password, you can apply the procedure described in the article Forgotten password, such as finding the one for Windows, Gmail and other services in the paragraph Accessing passwords stored in web browsers if you do not remember the credentials of the Windows user account.
How to Try to Restore a Corrupted User Account
To attempt to recover a corrupted user account, the most experienced users can apply the following steps:
- 1) Start the system in Safe Mode.
- 2) Press Windows+R and type regedit.
- 3) Go to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList.
- 4) Inside the key you will find a series of keys with the prefix S-1-5 followed by a long number.
- 5) Locate the key containing the name of the damaged account at the ProfileImagePath value (right panel).
- 6) If the same account is stored as two S-1-5 accounts, one with a .bak suffix and the other without a .bak suffix, simply rename the second one by adding, for example, the .dann suffix and rename the one with a .bak suffix by removing it.
- Select the key from which you just removed the .bak suffix and, in the right pane, set the RefCount and State values to 0.