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Administrator accounts are the ‘keys to the kingdom’, as they give a user full control of the computer. Cybercriminals will target administrator accounts in order to take full control of a user’s computer. By not using an administrator account for everyday use you will help limit what a virus or exploit can access if your computer becomes infected.

User accounts

What is a user account or administrator account?

A user account is a user that has partial control of the computer and often cannot make changes to other users on the computer. A user account should be used for everyday home tasks, such as editing photos and browsing the web.

An administrator account is a user that has complete control of the computer and can make changes that affect other users of the computer, like installing programs and accessing all files on a computer.

Why it is important to not to use an administrator account for everyday use?

Administrator accounts are the ‘keys to the kingdom’, as they give a user full control of the computer. Cybercriminals will target administrator accounts in order to take full control of a user’s computer. By not using an administrator account for everyday use you will help limit what a virus or exploit can access if your computer becomes infected.

The daily use of an administrator account on a computer can be likened to a caretaker using an apartment block master key to enter their own apartment, instead of the dedicated apartment key. Whilst the apartment and master key achieve the same purpose for the caretaker (and might seem convenient for their day job), carrying a master key all the time opens up the caretaker to a greater risk of compromise to the entire building if they lose control of the master key.

Where do I change it?

Modification of user and administrator accounts can be done in Control Panel. Icons and language may differ slightly depending on the build version of Windows you are using.

Checking user accounts on Windows 10

  1. Click on the Windows icon and type “Control Panel” and click on Control Panel app.
     
    Screen shot highlighting control panel application

  2. Click User Accounts. Please note that you will need to be on or have access to an administrator account to make any of these changes. If you do not have access to this account or it is managed by a service provider, please contact the relevant local administrator or your service provider.
     
    Screen shot highlighting user account icon

  3. Select Add or Remove user accounts.
     
    Screen shot highlighting remove user account icon

  4. Check to see if there are any unusual accounts (missing or unaccounted accounts). You should only have one administrator account and your daily use account should not be the administrator account. From here on, all the next steps will start from here.
     
    On the 'Choose the user you would like to change' screen, there is all the user accounts on your PC. It lists their role as Administrator or Local account.

Changing the account type on Windows 10

  1. Click on the User you want to make changes.
     
    Screen shot of user account dialogue screen

  2. Click on Change the account type.
     
    Under 'Make changes to this account,' there is a list of actions. The 'Change the account type' action is highlighted.

  3. Choose if you want the account to be a standard account or administrator. Then click on Change Account Type.
     
    Screen shot highlighting change account type button

Removing accounts on Windows 10

  1. Click on the user you want to remove.
     
    Screen shot of user account dialogue screen

  2. Click on Delete the account.
     
    Screen shot highlighting delete the account link

  3. Choose between deleting all the files of the user you are removing or to keep the files.
     
    On the 'Do you want to keep this user's files' screen, you can select 'Delete files,' 'Keep files,' or 'Cancel.'

  4. Click Delete Account to confirm you are removing the account.
     
    Screen shot highlighting delete account button

Creating a new account on Windows 10

  1. Click on Add a new user in PC settings.
     
    Under the section "Choose the user you'd like to change," there is a link to "Add a new user in PC settings"

  2. Scroll down and click on Add someone else to this PC.
     
    Screen shot highlighting add someone else to this pc link

  3. Enter the username, passphrase and security question/answers. Click Next, by default this new user will not have administrator access. You can also create a new user account using a Microsoft account, however you must be connected to the internet.
     
    Screen shot of create an account for this pc dialogue screen