How To Create An Administrator Account

New computers often come with only one active account on them, the administrative account.  Most people just buy a computer and start to use it setting up the administrator account as the one they will use for their day-to-day activities.

This is not a good idea.  The account you use on a day-to-day basis should not be an “administrative” account, but rather a “standard” account.  You rarely actually need administrative privileges, typically only when you are installing new software.  The danger of normally running as administrator is that, if you accidentally come across a malicious web site or malicious software, it will be running with the privileges of the current account, and, if the current account is administrative, malware can do a lot more damage.

It is far better to set up a separate account to have administrative privileges and downgrade your normal account to standard privileges.  If you ever need those administrative privileges, log out of your normal account and log in to your administrative account.

It is not too difficult to set up the alternate account; here’s how:

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts

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2. Click Manage another account

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3.       Click Create a new account

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4.       Enter the name that you will use for your new administrative account, select Administrator as the account type, then click Create Account

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5.       Your current account and new account are now displayed.  Click on the new administrator account (“MyRealAdminAccount” in the graphic below)

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6.       Click Create a password

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7.       Enter a strong password, but one that you will remember.  If you need tips on how to pick something appropriate, check out our password page for tips.  Put in a hint if you want, but not such a good hint that anyone else would understand it, then click Change password.

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8. Click Manage another account

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9.       Select the account that you will be using for your day-to-day activities.  (“Drabin” in the graphic below.)

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10.   Click Change the account type

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11.   Select Standard user, then click Change Account Type

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12.   Your account is now set to be standard.
Click Manage another account to see your completed work.

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13. Here you can see the original account is now a Standard user.  This will keep all your old settings and data.  But we also now have a new Administrator account that we can use when we need that extra bit of privilege.  Typically this is not needed unless you are installing certain kinds of software.

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