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How to Share a Single PC in Windows 10

How to Share a Single PC in Windows 10

Daniel Horowitz
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There are a number of reasons why you may want to share your computer with others. Whether you want to save money by having one computer for your entire family or you’re buying a PC for business purposes, the ability to switch between users on a single device is a great asset.
Fortunately, the process for creating a Windows 10 multi-user experience is simple, and it’s an ideal solution for families, internet cafes, libraries, and more.

Who may need multiple users on Windows 10?

There are a variety of individuals and businesses that can benefit from multi-user setups. While it may sound potentially disastrous to have two or more people sharing one device, this setup actually provides more security for everyone using it.

Businesses

For businesses, especially small ones, it makes sense to add users in Windows 10 so several people can use one PC. This keeps costs down and makes it possible to share files more easily. Plus, if you have employees who only use a computer on a part-time basis, they won’t need a dedicated computer for each of them.

Families

A multi-user setup is also helpful for families with young children or those who are trying to limit their kids’ screen time. You can create an account for each child that allows them to customize their experience, and you can also put time limits on their usage. You can add different settings and block certain sites that you deem inappropriate as well.

Public places

If you work at a public institution like a library, then you’ll certainly have numerous people using the same PC throughout the day. With multiple users, you can create print settings and separate permissions for each type of user, allowing them to make changes or to have only basic use. And, you can also set time limits if you don’t want people browsing the internet all day long, tying up limited computers.

Benefits of sharing a single PC

There are a few reasons to consider investing in a single PC rather than several.

Cost

The most obvious benefit is the cost savings of not providing a computer to every employee, member of your family, or customer. Purchasing new laptops or desktops for each individual can be expensive, especially if they only use it for a few hours a day or less anyway. Rather than paying for several computers, you can have one PC in a designated location.

Limit usage time

Cost isn’t the only reason to add different users to Windows 10. Again, if you want to limit the amount of time that your family, employees, or customers can spend on the PC, then having multiple users is the way to go.

Sharing files

A multi-user setup is also great for sharing sensitive files. You’re able to do this seamlessly across accounts rather than sending them over email. You can change permissions to give certain employees access to files while hiding them from others as well.

How to set up multiple users

Setting up Windows 10 multi-user is a simple process, but it requires that each user has an email address to input when setting up an account. When you add a user to Windows 10, each individual user gets their own storage limits, choices in applications they want to use, and desktop settings. To set up multiple users, you will need access to an administrator account.
From there, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Start button, choose Settings, and then click on Accounts
  2. On the screen that appears, choose the “Family & other users” option
Decide which type of user to create: For a co-worker or regular user, pick the “Other users” option and then “Add someone else to this PC.” This will give them unrestricted access and won’t limit the amount of time that they have on their account

Managing restrictions

There are several things you can do when learning how to manage users on Windows 10. If you would like to add some restrictions, choose the option “Add a family member” under the “Your Family” page. This allows you to customize the settings for each user, including how long they can spend on the computer, which apps they can use, and more.

Consider a Microsoft account

You’ll need the email address for each user to set up their account. If possible, it’s ideal to have a Microsoft account since it provides users with easy access to their OneDrive storage, their settings from another device, and other Microsoft products and services. Keep in mind that these users won’t be able to download apps from the Microsoft Store.
If you’d rather not use a Microsoft account, you can still create a user account. Most email addresses will do for basic tasks. You will just need to enter the password for the account when creating a new user.

Finishing up

  1. Once you click OK and Finish, your new user will appear on the Start menu and on your user accounts page
  2. They can begin using it, by clicking on the icon that represents your currently active account. You’ll then see all the available accounts
  3. Click your current account and log off, or restart the computer. You will then have the option for windows sign-in to either user at the login screen

Switching between accounts

Once you create the accounts you want on your Windows 10 PC, all you have to do to switch accounts is click the Start button, then choose the icon representing the user you would like to access. You can then enter the account password and get started.
If you would like to close an account before you switch, you need to log out or restart the computer. From there, you can choose which user you would like to use and then enter in the appropriate password.

In summary

From small businesses to families to libraries, adding accounts for Windows 10 multiple users is a great way to save money or set up restrictions for other people using the device. Even better, it’s incredibly simple to manage and it provides a way to safely store and access content you care about and want to share.

About the Author

Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.

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