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Windows 10 quick tips: How to share a single PC

Preston Gralla | March 29, 2016
Have employees or temporary workers sharing a computer? No problem -- here's how to do it.

Two or more people sharing one PC for work sounds like a recipe for disaster. Do you really want a co-worker to read, edit and delete your files and folders; use or delete your applications; or make system-wide customizations?

In some offices, however, computers need to be shared between two or more workers, or handed off to a temporary worker -- without being completely wiped each time. And Windows 10 has great tools for allowing multiple people to share a single PC without any of those problems. In this piece, I'll show you how to do it.

Setting up accounts for sharing a Windows 10 PC

Windows 10 makes it easy for multiple people to share the same PC. To do it, you create separate accounts for each person who will use the computer. Each person gets her own storage, her own applications, her own desktops, her own settings, and so on.

One person, the PC's administrator, sets up and manages all the accounts, including a variety of system settings that only the administrator can access. The administrator account is established when Windows is first installed or used on the machine.

Once you're an administrator, setting up a user account is easy. Go to Settings by clicking the Start button and then choose Accounts; you can also get there by clicking the Start button and then clicking your account name at the top of the Start menu. Choose Family & other users > Add someone else to this PC.

To set up an account for a co-worker, go to the "Other users" section and click "Add someone else to this PC." (You can also set up accounts for family members that let you set age limits, game and app restrictions, etc.)

account added
After you create an account for someone else, the  name appears on the Accounts page.

You'll need the email address of the person for whom you want to set up an account. Ideally, this should be the sign-in information for their Microsoft account so they'll be able to use all of their existing Windows settings, get access to their OneDrive storage, and download and install apps from the Windows Store. (For now, we'll assume that the person has a Microsoft account -- later on I'll show you how to set up an account if they don't have one and don't want to register for one.)

new account sign in small
When an account name is clicked, it will show all of the other accounts on the machine.

In the screen that appears, enter the email address of the person for whom you want to create a user account, click OK and then click Finish. The user's name now appears on the Family & other users accounts page. It also appears at the top of the Start menu.


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