3 Steps to configuring Windows 7 Guest Accounts

What do you do when your best friend’s friend is over for dinner and needs to use your computer?  Do you trust him?  Sometimes you want to grant someone access to your computer but since it’s just a one time thing, you don’t really want to go through the hassle of creating an account.  But, at the same time, you also don’t know this person well enough to let him jump in with your personal Windows account.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a secure way to grant someone temporary access to your computer?

That’s what Windows guest accounts are all about.

Guest accounts are limited such that your unscrupulous friends or unethical relatives can’t install software or change settings behind your back.  Guest accounts will give you a little more piece of mind when you need to leave your guests unattended at your computer.  Admittedly, it isn’t foolproof since guests can still use your network and shutdown the computer but that’s why I recommend turning off the account immediately after your guests leave.  There’s no need to leave something on that’s not being used; it just presents an unnecessary risk.

Guest Account Setup

The real point behind Guest accounts is to share computer access without sharing passwords.  Guest only get rights to do basic tasks like browse the web or check email.

Let’s get started.  In Windows 7, Guest accounts are disabled by default so we need to enable it.

1. Click Start and type:

control panel

Now, mouse over to the right column under User Accounts and Family Safety and choose Add or remove user accounts.

Windows 7 Control Panel

2. You’ll see that the Guest Account is disabled. Give it a click to flip it on.

Windows 7 Manage Accounts

3. Windows warns you that you’re about to enable the Guest account. Click Turn on.

Windows 7 Manage Accounts enable Guest Account

Windows finishes creating the Guest account after approximately 30 seconds to a minute and gives you the option to change the default picture. I actually like the suitcase image because it’s apt for guests so I ‘m going to leave my pictures alone.

Change Windows 7 Guest Account Picture

The result

Now when you log off your computer you’ll see a new Guest account option that your guests can use.

You’re done setting up the account now but just remember to disable the account after your guests leave.  You can do that by revisiting the Control Panel, clicking User Accounts and Family Safety again and picking Add or remove user accounts.

Windows 7 Guest Account

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Posted in How To, Security, Windows 7 Tagged with: