Learn how to change user rights in Windows XP to control what users can or can’t do on your home PC.
A huge improvement in Windows XP from Windows 95, 98, and ME, is security. One of the biggest security features I like is the ability to better control user rights (similar to Windows 2000). This guide explains user rights and how to change them on a Windows XP machine.
What are user rights?
User rights are what each user can or can’t do. For example: With user rights you can set the parent(s) user account(s) with administrative rights, which lets them do anything on the computer, and set the children(s) user account(s) with only user rights, which lets them use the computer, but they can’t change setting, install, or un-install software.
That is one example of many possible uses of user rights. User rights can get much more complicated (there are many books on this subject alone) but I won’t go into all of that in this guide.
Using user rights in the manner explained in this guide can help keep your computer running smoothly by preventing users from accidentally causing harm to the computer.
The different rights
Windows lets you give a variety of rights to a user. In this example I’m going to use either User or Administrative rights for simplicity purposes.
Administrative rights are given to someone who can change settings, install or un-install software, and so on. These rights should only be given to someone who is in charge of making those kinds of decisions.
User rights are given to someone who only uses the computer. People with user rights can’t change most settings, install or un-install software, and perform other similar tasks. Giving a user only user rights will keep them from harming the computer in many cases.
You might want to take note that administrative rights overrides user rights. If a user has user rights and administrative rights, the administrative rights will override the user rights which will give the user administrative rights.
There are many other types of rights you can use. The two rights that I talked about above are the only ones you should need in a home PC in most cases.
Changing user rights (if done wrong) can lock you out of being able to perform administrative tasks in rare cases. If you follow the instructions below exactly you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
NEVER remove administrative rights from the administrator user account. Trust me on that one.
Open the local users folder
There are many ways to perform most tasks in Windows XP. The way I’m going to show you how to change user rights for a user are one of the many ways to get this task done. I’m using this method only because this is the way I like to do it.
The first things you need to do are right-click My Computer and select Manage. The Computer Management console will open. Click the + sign next to Local Users and Groups. Double-click the Users folder under Local Users and Groups. Your Computer Management window should look similar to the one below.
In the users folder is the complete list of users for that computer. If you need to add users to this list check out the create a new user guide.
Add or remove rights
When you turn on your new Windows XP PC for the first time, it probably asked you for a list of people who’s going to use the computer. Most of the time everyone in the list of users you created when first using your new PC will have administrative rights given to them by default by Windows XP.
In the first example I’m going to show you how to remove administrative rights from a user.
Double-click the user you want to remove administrative rights from in the users folder inside the local users and groups section of the computer management window (shown above). Click the member of tab on the top of the users’ properties box.
In most cases the user will have administrative rights only. In some cases the user will have both administrative and user rights.
If the user has both administrative and user rights you can remove the administrative rights by simply clicking on administrators and clicking the remove button.
If the user only has administrative rights you’ll need to give that user user rights before you can take away administrative rights.
To give a user rights they don’t have click on the add button inside the users properties box. You will see a window similar to the one below open up.
Click the advanced button. A window similar to the one below will pop up.
Click find now and select Users from the list. Click OK. Click OK in the select groups window. Now your user should have both administrative and user rights. All you do now is click administrators and click the remove button. Click OK.
Now your user has user rights only.
In the next example I’ll show you how to add administrative rights to a user who only has user rights.
Double-click the user you want to add administrative rights to in the users folder inside the local users and groups section of the computer management window. Click the member of tab on the top of the users’ properties box.
Click add, click advanced, click find now, select administrators, click OK, click OK in the select groups window, and click OK in your users properties window.
Now your user has administrative rights.
Please note that it’s best to restart the computer after changing user rights to make sure they are enforced.
Still need help? Ask your computer question now.