[WinXP] How can I create a separate user account that is completely separate from the main admin account?
March 17, 2009 12:54 AM   Subscribe

[WinXP] How can I create a separate user account that is completely separate from the main admin account? I.e. doesnt share the same programs, settings, etc

I've tried this the normal way, but some programs that are installed show up in both accounts.

What I'm trying to achieve is to create an account that is completely free of distractions and only has the software I need for study. I'd also like to block certain websites etc.
I'd use the main admin account for leisure purposes.

Is this possible?
posted by Jimmeh to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
It should be possible. Well, the programs part, anyway.

If you have already created some accounts on your box (including your Admin account) and installed software on those accounts as "For use by Everybody", then any accounts you create later will show those "Everybody" programs. That's by design, and there's not much you can do about that.

However, you can uninstall that software (removing it from ALL accounts), and then selectively re-install it on only those accounts where you want it to show up.
posted by Dunwitty at 1:25 AM on March 17, 2009

I.e. doesnt share the same programs

If you look in C:\Documents and Settings\ there should be folders for three users; your main account, your separate account, and one called 'All Users' (there may also be folders like 'default user' but that's not important at the moment).

If you look in the 'all users' folder, then under 'Start menu' you'll see certain programs which appear in all users' start menus.

Cut and paste all the icons you don't want the separate account to access into the main account's 'start menu' folder.

After doing this, it will still be possible for the limited user to access those programs if they know where the actual executables are stored. That is, there won't be a link to c:\windows\System32\sol.exe in the start menu, but they can still type it into the 'run' box. You can prevent this by, as an administrator, finding the files you don't want the limited user to be able to run, going to file properties, then under the 'security' tab removing the limited user's permissions on the file.

I'd also like to block certain websites etc.

You could break the website by naming it in your hosts file. Since limited users don't have write access to that file, the limited user couldn't bypass the blocking.

However, that's a pretty clumsy way of doing things as you'd have to change the file whenever you were using your main account, to get access to those websites back.

Alternately, certain Firefox settings can be locked; you could install a site-blocking extension in the limited user's firefox settings, then lock the settings in question so the extension could not be disabled/removed. I don't know how easy that would be, though.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:55 AM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Perhaps your best/strongest solution might be to re-install XP on another partition and dual boot XP (with all programs) and XP (with limited work programs), with the second one being containing only the programs you need. It's a pain, but it will stop you from being distracted while you're booted into the limited version.

Or you could boot a linux distro from a live CD/USB to do your work, depending on which programs you need.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:49 AM on March 17, 2009

Under c:\documents and setting\username\start menu you'll see all the default icon installs. You can delete the icons from there. Under c:\documents and settings\all users\start menu you'll see the ones for everyone. Remove read and write rights from those icons for that user instead of deleting them so your other profiles wont be affected.

Read this similar question too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:50 AM on March 17, 2009

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