I use my own individual Windows computers at home, but I also share a PC with my wife and my cat, Mr. Giggles (don’t ask). To facilitate this process, I created dedicated accounts for each person (and feline). This way, they each get their own custom settings and features, no matter what PC they’re using. Moreover, as Mr. Giggles is not yet of age, at least in cat age, I created a child account to manage his access.
Whether other people in your household use their own computers or share a PC with you, your best bet is to set them up with their own unique Windows accounts. You can do this in a number of ways: directly in Windows, through the Microsoft Family app, and online through your Microsoft account site. Here’s how to create and manage family accounts in Windows 10 and 11.
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For this to work, each person needs a Microsoft account so they can sign in to any PC and you can centrally manage their access. For any adult who doesn’t already have this type of account, have them navigate to the Microsoft account site and create one. For children, you can create the account on the website or in Windows.
How to Add an Adult Account in Windows
Let’s add an adult account on your PC. In Windows 10, go to Accounts > Family and other users and select Add a family member. In Windows 11, go to Accounts > Family and select add someone. Type the person’s Microsoft account email address and click Next.
Choose the type of role they should have. Hosts can change family and safety settings for all members, while members can only change their own settings as long as they’re adults. You can designate another adult in your household as an organizer in addition to yourself, and then designate other adults as members. Choose the desired option and click Invite.
That adult then checks their email for the invitation or logs into the Microsoft Family Safety site and clicks the button to Join now. The Your Family section in Windows Settings indicates that the person can sign in. Continue adding any other adult accounts in the same way.
How to Add a Child Account in Windows
To add a child account in Windows, click the button to Add a family member Where add someone. In the next window, enter the email address of the child’s existing Microsoft account or click the link to Create one for a child to set them up with a new Microsoft account.
If you’re using an existing account, add the password, then send the invitation. If you are creating a new account for the child, create an email address with outlook.com or hotmail.com as the domain name. You will be told if the address is already in use so you can try another one. Create a password, add the child’s first and last name, then enter the date of birth.
After creating and entering the necessary information, log in with the child’s account. An adult acting as a parent or guardian will be prompted to sign in with their own Microsoft account and provide consent for the child’s account. The child account is then created.
How to add an account through Family Safety
Beyond adding an adult or child account in Windows Settings, you can manage the process through the Family app or the Family Safety section of your Microsoft account website. The interface is the same for both, so use whichever works best for you. To launch the app, click the Start button and select Family (in Windows 11, click the Start button, select All apps, then select Family). To do this on the web, go to the Family Safety page.
Click the button at the top to Add a family member. Enter the person’s email address or phone number. For a child, you can either add an existing Microsoft account or create a new one. Choose the role you want this person to have — member or organizer. Then send the invitation.
Allow family members to sign in to Windows
Now that you’ve set up accounts for different family members, each person can sign in to any of your Windows computers. To check it out, go to Accounts > Family and other users under Windows 10 and Accounts > Family in Windows 11. You should see all the accounts you have set up. If an account has “Can sign in” next to it, the person’s email address or name will appear on the Windows sign-in screen. If the account says “Unable to sign in” next to it, and you want that person to be able to sign in to this PC, click that account’s entry, then click Allow.
To test this, log out of your account. The login screen should display the names or email addresses of everyone who can log in. Choose a specific account. The first time you do this, Windows configures itself for that person. That family member can then personalize Windows by choosing wallpaper, colors, themes, lock screen, accessibility features, privacy settings, and more.
Manage family accounts
Finally, you and other organizers can manage individual adult and child accounts. To do this, open the Family app in Windows or go to the Family Safety page in your Microsoft account. Click the three-dot icon of an account you want to manage. If the person is an organizer, you can only remove them from the family group. If the person is a member, you can edit certain types of information. Most likely, you will want to exercise the utmost control over a child account. In the menu, click on the option to Go to overview.
On the Overview page, you can control screen time on the child’s computer, set limits on the apps and games they can use, enable search filters for Microsoft Edge, control their spending on the Microsoft Store and associated marketplaces, view their activity, and receive a weekly email with updates on their activities.
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