Understanding user accounts

Updated: March 30, 2011

Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

A user account provides important information to Windows Home Server 2011 such as which files and folders a user can access, and whether the user has permission to use Remote Web Access. User accounts let you share a computer with several people, while making it possible for individual users to create and manage their own files and settings. Each person accesses his or her user account with a user name and password.

There are two main types of user accounts. Each type gives users a different level of control over the computer:

  • Standard user accounts are for everyday computing. The standard account helps protect your network by preventing users from making changes that affect other users, such as deleting certain files, or changing network settings.

  • The Guest user account is intended primarily for people who need temporary use of a computer. The Guest account is created automatically for you, but it is disabled by default. The Guest account can be used as a convenient way to turn on access to resources that are stored on your server (such as photos and music) for someone who is not a regularly using the home server. You can activate the Guest account to share files with your extended family (such as grandparents) and friends. Use the Guest account for temporary access to resources on the server and deactivate the Guest account when the guest no longer requires access to the resources on the server. By default, the Guest account, when activated has Read only access. It is recommended that you think about what level of access to the server folders should be provided to the Guest account, whether Read/Write access is required, or if a Read only access is sufficient. These considerations will provide maximum protection and privacy to your data. For more information about setting access to server folders, see How do I manage access to server folders?


    If you provide read/write access to the Guest account for a server folder, then anyone who accesses the server folder using the Guest account can delete, change or add files that are located in that folder.

Additionally, Windows Home Server 2011 creates an Administrator account, which provides full control over the computer network.

For information about how to create and manage user accounts, see “Managing User Accounts in Windows Home Server 2011.”