Local Users and Groups
User accounts in Windows have two purposes: to allow custom configurations for different users, and to assign permissions and rights to users to control their actions. To manage local users and groups in Windows NT, run User Manager from Administrative Tools. In Windows 95 and 98, run the Users and Passwords applet in the Control Panel.
In Windows 95 and 98, user accounts and groups are primarily used to control preferences for individual users. There is absolutely no inherent security within these operating systems, as the login prompt can be bypassed simply by pressing the escape key. This is not true in Windows NT, 2000 and XP however, where user accounts are far more important. This section will concentrate on user accounts and groups under Windows NT, 2000 and XP, using the Windows 2000 administration tool. All 3 of these operating systems come with two default user accounts that cannot be removed, the Administrator and Guest accounts9. The Administrator account has overall control of the operating system (a privilege that cannot be revoked), whilst the Guest account has no rights on the operating system whatsoever, is usually disabled and is only used in specific circumstances. To review the current local users, expand the Local Users and Groups snap-in and click on the Users folder that appears.
Note that the Guest account has a red cross on its icon. This symbolically shows the account is disabled and cannot be used.
9. Although the Administrator account can be renamed for security reasons, this only provides a small measure of protection as its GUID (the unique identification number assigned to each account) is the same on every Windows installation in the world!
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