For years, teachers, parents, tech directors, and computer lab instructors struggled to answer two difficult questions: How do you rig one PC so several different people can use it throughout the day, without interfering with one another’s files and settings? And how do you protect a PC from getting fouled up by mischievous (or bumbling) students and employees?
Easy: Use a multiple-user operating system like Windows 8. Anyone who uses the computer must log on—supply a correct name and password—when the computer turns on.
Since the day you installed Windows 8 or fired up a new Windows 8 machine, you’ve probably made a number of changes to your setup—fiddled with your Start screen, changed the desktop wallpaper, added some favorites to your Web browser, downloaded files onto your desktop, and so on—without realizing that you were actually making these changes only to your account.
Ditto with your Web history and cookies, Control Panel settings, email stash, and so on. It’s all part of your account.
If you create an account for a second person, who’s never used Windows 8, then when she turns on the computer and signs in, she’ll find the desktop looking the way it was factory-installed by Microsoft: basic Start screen, standard desktop picture, default Web browser home page, and so on. She can make the same kinds of changes to the PC that you’ve made, but nothing she does will affect your environment the next time you log on.
In other words, the multiple-accounts ...