If you’re not the only person to use your Windows 10 PC, you should think seriously about setting up separate user accounts for everyone else — assuming you haven’t already, of course.

Separate accounts not only keep everyone’s personal files and settings separate, but they also help with security. If you share an account, someone could access your Amazon account inadvertently and see what they’re getting for a birthday present, for example. Separate accounts also mean everyone but you can be a ‘standard’ user, rather than an all-powerful ‘administrator’ with complete control over your computer.

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Just one word of warning. The new account creation process in Windows 10 is convoluted and contradictory in parts, so it's not a quick procedure.

 

Step 1: Open the user account settings

Microsoft really wants you to use a Microsoft account with Windows 10 — one that’s linked to an email address. So user account options vary depending on whether or not you have one, or are using a ‘local’ account. Whatever the case, start by going to Start > Settings > Accounts and click Family and other users.

1. Open the user account settings

 

Step 2: Understanding the new account options

If your account is a Microsoft account, you can add other users as Your family, which includes the option to add a child account with parental control settings. If you’re signed in with a local account, however, you’ll see an error message about how “We couldn’t connect to Microsoft family right now…” and the Add a family member option won’t work.

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You can change your own user account type by clicking Your account and then Sign in with a Microsoft / local account instead, depending on your current account type.

2. Understanding the new account options

 

Step 3: Add a new child or adult account

If you use a Microsoft account and want to add a family member, click the Add a family member option and select whether to Add a child or adult account. Now here’s where things get a bit complicated.

First, you’ll need to provide an email address of the new account holder that’s tied to a Microsoft account at this stage — any other email address won’t work.

If you’d rather not create a new Microsoft account email address, click the The person who I want to add doesn’t have an email address option. Despite what this option says, you must still provide an email address of some sort to add a Family member account in Step 4. Step 7 explains how to add a new account without an email address.

3. Add a new child or adult account

 

Step 4: Enter the new account details

Enter the account details on the next screen. You can create a new @outlook.com Microsoft account here by entering a name in the box that hasn’t already been registered by someone else, or click Use their email address instead to use an existing email non-Microsoft account email address. This email address will then be associated with a Microsoft account, however.

You’ll also need to create a password for the new account that’s at least eight characters long, and mixes upper and lower case letters, numbers or symbols. The new account holder can change this later.

4. Enter the new account details

 

Step 5: Opt out of advertising

Click Next and untick both boxes to opt out of Microsoft advertising, then click Next again to complete the account creation process. The new user will then need to verify their new account via the email Microsoft has sent to their address.

[Read more: Windows 10: 6 essential tips to make your new laptop safe and fast]

5. Opt out of advertising

 

Step 6: Manage Family member accounts

Once Family member accounts have been added to Windows 10, there’s no way to manage them from within the operating system. Instead you’ll need to sign in at https://account.microsoft.com/family, which is also where you’ll find the parental control settings for Child accounts.

6. Manage Family member accounts

[Read more: Worried about Windows 10 privacy? Discover the free and easy way to manage privacy settings]

Step 7: Add a new account without an email address

If you’d rather not use an email address with a new Windows 10 account, click the Add someone else to this PC option after clicking Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other users.

7. Add a new account without an email address 1

You’ll still be prompted for an email address, but you can skip this by clicking the I don't have this person's sign-in information option on the next screen, followed by Add a user without a Microsoft account on the following screen. Just bear in mind that you can’t use parental controls with this type of account.

7. Add a new account without an email address 2

 

Step 8: Switch between Administrator and Standard accounts

New user accounts of all types are created as limited Standard accounts by default. This is the best arrangement for Windows 10 security, but you can change account types by clicking the account name in the list under Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other users and clicking the Change account type button.

8. Switch between Administrator and Standard accounts

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