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Manage User Accounts and Settings in Windows 10

Manage account pictures and passwords

As previously discussed, you can sign in to Windows 10 by using a Microsoft account or a local account.

Each user account has an associated user account picture that is shown on the Welcome screen, at the top of the Start menu, on app and browser window title bars when you’re signed in, and in other places. If you sign in to Windows with your Microsoft account credentials, Windows displays the user account picture that is associated with that account. If you sign in by using a local account, you can associate a picture with that account on that computer. Until you associate a picture with either type of account, the computer account displays a placeholder account picture (a head-and-shoulders icon) wherever the account picture would usually appear.

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Clicking your user account button displays all active user accounts

You can easily add or change an account picture, regardless of whether you’re signed in with a Microsoft account or a local account, on any computer you sign in to.

Previous versions of Windows provided many standard user account picture options, depicting a variety of animals, sports, and interests. Windows 10 doesn’t provide any account pictures, but does offer the option of taking a picture if your computer has a webcam. You can use .bmp, .gif, .jpg, or .png files as user account pictures. The original image can be any size or shape, but Windows 10 displays the user account picture as a circle, so when selecting a picture, keep in mind that it will be cropped to a square and then have its corners cut off.

All Microsoft accounts have passwords. If you sign in to Windows or any website with your Microsoft account credentials, you use the same password wherever you sign in. (The user account name and password, together, are referred to as credentials.) Local accounts can have or not have passwords. If you don’t store or access personal information on your computer, a password is not essential. However, it’s never a bad idea to have a password. You can add a password (and an optional password hint) to a local account or change the password, and you can change your Microsoft password. Changing your Microsoft account password changes it across all computers, sites, and services.

If you’re going to take the trouble to protect your user account with a password, choose one that no one is likely to guess. A strong password is at least eight characters long, does not contain words that might be in the dictionary or names, and contains at least one uppercase character, one lowercase character, one number, and one punctuation mark.

When you assign a password to a local user account, you can also save a password hint. Windows displays the password hint on the Welcome screen after you enter an incorrect password.

Each computer user manages his or her own account picture and password. The information in this section assumes that you’re working with your own account.

To display the Your Account settings pane

  1. Do either of the following:

    • At the top of the Start menu, click your user account button, and then click Change account settings.
    • In the Settings window, click Accounts, and then click Your account.

    The content of the Your Account pane varies based on whether you’re signed in with a Microsoft account or a local user account, and what pictures have been associated with the account on the computer.

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    Account management panes for local and Microsoft accounts

To set or change your user account picture

  1. If you plan to use an existing picture, consider reviewing and editing the photo before proceeding, to ensure that it displays well in the available space.
  2. Display the Your account settings pane.
  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you want to select a previously used image, click the image in the Your picture section.
    • If you want to select an image that isn’t shown in the Your picture section, click the Browse button. Then in the Open dialog box, locate and select the image you want to use, and click the Choose picture button.

    • If you want to capture an image, in the Create your picture section, click the Camera button. (If Windows Camera prompts you to permit it to access your location, click Yes or No.) Adjust the camera, yourself, and your background as necessary, and then click the camera icon to take the picture.

To set or change your Microsoft account picture

  1. Display the Your account settings pane.
  2. Click Manage my Microsoft account to display your Microsoft Account home page.
  3. Click Your info on the menu bar, or click your account picture.
  4. On the Your info page, do one of the following:

    • To initially set the picture, click New picture.
    • To change the existing picture, click Change picture, and then on the next page, click the New picture button.
  5. In the Open dialog box, locate and select the picture you want to use, and then click Open.
  6. On the Your info page, drag any of the picture handles to resize the circle, and drag the circle to change the part of the picture that is displayed. The crosshairs mark the center of the picture.

To add a local user account password

  1. In the Settings window, click Accounts, and then click Sign-in options.
  2. In the Password section, click Add.
  3. On the Create a password page, enter and reenter the password you want to use. Enter a password hint if you want to be able to display one from the Welcome page, and then click Next.
  4. Click Finish.

To change a local user account password

  1. In the Settings window, click Accounts, and then click Sign-in options.
  2. In the Password section, click Change.
  3. On the Change your password page, enter your current password, and then click Next.
  4. On the second Change your password page, enter and reenter the password you want to use. Enter a password hint if you want to be able to display one from the Welcome page, and then click Next.

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    There are no reuse restrictions on local passwords

  5. On the final Change your password page, click Finish.

To change a Microsoft account password

  1. Display the Sign-in options settings page.
  2. In the Password section, click Change.
  3. On the Please reenter your password page that displays your Microsoft account name, enter the current password for the Microsoft account, and then click Sign in.
  4. On the Change your Microsoft account password page, enter your current password and then enter and reenter the new password.

    If you’re uncertain whether you entered the password correctly, press and hold the eye icon at the right end of the input box to temporarily display the password.

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    Hold down the eye icon to display the password

  5. When you’re satisfied with the new password, click Next.
  6. On the page confirming the password change, click Finish.

    In addition to the onscreen confirmation, Microsoft sends a confirmation email message to your Microsoft account email address and to any email addresses that you provided as secondary contacts for the Microsoft account.