Why can't my computer handle having multiple user accounts?

Episode 1078 (1:15:18)

Michael from Niagara Falls

Michael tried creating a separate, limited user account for running Windows XP, but his computer crashes and freezes whenever he creates another account. He has tried reformatting and reinstalling Windows several times, but still has this issue. Michael is wondering if he could enable the hidden administrator account in Windows, and just toggle that back and forth between admin and limited.

Leo says trying to mess with that hidden admin account is a bad idea, and he really should keep that account separate. Leo suspects there's a security program that's possibly preventing it. Leo says the best advice is to get a new computer. The second best advice is to just install Linux instead.

Leo recommends following these tips for using Windows XP securely:

  • Install Windows XP's final update.
  • Use Windows XP as a "limited user."
  • By default, user accounts in Windows are "administrator," meaning the user can install programs and make system changes. Downgrading the account will prevent programs that may be malicious from getting access to the system.

  • Use the Google Chrome browser instead of Internet Explorer.
  • Chrome is free, and far more secure since it's being kept up to date by Google. Mozilla's Firefox is another alternative.

  • Make sure all programs are patched and up to date.
  • If you're using an older version of Microsoft Office, make sure the security settings are set high.

  • Only download software from original vendors.
  • Don't download programs from a third party download site; make sure it's from the actual source.

  • Don't click on links in email.
  • These links may be deceiving, and malicious links could appear to be coming from someone you know.

  • Keep antivirus software up to date.
  • Connect to the internet through a router.
  • This will act as a hardware firewall, which will protect against attacks.

  • Disconnect Windows XP from the internet.
  • If you don't need to be online with your Windows XP computer, then cutting it off from the outside world is highly recommended.