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If you are troubleshooting a problem in Windows and you’ve tried everything else, the last resort may be fixing it by creating a new user account. There is a right and a wrong way to go about this.
Such problems could include your Windows 8 apps no longer launching and working properly, which is what I experienced or a corrupted user account file. A handful of different issues are best solved by creating a new user account.
Since this is a bit of a hassle, I highly recommend you are certain it is the only way to fix the problem. Once you have determined this, be sure to follow the steps in this article to ensure you do it the right way with the least amount of headaches possible.
Always Back Up Your Data
This basic step is the most crucial. Humans are prone to making mistakes, and we certainly know computers aren’t perfect either. If something goes wrong, your data shouldn’t be at stake. Back up your files and create a system restore point. These two things go a long way in saving you time, frustration and tears. Check out our guide on the 6 safest ways to backup and restore your files in Windows 7 & 8.
Creating a New User Account
To create a new account, open search (or tap Windows key) and type user. You’ll see Add, delete, and manage other user accounts. This should take you to Other Accounts (shown below). Now click Add an account.
The next steps here are important to follow – don’t just blow through them following Microsoft’s “recommended steps“.
Instead of entering an email address, look towards the bottom of the screen and click the gray Sign in without a Microsoft account, known as a Local Account.
Again, Microsoft is a bit persistent in convincing you to create an online account, but you’ll see at the bottom of the screen three buttons. Click the middle one titled Local Account. Then on the next screen click Finish.
Your new account will only have Standard User permissions. If you want it to be an Administrator, follow these additional steps. Back at the Other accounts page, click the new user account and then Edit.
From here you’ll have a dropdown menu with the option to change the account from a Standard user to an Administrator.
Transferring User Account Files from Old to New
You’ve created your new account and the problem you were experiencing is solved. OK, but now you need to make it like your previous account. The desktop wallpaper and theme are the easy parts that can be quickly tweaked, but what about program settings and all your personal files? When doing this from two different computers, you can use the Windows Easy Transfer tool, but transferring these files on the same machine can be done via manual copy and paste.
First, make sure your hidden files and folders are displayed as your program settings reside in the AppData folder, often hidden from view.
Once in your old User Account folder, click View and see if there is a Hidden Items checkbox (labeled with a 1 in the top image). If for some reason you don’t see it, or it doesn’t display all the hidden folders, follow number 2 in the top image by clicking Options and Change folder and search options. Click the View tab, find Hidden files and folders and check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
Keeping your old user account folder open, open a new Windows Explorer window and go to your new user account folder. You can easily find it by typing in C:\Users.
Select all (Ctrl+A) this folder’s contents and delete it (press Delete key).
Return to the old user account folder, copy all files and folders (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C), then paste them in the new user account folder (Ctrl+V).
This will take some time – go refill your coffee, make a sandwich, or continue with some other work that won’t bog your computer down too much.
Changing Your Username
If you wanted to have the same account name with your new account as you did with your old one, you probably weren’t able to do so due to the old account already having the name. Once you are all settled into your new account, with your old one removed, you can change the account name pretty easily.
The setting is found in User Accounts under the Control Panel and can be accessed by entering control.exe userpasswords into the Run box (Windows Key + R) or by typing Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\User Accounts in the address field of a Windows Explorer window. Click Change your account name and enter the new one you desire, shown in the image below.
A Fresh Start Without All the Work
Hopefully, the new account has solved the problem and you won’t have to do a reset, restore, refresh or reinstall of Windows.
Are there other Windows issues you have had or know about where creating a new user account miraculously solves the problem? We want to know about them! Share in the comments.