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Windows 7: Win7 User Account Confusion


29 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 
Win7 User Account Confusion

Hi all. Just joined the forum after getting a new computer with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 on it. I think I may have botched setting up the User Accounts. I've searched the Internet for answers, found this forum, and read through numerous User Account posts plus read many of the forum's tutorials. But I didn't find an answer to my specific "problem". So...here goes....

My computer came with 5 User Accounts shown under the C:\Users folder. Three of them had the "locked" padlock icon shown...All Users, Default User, and James. Two were "unlocked"...Default and Public.

The James folder (locked) was created by the manufacturer of the computer, and contained the "normal" items and folders you would expect to see under it. "James" was also the default User Profile that loaded when the computer booted.

I created a New User profile for myself (I'll call it "John Doe" here instead of using my real name) and gave it Administrator rights. When I rebooted the computer, I had the option then of "changing users" to either "James" or "John Doe". BUT...my "John Doe" User folder never showed up under the Users tree. That confused me, and I went on a mission in Windows 7 to try and "fix" that. But I think I may have really messed things up before I got "done".

To make a long story short(er), I played around with the "Share" and "Take Ownership" options in Windows 7 (and a few other things I probably shouldn't have without understanding them better first), and now this is what I have:

1. The same 5 "user" folders under the default "Users" tree, but "James" is now "unlocked" (there is no padlock icon on it anymore). Additionally, when I highlight the folder, on the bottom of Windows Explorer it says "29 items State: Shared" with a little icon showing two "people" (I figure that icon is a "shared" graphic). BUT...there is still no "John Doe" user shown in the tree.

2. In Windows Explorer when I expand the "Desktop" tree, there IS a (my) "John Doe" folder. When I expand that, it appears to be the exact same structure and contents of the "James" folder under Users. It also shows the "29 items Status: Shared", the same as the "James" folder from #1 above. But I'm not positive if EVERYTHING in both folders is the exact same thing.

3. When I select "Start\Shutdown\Switch Users", the ONLY user that shows is (my) "John Doe" with Administrator rights. There is no "James" user (or any other user) to select.

I'm pretty sure I hosed something up messing around with the Share and Take Ownership options. I may have actually "Took Ownership" of the "James" user with my "John Doe" user at one point. It was a bad night, and I was tired!

Before I screw anything else up in Windows 7 myself, I think I've reached the point where I better get some advice. What I'd like to do is this, if possible:

1. Get rid of the "James" user...but ONLY if it won't cause me to hose up the computer (worse?). I'd like to make sure that I don't lose anything that might be important in either the "James" or (my) "John Doe" folders. But I'm not sure if I can even do that safely now. When I select "Manage User Accounts", "James" isn't even shown as a User Account anymore. Short of right-clicking on the "James" User folder in Windows Explorer and selecting DELETE (which I'm not sure is a good idea!), I can't even find a way to remove the "James" user account anymore.

2. Get any "Sharing" and "Ownership" rights back where they belong.

3. End up with "John Doe" (me) as the "primary" User Account, with Administrator rights.

I dominoed everything so bad while trying to sort this out myself, I'm not even sure right now where to START to reverse everything I may have screwed up. If anybody can offer a walk-through for me to straighten this mess out I created, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks for any feedback. I'll wait for your reply, and I realize it may take some time before you can start typing a reply because you are laughing so hard.

Rick


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Jan 2010   #2

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE
 
 

It wasn't exactly the same, because I didn't have a James account to deal with, but I fouled up my own user account with Takeownership when I first installed Windows 7, and I couldn't straighten it out, so I deleted the account and created a new one. That solved my problem, but it sounds as though your's goes deeper. It may be necessary to do a reinstall, or at least a System Restore to prior to the changes that you made...if possible.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #3

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Sounds like you renamed the "Friendly Name" part for the James account. Renaming never gets rid of the underlying account. Rename the account back to James. Then Go to control panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Add or Remove User Accounts and click on create a new account. This will create an account under a completely new name.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


29 Jan 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

WindowsStar,

Thank you! So far, so good. I renamed "my" user account back to "James", then created a new user account for "me" with Admin rights. Both of them now show up in the "Switch Users" portion of the Start menu, and I can access both user accounts in the Control Panel User Account tools. That also solved the "different user account names" I was seeing between the Desktop tree and the Users tree in Windows Explorer. In retrospect, I do recall changing the "Friendly Name" while messing with it all before, but I forgot all about that "operator error" I did.

Couple questions yet, though. Depending on which User I log into now, I see a different number of User folders under the Users tree. With "James", there are now 6 users shown instead of the original 5 ("my" user account got added with it's own folder now). When I log in using "my" account, I only see 3 folders...Default, Public, and "me".

My new User Account is also "missing" a lot of entries in the folders like "AppData\Roaming"...many of the entries that are in the "James" account folders are not in "my" account folders. And files that would have been created and saved there from running applications (that are in "James" folders) aren't in "my" folders. I assume that was because even though I was "logged in" as "me" before, everything was just getting added to the "James" user account folders.

Is there a way to "merge" the "James" user account folders into "my" new user account folders without screwing up Windows 7 (like causing Registry errors, etc)? THEN DELETE the "James" user account? If I could get all of the stuff in the "James" folders into my NEW user account (and it would work OK), then delete the "James" user account, I'd be a happy camper.

Don't know if the above is possible, or how to do it, but gotta ask.

EDIT: Wait...I just noticed now that when I am logged in using the "James" account, there is the option under User Accounts to "change the user account name". That doesn't sound like the same thing as changing the "Friendly Name". Can I just rename the entire "James" user account to something else...an account for "me"...and have everything work OK?

EDIT 2: Never mind. I tried that, and it didn't work. I'll wait for an answer to my "merge" question.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #5

Win 7 pro 64-bit, Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FalconAF View Post
WindowsStar,

Thank you! So far, so good. I renamed "my" user account back to "James", then created a new user account for "me" with Admin rights. Both of them now show up in the "Switch Users" portion of the Start menu, and I can access both user accounts in the Control Panel User Account tools. That also solved the "different user account names" I was seeing between the Desktop tree and the Users tree in Windows Explorer. In retrospect, I do recall changing the "Friendly Name" while messing with it all before, but I forgot all about that "operator error" I did.

Couple questions yet, though. Depending on which User I log into now, I see a different number of User folders under the Users tree. With "James", there are now 6 users shown instead of the original 5 ("my" user account got added with it's own folder now). When I log in using "my" account, I only see 3 folders...Default, Public, and "me".

My new User Account is also "missing" a lot of entries in the folders like "AppData\Roaming"...many of the entries that are in the "James" account folders are not in "my" account folders. And files that would have been created and saved there from running applications (that are in "James" folders) aren't in "my" folders. I assume that was because even though I was "logged in" as "me" before, everything was just getting added to the "James" user account folders.

Is there a way to "merge" the "James" user account folders into "my" new user account folders without screwing up Windows 7 (like causing Registry errors, etc)? THEN DELETE the "James" user account? If I could get all of the stuff in the "James" folders into my NEW user account (and it would work OK), then delete the "James" user account, I'd be a happy camper.

Don't know if the above is possible, or how to do it, but gotta ask.

EDIT: Wait...I just noticed now that when I am logged in using the "James" account, there is the option under User Accounts to "change the user account name". That doesn't sound like the same thing as changing the "Friendly Name". Can I just rename the entire "James" user account to something else...an account for "me"...and have everything work OK?

EDIT 2: Never mind. I tried that, and it didn't work. I'll wait for an answer to my "merge" question.
So, first off, you probably have hidden folders enabled. go to my computer, and from the right upper corner drop-down panel select folder options. Then click on show all folders. As for your other question, you might want to copy all the stuff from "user A" to "user B"'s home folder, then delete the user. You cant however transfer appdata, that will stay there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Follow Coolness' instructions. Merging the accounts can be done but it is NOT easy. You have files and registry entries and it gets complicated. If you just want the files and folders that is a lot easier. You can use a file compare program like Beyond Compare (www.scootersoftware.com). Log on as James and then compare \Users\James with \Users\John (you said John Doe above). You can compare the Contacts, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Links, Music, Pictures, Saved Games, Video, etc. Becareful because you don't want or need to compare any of the following: Any file starting with ntuser.*, Application Data, Cookies, Local Settings, My Documents, NetHood, PrintHood, Recent, SendTo, Start Menu and Templates. Most of those are JUNCTION points and it can get confusing. Most of the time you will not be able to access them anyway. After you have COPIED the files you need. Don't Log off James and Switch Users to John. Check to see if you have what you need. If not you can switch back and look for what is missing. Once you have COPIED all the files and you are happy with the John account (I would work with that account for a few weeks just to be sure) you can detele it. Again be sure you have everything then you can delete the James Account and all the folders associated with it.

Let us know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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