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Setup Windows 98 For The Entire Family


by John S. Krill 

One Computer, Several Users

If you’re reading this article then you know you have a problem. Each member of the family wants to set up Windows 98 for themselves. One family member’s screensaver is another’s nightmare, etc.

To avoid this we will create a Profile for each member of the family. Each member of the family will have their own Start Menu and Desktop. So lets get started.


Having a separate Log On for each member does not prevent any user from changing anything they want. All users still have access to the entire computer and can delete, move, and modify anything they want.

A little History

If your Windows computer has no users then items such as Start Menu, Desktop, etc. will be in separate directories under the Windows directory. Once you create your first user all information for that user, and all others you create, will be in the Windows/Profiles directory.

When we create our users we will copy all items, such as the Start Menu, Desktop, etc., from our original non-user setup. Make sure your system is setup so that each user has a good starting point for customizing their desktop.

Enable User Profiles

To enable user profiles go to: My Computer >> Control Panel >> Double-click the Password Icon >> Select the ‘User Profiles’ tab. Select 'Users can customize their preferences and desktop setting.' Also check both options in 'User profile settings.' Click ‘OK.’

Lets Get Started

We’ll setup all the users at the same time. First go to >> My Computer >> Control Panel and double-click on the Users Icon. To setup each user click the Add button and from the various panels give a user name, password (I recommend that you not setup any passwords the first time through,) and lastly specify what items will be unique for each user (Figure 1.) You should also select "Create copies of the current items and their content." Remember the desktop when you had no users? That’s the desktop that will be copied to each users profile. If you select "Create new items to save space" you will have, virtually, a vacant desktop. Finish up and create the next user until all users are setup. Now each member can log-on and create a Windows environment that meets their needs.

Once each member of the family has a Profile they can log-on and do their thing. To go to a different user or log off the current user go to the Start Menu and select Log Off User. Where User is the name of the currently logged on member of the family. Confirm you want to log off and at the log on screen enter a new log on.

Log Off

Always log off when you are through. This prevents another member of the family from using your Desktop.


Once a user is logged on they can change their password. To do so go to: My Computer >> Control Panel >> double-click on the Password Icon and click on "Change Windows Password" and enter your old and new passwords. That’s it.

You can also go to the Users Icon in the Control Panel and select a User and Change the Password. You still need to know the old password to change to a new one.

Not Just For Family Members

Setting up different profiles can also help in separating home from office use. Or you may have different profiles for the different applications. Whatever.

Limiting the Number of Users

If you want to prevent people from inadvertently creating multiple log-on names for themselves, use Microsoft Family Logon. It presents a list of all previously created log-on names for that PC. Users must choose from that list and can't create a new log-on name. To set it up, open the Network Control Panel and click on the Add button under the Configuration tab. Double-click on Client, then select Microsoft from the left pane and double-click on Microsoft Family Logon in the right. Under the Configuration tab, click on the down arrow next to the Primary Network Logon field and select Microsoft Family Logon from the drop-down menu. Click OK.