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How to add, manage user accounts on a Chromebook

Just like any other computer, a Chromebook allows you to add multiple users, some with limited privileges.

The log-in screen of a Chromebook with only one account. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Setting up a Chromebook for the first time is an uncomplicated affair. You need only a Google account to sign in, after which your current Chrome settings (assuming you're a Chrome user) are synced to the device and away you go.

In addition to a painless setup process for the device owner, Google also makes setting up additional accounts a straightforward exercise.

Adding users

Log-in options on a Chromebook. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Standard user

Adding an additional user with full use privileges to a Chrome OS device is done by clicking on the "+ Add User" text on the bottom left of the log-in screen. The new user will also need to use a Google account to log in to the device.

Supervised user

A supervised account is ideal for families who want to train a watchful eye on a child's Internet activities. A Google account is not required for this account, as you're asked to set up a username and password. After adding the account you will need to visit in order to set limitations to the sites and services the user can access, including approving requests by the user for you to grant access to additional sites.

After clicking on "+ Add User" on the log-in screen you'll find an option to add a supervised user on the right of the log-in prompt. Click on the link and follow the prompts.

Guest Mode

This feature requires no additional setup or management. You only need to click on "Browse as Guest" on the log-in screen to use it. Any guest user will then have full access to Chrome, where history, cookies, and bookmarks will be forever forgotten after the guest browsing session ends.

If Guest Mode isn't an available option, you'll need to enable it using the device owners account. Launch Chrome and enter "chrome://settings" into the address bar. At the bottom of the page you'll find options to manage user accounts where you can then enable guest mode.

Deleting user accounts

Deleting a user account also takes little effort. When on the log-in screen highlight (click on) the user profile you'd like to remove, and then you should see a small icon in the upper-right corner of the photo. Clicking on the icon will reveal account details, including the option to remove the account.

You may notice there's no way to remove the device's owner account. This is done to eliminate any accidental deletion of the account that controls basically anything and everything that can possibly happen on the device. To remove an owner account you'll need to completely reset your Chromebook.

For more Chromebook how-to content, be sure to check out this page dedicated to all things Chrome OS.