Is your Windows 10 user account an Administrator? Here's how to quickly find out

Before you can perform certain tasks with Windows 10, you need to be using an Administrator account.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
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The quickest way to find out your account type and work with other accounts on your Windows 10 computer.

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Windows 10 has two types of user accounts: Standard and Administrator. Standard users can perform all common daily tasks, such as run programs, surf the Web, check email, stream movies and so on. However, if you want to perform tasks that make major changes to the system, such as installing software; add, remove or change user accounts; or run elevated commands you'll need an Administrator account. If you have a computer of your own, you definitely want to own an Administrator account (otherwise, you won't be able to install any software or make important changes to it). If you share your computer with somebody you can trust, who won't make any drastic changes that could harm the system, you should make that person's account an Administrator, too.

Here's how to quickly find out if the account you're using is an Administrator or not:

  • Click on the Start button, the Start Menu will pop up.
  • Right-click the name (or icon, depending on the version Windows 10) of the current account, located at the top left part of the Start Menu, then click on Change account settings.
  • The Settings window will pop up and under the name of the account if you see the word "Administrator" then it is an Administrator account.

Now if you're indeed using an Administrator account and you want to switch another account between Standard and Administrator (you can't change an account you're currently logged into), continue with these steps on the Settings window (these options are not available if you're using a Standard account):

  • Click on Other users (or Family & other people, if you're running the latest version 1607 of Windows 10)
  • Click on the name of an account that you want to change
  • Click on Change account type and pick the type you want.
  • Click OK.

Keep in mind that generally a Standard user can't do harm to a computer, so if you want to make sure you won't accidentally cause problems for your computer, it's a good idea to make your daily use account a Standard account and use the Administrator account only when you need to make major changes to the system. In most cases, when you're using a Standard account and want to make changes that require an Administrator account (such as installing a game), you'll be prompted to enter the username and password of an Administrator account, meaning you won't need to switch accounts completely.