Description of the Guest account in Windows XP

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Article ID: 300489 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

This article describes the Guest account in Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition and in Microsoft XP Professional.

When a computer does not join to a domain, the Guest account serves several special functions that relate to security and to network shares.

You can use the User Accounts tool in Control Panel to turn off the Guest account. When you turn off the Guest account, you remove the Guest account from the Fast User Switching welcome screen. However, the Guest account is not disabled.

We do not recommend that you disable the Guest account. If you disable the Guest account, you may not be able to access network resources. Additionally, you cannot access resources on a local computer from another computer on the network.

MORE INFORMATION

Using the Guest account on the local computer

When you do not have an actual user account on the local computer, you can use the Guest account to log on to the computer. Assume that you require temporary access to a computer and that the administrator does not want to create a user account for you. In this scenario, you can use the Guest account to access the computer. When your account is disabled but is not deleted, you can also use the Guest account for temporary access.

By default, the Guest account is disabled in Windows XP Home Edition and in Windows XP Professional. In Windows XP Professional, you can enable or disable the Guest account when you log on as an Administrator. In Windows XP Home Edition, you must access the Administrator account from Safe Mode.

You can set rights and permissions for the Guest account as you would for any user account. By default, the Guest account is a member of the built-in Guests group. The Guests group lets a user log on to a workstation or to a member server. Only a member of the Administrators group can grant additional rights and any permissions to the Guests group.

When you use the Guest account to log on, the following activities apply:
  • You do not require a password.
  • You cannot install software or hardware.
  • You cannot change the Guest account type.
  • You cannot create a password for the account.
  • You cannot change the Guest account picture.
  • You cannot access the applications that have already been installed on the computer.
  • You cannot access the files in the Shared Documents folder.
  • You cannot access the files in the Guest profile.

Using the Guest account to log on to a local computer from another computer on the network

In Windows XP Home Edition, all network connections are mapped through the Guest account. If the Guest account is not enabled or if the Guest account does not have the appropriate share permissions, the connection does not work correctly. If the Guest account has sufficient share permissions, but the Guest account has not been assigned NTFS file system permissions, you can use the Guest account to connect to the local computer. However, in this scenario, you cannot access files or directories.

By default, on computers that are running Windows XP Professional and that have not joined to a domain, all incoming network connections are forced to use the Guest account. Additionally, on computers that use the simple sharing security model, the Security Properties dialog box is replaced by a simplified Shared Documents Properties dialog box.

REFERENCES

For more information about the Guest account, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300489/

Properties

Article ID: 300489 - Last Review: March 27, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbenv kbinfo KB300489

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