Difference Between Local User Accounts and Local System Accounts?

Software & Operating Systems

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Difference Between Local User Accounts and Local System Accounts?

  • Here's the story.
    I have an xps 400 with Windows xp Media Center with 4 user accounts. 
    I found some of my son's files in the Shared Documents folder that I wanted to move to his My Documents folder in his account.  Trouble is, his My Documents folder is not visible if you right click and go to the 'send to' list and it's not visible in Windows Explorer either.  All of the other accouts have My Documant folders that are visible in both places.  So, that's weird, right?
    So after considerable looking around I ran Bel Arc Advisor an ap that tells you your complete system configuration. 
    According to Bel Arc Advisor,  this is how the accounts are set up.

    local user accounts

    Administrator (admin)

    Brian             (admin) 



    local system accounts


    Help Assistant

     Sean             (admin)


    So the differnece is that Sean's account is a local system account and all the others are local user accounts

    From what I can find out (and for the most part this kind of account is not mentioned anywhere) but from what I pieced together this seems to be a kind of super user with even more priviledges than and administrator account, is this right?

    I couldn't find a way to change his 'system' account to a 'user' account (is there one?) so I decided to just create a new account for him and delete his system account. 

    can't do that either, if i go to conntrol panel>user accounts>create a new account;  the only options it gives me is either an administrator or a limited account and if I do create a new account, it  creates a new local system account (?!)

    So what is the difference?  How do I change a local system account to a local user account or how can I create new local user accounts as opposed to local system accounts?


    EDIT;  If I go to C: Documants and settings, his folder is visible but if I click on it, I get 

    "C: Documents and Settings/Sean is not accessable  access is dennied"  mesaage.


    Message Edited by Brian K. on 12-30-200611:39 PM

    Message Edited by Brian K. on 12-31-200612:12 AM

  • System Accounts are just that, installed there by default whne the OS is loaded and should be disabled.  Puzzling how that one Account ended up as a System Account, as it should be a Local User Account.
    Just recreate it as a Local user Account.
  • thanks for the reply jmwills. I had tried to create a new account for him by going to

    control panel >user accounts >create a new account:

    but it created a new system account (according to Bel Arc Advisor) is there a way to confirm that in Windows?
  • Go to Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Local User and Groups and create the new account there (Local Users Folder)  Right Click that folder to Add new user
  • thanks again. This now appears to be a bug in Bel Arc Advisor. When I run BAC from my user, it shows my son's account as a local system account, but when I ran it from his user, it showed his account under the local users group.

    In Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Local User and Groups, there is no way to distinguish if an account is a system account or not. Is there a reliable way to check this?

    note; the rerason I couldn't see his My Documents folder in Windows Explorer is that he had made it 'private' (should have guessed)