Making and setting up multiple users on a Windows PC is great for using a shared computer. If you and your family share one desktop, this is a great way to ensure that each person’s settings, apps, programs, files, stay locked from others’ use. You know the feeling when your daughter decides to set all the wallpapers and themes to pink, and it simply hurts your eyes? Setting up multiple users keeps the peace in shared PC use that way.
But there are other uses for multiple users on a Windows PC, which you could use to organize your files, your workflow, and possibly even keep a saner work-life balance.
Of course, you can probably use Windows 10’s Virtual Desktops and Task View, but these kludges may help blot out distractions better, among other uses.
Keep Your Work And Personal Life Separate
Facebook and other forms of social media are growing distractions nowadays. While you could install plugins and other apps that could help you block Facebook and other distracting websites for a certain amount of time, there’s nothing quite like the psychological delineation or boundaries of having specific profiles for personal or work use.
Having a separate user set for Work will let you keep all work-related apps on that profile. If you’re a graphic designer, all your tools could be kept on your Work User. On the other hand, your Personal profile may have a “lighter” profile with a minimum of a browser, games, media players and other entertainment apps. This helps your PC to run leaner and lighter, too. Just make sure to hit Restart when shifting profiles, and not just “Log Out,” so that apps won’t use up resources.
Having separate profiles for Work and Personal use will help you focus. Just be very disciplined about your use for the Work profile. The restrictions may help you focus on the task at hand.
It also helps keep your downtimes saner: In your Personal profile, you should also ban using work-related apps such as email, compilers, graphic design tools, unless you’re making an eCard for your mom. This way, downtimes stay as downtimes, with you getting the maximum rest that you need.
Keep the distractions of friends popping up to chat on your Work profile, while you keep the distractions of work popping up via work emails, or you fiddling with your projects and to-do’s while you stay on your Personal profile.
Add A Bit Of Sanity To Your Day As A Freelancer
Freelancers juggle multiple clients, and some clients require desktop monitoring software such as HubStaff, TimeDoctor, RescueTime, HiveDesk, or Upwork’s monitoring app. Because of this, freelancers have to ensure that their desktop environments are free of programs that aren’t work-related. To some employers, this could mean that their remote workers are allowing their distractions to eat into their workdays.
Creating a User specifically for working with certain clients will help you keep a distraction-free workspace while maintaining a great impression with your clientele. When they see that screenshots of your work hours with them are streamlined to the tasks they set for you, and the desktop is basically free of other apps or websites, the overall impression could be that of how focused and productive you are. Also, going back to the previous section, a focused and distraction-free workspace helps streamline your day and eliminate the time-suck of getting hung up on, say, Facebook, or panda pictures.
Isolate Apps And Malware
If you’re an adventurous PC user and you like trying out new apps, hacks, and even things like emulators, or if your work requires you to download and use certain apps, having other User Profiles on your PC will help you isolate the install before you use it system-wide.
This way, if there’s a malware outbreak, you could just nuke the User profile and all the files in it. Unless it’s a rootkit-type of malware, using another User Profile as a sandbox of sorts will help you limit the malware exposure just to one User Profile.
Other Browser Profiles, Dual-Booting Other OS’s
If your multi-tasking is limited to browser use, you could also create multiple Chrome profiles instead. This would save you the trouble and the drama of switching Profiles, if you find that a little too cumbersome, and if you don’t need an extreme way to isolate distractions.
You could also opt to dual-boot another OS, such as Ubuntu, with your Windows installation. Not only will this create another workspace for you to use, this will also give you another type of OS to play with. While you won’t be able to sandbox Windows apps via Ubuntu, you can open flash drives, SD Cards, and other removable media on Ubuntu, especially if you suspect that these contain malware. This is also another way to sandbox files and keep malware from infecting your PC.
If you want to try dual-booting Ubuntu on your PC, there’s also a way to do that without needing to partition your drive, or risking a wipeout of your Windows installation: Use Wubi. You may want to read this review before you take a plunge: A Mac User’s Experience of Using Linux (Ubuntu)
Whether you use another User Profile as a way to keep the work-life balance at an optimum, or as a sandbox for your software trials and installs, it’s still, no doubt, a very useful kludge that addresses some PC needs.
There could be other kludges and hacks that we haven’t thought of, using multiple users on Windows. Care to share? Send them in via email, or post in the comments below!