Creating and managing user accounts in Microsoft Windows SBS 2011

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(For more resources on Microsoft, see here.)

A user account or object in a Windows Server domain is a security mechanism that allows a person to access the resources of the network by “logging in” to the network. Doing so with the correct credentials automatically provides the user with the configured rights to network resources such as files, folders, printers, and so on.

Most importantly, Windows SBS 2011 Standard is just like any Windows Server in that it leverages the power of Active Directory to manage and maintain these user objects. The major difference that Windows SBS 2011 Standard brings with it is that the majority of these tasks can be accomplished via wizards. Using the wizards not only reduces the time taken to administer a Windows SBS 2011 Standard network, but it also always produces a consistent result. For these reasons alone every Windows SBS 2011 Standard administrator should always use the wizards when administrating their network, especially when working with user accounts.

 

Creating, editing, and deleting user accounts

It is important that you always use the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console and wizards when you create, edit, or delete any users. The main reason is that the wizards do a number of things behind the scenes to ensure everything works correctly on the Windows SBS 2011 Standard system. Creating users manually via native Active Directory tools may result in features not being enabled. The wizards are there to do all the hard work and create the accounts for you in Active Directory; so don’t fear they are doing something different, they aren’t. They are there to make an administrators’ life easier, so use them every time. This cannot be stressed strongly enough.

To create a new user:

  1. Run the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console.
  2. Select the Users and Groups icon.
  3. Select the Users tab:

    (Move the mouse over the image to enlarge.)

  4. You should now see a list of any existing users and you should also see the option Add a new user account link under the Tasks section to the right. Click this option to create a new user.
  5. The Add a New User Account wizard now runs. Enter the details for the user. Also select the role for that user from the drop-down list. When complete, click the Next button to continue.
  6. At the next screen you will be prompted to enter the user’s password. It is important to note that you cannot progress past this screen until you have entered a password that conforms to both length and complexity requirements. These requirements can be modified in the system if required. Once you have entered a suitable password, the Add user account button will be available. Click this to continue.
  7. The wizard will now run and create a network account for the user, create a home folder for that user, an e-mail account, set appropriate quotas, and send a Welcome e-mail to the user’s inbox. When complete, click the Finish button:

You should now see the user you created appear in the list of Users.

To edit an existing user account, simply:

  1. Run the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console.
  2. Select the Users and Groups icon.
  3. Select the Users tab.
  4. Select the user you wish to edit from the list of users that is displayed.
  5. From the Tasks list on the right, select Edit user account properties.
  6. You shouldnow see all the properties of the user displayed in a window, as shown in the next screenshot. Simply select the desired section from the left and make any changes to the properties on the right. Click the OK button to save the changes and return to the Windows SBS 2011 Standard console:

To delete an existing user account:

  1. Run the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console.
  2. Select the Users and Groups icon.
  3. Select the Users tab.
  4. Select the user you wish to delete from the list of users that is displayed.
  5. On the right-hand side, under the Tasks pane select Remove user account.
  6. You’ll be prompted to confirm that you wish to delete the selected account. By default doing so will also remove that user’s mailbox and shared folder. If you don’t desire this, simply uncheck these options before clicking the Yes button to proceed:

  7. The selected account will then be removed from the system and you should receive a confirmation that the process completed successfully. When this is displayed simply click the OK button. This will take you to the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console and you should notice that the selected user no longer appears in the list.

 

Assigning permissions to users

To assign permissions to an existing user account you will need to edit that account. To do this:

  1. Run the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console.
  2. Select the Users and Groups icon.
  3. Select the Users tab.
  4. Select the user you wish to edit from the list of users that is displayed.
  5. From the Tasks list on the right, select Edit user account properties.
  6. You should now see all the properties of the user displayed in a window, as shown in the following screenshot. Simply select the desired section from the left and make any changes to the properties on the right:

  7. For example, if you wish to change the user’s rights to the files on the server, this would normally be done via the Groups option. If you select the Groups option, you will be shown a list of groups that the user belongs to. You can select an existing group and remove it or you can add a group. Adding a user to a group will automatically provide them access to whatever the group has access to.
  8. Click the OK button to save the changes and return to the Windows SBS 2011 Standard console.

You can also change the user’s permissions by changing their role on the network. In this way, you can promote or demote a user to the same level as any pre-configured user role. To make this change:

  1. Run the Windows SBS 2011 Standard Console.
  2. Select the Users and Groups icon.
  3. Select the Users tab.
  4. Select the user you wish to edit from the list of users that is displayed.
  5. From the Tasks list on the right, select Change user role for user accounts.
  6. The wizard will then prompt you to select which role you wish that user to assume, as previously shown. You can also elect to Replace user permissions or settings or Add user permissions or settings:

  7. You will then be asked to select one or more users from a list of users whose role you wish to change. Once the selection process is complete click the Change user role button.
  8. The wizard will now run and when complete you will be provided with a status window as to the success of the process. Click the Finish button to complete the process.

The user will now have either the same permissions as the role you selected, or the merged permission of the user role and the existing rights, depending on what option you selected during the process.

 

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