Changing Login Credentials for Shared Computers

by Eric Geier [Published on 17 Feb. 2009 / Last Updated on 17 Oct. 2008]

How to change the username and password used to access a shared resource.

When accessing the resources of shared computers in Windows using My Network Places or Network, Windows first uses the credentials of the account you are currently logged onto for the username and password values of the shared computer you try to access. If the current account credentials do not match what is required to access the shared computer’s resources, Windows prompts you to enter another username and password, which can be saved for further logins to the shared computer.

This scheme Windows uses, however, can cause problems if you want to login to a shared computer with a username and password different of the Windows account you’re currently logged onto or if you want to change the credentials you previously saved for logging onto the shared computer. This is because when you shared the resources, you may have specified specific Permissions, or in other words you granted/denied different types of access for folders based on the connecting parties’ login credentials.

The good news is that you can change the username and password Windows uses to access shared computers; here is how:

  1. Click Start>Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, click the User Accounts (in XP) or User Accounts and Family Safety (in Vista) category, and then click User Accounts.
  3. In XP, click the Windows account you’re currently logged into  and on the next screen under the Related Tasks pane on the left side of the account settings window, click the Manage my network passwords link. In Vista, click the Manage your network passwords link. The Stored User Names and Passwords dialog box should appear.
  4. If you already see an entry for the computer on the network you want to change the login account for (listed as the Computer Name in the list box), select it and click the Remove button; otherwise continue with the next step.
  5. Click the Add button. The Logon Information Properties dialog box (in XP) should appear or Stored Credentials Properties (in Vista).
  6. In the Server field (in XP) or Log on to (Vista), enter the Computer Name of the computer on the network you want to change the login account for.
  7. In the User name field, enter a Windows account name that’s authorized to access the computer on the network, using the appropriate format; for example computernam\accoutname.
  8. In the Password field, enter the password for the Windows account that’s being used.
  9. In Vista, click the A Windows logon credential radio button.
  10. Click OK.

You may have to Log Out of your Windows account and log back in for the changes to take place.

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