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  1. #1
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    Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    I understand that using a limited account for day-to-day tasks is slightly more secure than using an account with full privileges. I managed to duplicate my account to a second account by creating a temporary third account (I couldn't use the hidden Administrator account because I've lost the password <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15> ..

    I thought all was well - the settings seemed to copy across OK but when I changed the new account type to limited a lot of icons disappeared, the start menu altered and various programs (non-admin type) won't work or report errors. I changed the account type back to an administrator one and functionality was restored.

    Is there no way to copy settings from an administrator account to a limited account.? Do I have to install programs a second time - but then can I if I'm using a limited account.. Or am I having problems because I didn't use the hidden Administrator account to copy across the settings.

    Not having a good PC day today. Can anyone help?

    Thanks,

    Chris (Hunt)

  2. #2
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    The whole point of a limited account is to LIMIT what you can do with the PC. You are not supposed to be able to use programs that can change the PC settings, install new programs, etc. Whether or not you need to re-install a program for a particular user depends on the program. Some give you the option at installation time to be available for all users. Others are only designed to be used by the account under which they are installed. Still others all you need to do is copy icons. You need to check out each program.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    Hi again, Joe. I realise that I won't be able to use all the programs - but it's not system tools I'm focused on but all kinds of programs. For example, I have wordwebpro and that wouldn't work.. The desktop is different when I change to a limited user account and even the start menu. It reverts to the default Windows XP mode when I am using classic. Can't imagine why that would change. I guess as you say I'm going to have to check every program manually. A bit disappointing. I thought copying a profile would give better results.

    All the best,

  4. #4
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    In my experience there are few programs that work well from a limited user account.. Unless you have a PC with a very restricted selection of programs, I think this is bound to fail. This is very disappointing as it means that you end up having to open the computer up to all kinds of mischief in order to play a game!

    About all you can do is test each program carefully, note the ones that do work from a limited aco######, and log out / log in as appropriate depending on what you are doing.

    StuartR

  5. #5
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    The desktop & Start menu are different because each user can have their own preferences. It is setup as though each user is really a different person with different tastes not one person just trying to have a different account for daily use. Yes, you do have to check each program. Many programs were not designed with multiple users on the same machine in mind. Of those that do work in a multi-suer environment, many of the installation routines were not designed to take advantage of this.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    If you are running a top notch hardware and software firewall and AV program, a hacker is going to a hard time getting to the controls of your account.

    The REAL problem, is the renaming if the "Administrator" account to a user name. You now do NOT have a backdoor to your system. Of the machines I support, I add a passworded admin account and then hide it. This allows the system to appear to be a singe user type, which will auto login, but get me a backdoor in addition to the default admin account. I have needed this account many times.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  7. #7
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    Thanks for the replies. This thread seems to have a couple of issues..

    1. How to duplicate an account and change the privileges.
    2. How to avoid hackers.

    Regarding the first issue I duplicated an account using User Profiles (system advanced). This copied perfectly but when I changed it from an administrative account to a limited account it started acting funny. The start menu changed from classic back to the XP default. When I tried changing some settings to the start menu they wouldn't stick. The whole thing seemed flakey.

    I created a limited account from scratch and made the same changes with no problem. So it appears I just can't duplicate my old settings and change the privileges. Most of the programs I used are customized so I for see a long cold road ahead to set up a limited user account.

    Now I'm wondering about using a limited user account just for email and surfing the net. But then I wonder how this affects downloading and installing updates to programs.

    Dave, you mentioned renaming the Administrator account. I couldn't get from your post whether you think this a good idea or not. When you say hide an account do you mean at login, or are all the files hidden somehow?

    I'm wondering how many people use a limited account on a daily basis and if so how they were set up. I think I made the mistake of setting every thing up in an administrators account when I should have been installing them into a limited user's account. But then some programs don't give the choice about installing them for another account.

    I'm half tempted to keep using my administrator account as it is, but then after seeing how easily I could change the password on my hidden user account perhaps I shouldn't if I'm connecting to the web. Why can't there be an account where by to install something or change settings a password is needed. The password would give privileges for that action only. Guess this is a silly idea but the gulf between administrator account and limited account seems so great..

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    Most people run as an administrator. That does NOT mean it good or wise or safe. The problem is that you need an administrator to properly maintain the PC but when you run with administrative privileges you risk you whole machine if someone takes control remotely. You do not need administrative privilieges for day-to-day work. Also, remember that if you do not physically control the machine you do not have control.

    It is not a good idea to rename the builtin administrator account. You should assign a password to it. And as Dave says have yet another account with adminitrative privileges that is hidden from your normal login. Then you can run as a limited user. You can use RunAs to install software and perform olther machine maintenance not available to a limited user.

    If you are going to use a limited account it is best to plan for this from the start so you can test software installations, make adjustments, configure the system correctly, and just generally organize your normal activities around the capabilities of each account.

    If you have a software firewall, a router, up-to-date anti-virus, various malware prevention-detection-removal utilities you are likely to be OK running with administrative privileges. Check Windows HELP for more information about RunAS for running with different privileges.


    Joe
    Joe

  9. #9
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    Thanks Joe. Just to be clear, a hidden account is still visible in the documents and settings folder? You are just talking about hiding the account at log on? Currently I'm thinking of staying with the admin account but reading up on using a limited account and possibly trying that approach next time I upgrade /change my PC.

    Chris

  10. #10
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    Re: Duplicating Accounts (XP Pro SP2)

    "It is not a good idea to rename the built in administrator account", is what I meant. Also this can ONLY be do using the Pro version.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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