| By Scott Dunn |
Vista users love to complain about the intrusiveness of User Account Control, but it does provide a degree of security.
If you’re using Windows XP, I’ll show you what steps you can take to give yourself a similar level of safety.
Protect your system from attacks
One of the most common complaints about Windows Vista is its frequent requests for confirmation. Vista User Account Control (UAC) feature pops up when you launch certain kinds of programs, attempt to customize the Start menu, configure parental controls, install applications or drivers, and so on.
But annoying or not, this feature provides important safeguards against intrusions by viruses and malicious users. UAC is also an important component of Internet Explorer 7 in Vista. It allows IE 7 to run in “protected mode,” in which the browser lacks the rights to install start-up programs or directly reconfigure Windows.
If you use Windows XP, you can’t add all the protections afforded by UAC, but you can take steps to limit the damage malware can do.
Don’t run as administrator all the time
Most people using Windows XP routinely log in administrator privileges. At first glance, this makes sense — why wouldn’t you want to have all the rights necessary to control your own system?
The answer is that doing so also gives unlimited access to every program you run. The single best way to simulate user account control in Windows XP is to run as an ordinary user. Don’t worry; I’ll show you how to get around the limitations when you really need to.