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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Derby, United Kingdom
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    When I first started using Windows, the advice was to use a Restricted User account for most purposes, and only use a password protected Administrator account when installing or un-installing software or making configuration changes, and this I have done using Windows ME and then Windows XP.
    However, my current IT Consultant seems surprised that I did this.
    I have also found problems with many utilities programs such as those that remove temporary files and internet caches, that will not run at all if they do not have Administrator rights, but only work on the files of the User who is logged in.
    I recently found that I had by mistake been using a non-password protected Administrator account for general browsing under Windows XP for several weeks (having changed the rights to run a utility, and forgotten to switch it back), but AVG had not been reporting any malware or other problems. I've had a new machine running Windows 7 for about a month, and have only used an Administrator account, as that is the way my Consultant set it up, and Kaspersky doesn't seem to have found any problems.
    Do other members use Restricted/Standard User accounts, and do you consider they are necessary with a hardware firewall in the router and a good internet security suite?

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 1,125 Times in 1,048 Posts
    Depends where you are.
    In the corporate environment I have a "no admin rights" policy for all users, including IT support staff. This limits the mess users could create if they install software / viruses.
    At home I run as admin but I have a good software firewall and scan every file I download before even considering running it. And I stay away fro pr0n sites. ;-))

    Admin rights on your own machine are fine as long as you backup regularly and practice safe hex.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanked 38 Times in 34 Posts
    I always run as an account within the administrators group. I have done this since NT 3.5. At one point, when setting up a common PC for my family (when Windows XP first came out), I made every account except mine a normal user account. After I found out that too many things just would not work (Excel 2000, of all things, refused to run), I gave up and since then everyone in the family has their account in the administrators group.

    Note that I say administrators group. Not the administrator account itself. I keep track of that account's password but never use it for anything.

    One of the things that MS attempted to do with UAC (in Vista and now Win7) is to reduce your rights (i.e., take away admin privileges) until you actually need them and then ask for permission. In a way this is not that much different from Linux where you never run as "root" (the admin account) until you need to run as admin at which point Linux asks you for the password. Though having used both, Linux seems to handle this a lot more seamlessly than Windows does. Either that, or I am just used to Linux asking for the admin credentials at times.

    In my corporate environment my account is in the administrators group on my laptop and on my old desktop. If it was not, I would always be working from home, and I would smuggle my laptop in to work. But then I am a developer and most of the things I do required admin access. Though I do know of developers in privacy-sensitive corporate environment (health care, banking) who do not have admin privileges on their machines. But those developers keep the system admins very busy since the system admins have privileges that the developer don't have yet need constantly. I'm amazed at times that they ever get anything done; the developers there have much more patience than I have.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Polk County, Florida
    Thanked 451 Times in 357 Posts
    I strongly advise against running routinely as a member of the Administrators Group. On my laptop I have two accounts setup in the Administrators Group, one is the default Administrator, and the other is a created account. I have two other accounts setup for different types of work, and both of these are in the Power Users Group (it is a legacy group with priviledges higher than regular user, but not Administrator). I have a desktop for family use, and it is setup similarly.

    I logon as Administrator for maintenance purposes and to install/uninstall software, and that's it. All other times I am logged on as one of the other accounts. Under Windows 7 I get the occaissional UAC prompt asking for the Administrator password to proceed, which works rather seamlessly as I see it. As soon as the task requiring Administrator priviledges is complete, I am dropped back down to my logged on account without incident.

    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
    Thanked 609 Times in 557 Posts
    When I first started using Windows, the advice was to use a Restricted User account for most purposes, and only use a password protected Administrator account when installing or un-installing software or making configuration changes, and this I have done using Windows ME and then Windows XP.
    I personaly don't use restricted accounts, it's too much of a hassle for me and I've paid the price with thousands of clean instals in the begining. I on occasion continue to make mistakes that if I was running on a restricted account may have prevented.

    Restricted User accounts
    That's probably the very best way to do it for your average borderline computer literate person. Not too many people do this though.
    At least not the folks who realy need not be running as the full admin. This is perhaps the biggest reason why there are so many problems associated with the Windows os's. The greatest number of computer illiterate users on the planet use the Windows platform for their computing needs. And they naturally are the biggest targets out there for malicious intentions.

    Running with a restricted user account is representative of yet another tier in your overall security, along with all the rest of the software and or hardware related security setup you have in place.

    So yes, run with your hardware firewall, security suite, and appropriate password protections too.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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