Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

Should I use user accounts?

Should I use user accounts?

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Create multiple user accounts to increase your online security and your family’s privacy.

We recommend that you create a standard user account and log on with that account, rather than an administrator account, even if you’re the only one who uses your computer. An administrator account is a user account that lets you make changes that will affect other users. A standard user account does not.

When you log on with an administrator account, you put your computer at risk.  It's more secure to use a standard user account instead of an administrator account because if a cybercriminal accesses your computer when you are using a standard account,  you can prevent that cybercriminal from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer.

You can create a user account for each person who uses your computer, and each person can log on with a unique profile and his or her own Desktop and My Documents folder.

When you’re logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account although if you want to do something that affects other people who use the computer (such as installing software or changing security settings) Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account.

You can give yourself an Administrator account and give your children standard user accounts. When you use a standard user account, you cannot change system settings or install new hardware or software, including most games, media players, and chat programs. Remember to use a limited user account when you don’t need to do administrator tasks.

 How to create standard user accounts in:

  • This is fighting an up-hill battle, especially in home environments.  Although I do see a strong case for parents using this to limit what can be done by children inadvertently as a security measure, I do not see home users doing this as a security measure.  The time and effort that it takes to switch to an administrative account is prohibitive.  There is also the learning curve associated with it.  

    UAC was a great step in the right direction though.

  • Thanks for the worth tip, I have put a link in MS Security and Privacy Answers.

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