Hello, this is David Cross again and I have an interesting project update to share with everyone.  Currently, in the beta for Windows Vista, when you create an additional user account, the account is automatically added to the local administrators group.  We have decided that by making users administrator by default was sending the wrong message to users, IT professionals and the developers in the ISV community.  We have subsequently made the decision that in Beta 2, secondary user accounts will be standard users by default.  An administrator will have to consciously, and specifically add a user to the local administrators group.  Reducing the overall number of users that run as administrator will be a compounded improvement in the security of all systems.


We believe now is the time to make this change.  Although, some users may still have application compatibility issues with legacy applications while running as standard user, we believe we will have enough fixes and shims to make the most commonly used applications work in a broad sense as standard user when Windows Vista is released.  We are confident that we will be successful in getting enough applications working and tested properly to make Standard User a successful experience.  In addition, we are hoping this change will encourage ISVs and developers to start writing their applications for Standard User as the default account under which those applications will be used.


We do expect some problems initially with applications that rely upon “self update” during runtime while running as standard user.  Games are the most common applications that typically fall into this category.  Self-updating applications are those that modify their binaries and perform installation during runtime.  Our goal is to encourage changes in these categories of applications and hope the impact of legacy applications will be minimal and do not limit very many consumers from running as standard user.


Please stay tuned to this blog for more exciting announcements, changes and improvements as we continuously analyze your feedback and apply that feedback to the product to ensure the best possible experience when we release.


David B. Cross
Director of Program Management
Windows Security