Using Windows 10 from a non-administrator account

carrierPigeon

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I am trying to finally follow some advice that I heard several years ago-- to not use an administrator account in windows for day to day activities.

Right now I have set up a "real" administrator account (the one that really has high level access, not the watered down one that Windows creates by default). I also changed the one that Windows set up when I was installing the operating system to a regular, non-admin account.

I have been reading some information that has me reconsidering whether I am going in the right direction.

1) In this thread, it seems like some users run into problems. I am pretty competent on the computer but I am still learning a lot and there is a lot that I don't know. I know my way around basic computing but I don't have any professional level knowledge/ am a bit limited on time.
https://hardforum.com/threads/so-i-tried-windows-10-as-a-user.1935155/

2) Here there seems to be confusion about where to install programs (on the basic account or on the administrator account). I am not sure which direction to go on that.
http://www.tomsguide.com/answers/id...tall-programs-user-account-admin-account.html

At the end of the day, I am not too concerned about malware/ intrusion. My thinking is go light on the defenses but be serious about backing up (being better about backing up is a work in progress). But, it seems like having this setup as the only defense might be good because of its underuse. Along those lines, my thinking is that it could easily be more valuable than, say, Windows defender.
 

B00nie

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I run my Windows 10 as a regular user. Software is installed as a regular user but with elevated rights, Windows will ask them during install.
 
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ChadD

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MS windows is the only major OS ever to allow users to act as admins. Its a disaster.

Yes use a user account. MS did to their credit attempt to fix the situation way back with Vista. UAC They watered it down a bit, after the average moron cries got a bit too loud I guess. (well that and so much more software back then was running at admin level for no good reason its still a problem but back in the vista days it was terrible) Elevating what requires actual admin access is the proper way to do things. Running in admin mode at all times your basically leaving the doors wide open.

Windows still has way to much software that requires Admin level access for no seemingly good reason.

So I get why people find it a hassle to run a proper user account setup with windows.... so much stupid software that requires constant elevation.

Plenty of Linux/Unix/BSD software require admin. The difference is that is software that almost always has a legit reason, as it controls system stuffs ect.
 
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B00nie

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MS windows is the only major OS ever to allow users to act as admins. Its a disaster.

Yes use a user account. MS did to their credit attempt to fix the situation way back with Vista. UAC They watered it down a bit, after the average moron cries got a bit too loud I guess. (well that and so much more software back then was running at admin level for no good reason its still a problem but back in the vista days it was terrible) Elevating what requires actual admin access is the proper way to do things. Running in admin mode at all times your basically leaving the doors wide open.

Windows still has way to much software that requires Admin level access for no seemingly good reason.

So I get why people find it a hassle to run a proper user account setup with windows.... so much stupid software that requires constant elevation.

Plenty of Linux/Unix/BSD software require admin. The difference is that is software that almost always has a legit reason, as it controls system stuffs ect.

Since Windows defaults to admin user, most users who really do not even understand what they're doing when they setup their windows computer just go with the defaults. They're not tech savvy enough to create a new user account let alone secure the existing one. My point of view is Windows is for you if you're too dumb and/or cheap to use anything else, Mac if you want extreme comfort and hassle free use but at a cost - and linux simply if you can.
 

heatlesssun

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Windows still has way to much software that requires Admin level access for no seemingly good reason.

Needing admin access for common modern software like web browsers, productivity tools, games, video/audio recoding and playback, etc. is extremely rare these days. There are a lot of tools and utilities like CPU-Z, GPU-Z, overclocking apps, motherboard RGB lighting controls, OEM device management tools, development tools where the nature of the of those tools often requires admin access.
 

ManofGod

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Start over, in my opinion. Setup the primary account as your administrator account, with a password. Then create another account that is a standard user, with it's own password as well. Then use that standard user from day to day and when you need admin access, type your admin password in and have fun. :)

Do not enable the built in administrator account, ever, unless you absolutely must have access to it. (Then disable again once you are done.) Enabling the built in administrator account is akin to enabling root access in Linux and using that account all the time, a very bad idea.
 
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Shotglass01

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Needing admin access for common modern software like web browsers, productivity tools, games, video/audio recoding and playback, etc. is extremely rare these days. There are a lot of tools and utilities like CPU-Z, GPU-Z, overclocking apps, motherboard RGB lighting controls, OEM device management tools, development tools where the nature of the of those tools often requires admin access.

Not sure what world you're living in but I need to supply admin creds, almost daily, for anything needing an install to Win 10. This is the workplace. But it's not due to some errant GP, it's Win 10's behavior.
 

heatlesssun

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Not sure what world you're living in but I need to supply admin creds, almost daily, for anything needing an install to Win 10. This is the workplace. But it's not due to some errant GP, it's Win 10's behavior.

That's the installer though, not the application, which once installed shouldn't need admin privileges to run. If you're constantly installing software or making system changes that that require admin access then sure it can be a pain to provide an admin account each time but that's not the typical user.
 

ChadD

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Needing admin access for common modern software like web browsers, productivity tools, games, video/audio recoding and playback, etc. is extremely rare these days. There are a lot of tools and utilities like CPU-Z, GPU-Z, overclocking apps, motherboard RGB lighting controls, OEM device management tools, development tools where the nature of the of those tools often requires admin access.

No doubt as it should be... things polling hardware, and making system changes should require password elevation every single time they run. MS is weak on such a simple security setup... allowing people to elevate without promoting ect.

Hey as I said I give MS credit for attempting to add basic security to windows after Vista. Prior to vista a lot of lazy software manufacturers assumed they would be able to write system files, add their own .dlls and all manner of stupid thing to the OS with a simple USER click. I agree these days most windows software acts in general properly, of course the major browsers and big name software mostly play by the rules. However IMO the biggest security flaw of windows is MS not requiring users to use a proper setup, that most users see UAC as an annoyance is a problem. Giving windows users so many options to disable ignore or bypass proper account use, is a large part of what makes Windows so easy to attack. (and for the record as recently as this year I have seen smaller big expensive windows software that required amin rights just to run... I agree its a small number these days, still the practice is hardly gone)

Windows is much better these days at being ok after having 100s of software packages installed and removed... but everyone remembers what it used to be like. The main reason windows got stupid after years of use was directly related to so many software packages being able to do whatever they wanted to the system. MS has improved that over the years... but imo UAC is still far to weak, the default is porous, although it can be made to behave by a wise user or admin its simply not the default behaviour. (and average users are the ones that most need basic protection)
 

heatlesssun

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No doubt as it should be... things polling hardware, and making system changes should require password elevation every single time they run. MS is weak on such a simple security setup... allowing people to elevate without promoting ect.

But this is only the case with admin accounts and even then not the default.
 

carrierPigeon

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Thank you for all of the responses so far.

For anyone considering this, here are the annoyances that I have come across so far:
1- I was trying to find disk management in the user account for a while before I realized that it's just not there. I am sure that it take some time to get used to remembering that some functionality isn't there and remembering to switch over to the admin account when necessary.
2- I wanted to execute a batch file to uninstall many preinstalled Windows programs that I will probably never use. From the instructions that I was reading, I needed to put the batch file in the C: directory. So, I had to switch over to the admin account in order to do this.
3- I am starting to see how cumbersome it is to switch over to the admin account. So far, what I have noticed is that you (1) don't see programs that you have opened when you switch to the admin account; (2) once you do reopen the needed programs, you are not necessarily on the "screen" or location where you want to be.

I'd imagine there is a workaround for some of these.

You know how ubuntu prompts for a password, instead of just clicking a button each time that you are doing something that needs a high level of permissions? Is that essentially what we are achieving with the admin/ user account setup in Windows? It seems to be more cumbersome because we can't always just type a password and have that be the end of the story.

I remember reading something about keeping with the default setup (of using the user account) while you get hardware and software installed for your initial setup. I think I am going to go back to that plan.

I suppose that programs that I install on the user account, wont be available on the admin account. It seems like I should at least have a good browser with the bookmarks installed on the admin account. Can I keep the 2 sets of bookmarks synced (without hosting them with a cloud service)?
 
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heatlesssun

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1- I was trying to find disk management in the user account for a while before I realized that it's just not there. I am sure that it take some time to get used to remembering that some functionality isn't there and remembering to switch over to the admin account when necessary.

It's still there though hidden through the UI. Open a CMD window as an admin and type diskmgmt.msc.

2- I wanted to execute a batch file to uninstall many preinstalled Windows programs that I will probably never use. From the instructions that I was reading, I needed to put the batch file in the C: directory. So, I had to switch over to the admin account in order to do this.

Again, startup whatever process you need as admin like through a command window.

3- I am starting to see how cumbersome it is to switch over to the admin account. So far, what I have noticed is that you (1) don't see programs that you have opened when you switch to the admin account; (2) once you do reopen the needed programs, you are not necessarily on the "screen" or location where you want to be.

Which is as it should be, different accounts.

You know how ubuntu prompts for a password, instead of just clicking a button each time that you are doing something that needs a high level of permissions? Is that essentially what we are achieving with the admin/ user account setup in Windows? It seems to be more cumbersome because we can't always just type a password and have that be the end of the story.

When actually switching accounts you have to provide full credentials. What you're refereeing to is an "elevating" an admin account under UAC.
 

ChadD

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This is why having a consistent terminal interface is seen as a good thing by most *nix folk.

As heatle is pointing out windows does allow you do pop up a command interface... and MS also has power shell.

Worst thing MS inflicted on average users was the death of the command line. MS has actually done a lot of decent work on power shell, they have made some decent tools. Like it or not a terminal prompt is always going to be the best and fastest way to do a great many things. I will even say their Linux subsystem stuff is actually a decent addition to windows. I know I'm heading off topic now so I'll leave it there.

floatingkeyboards there should be no reason for you to use an admin account. I am not sure why you would have to remove installed programs more then once... not sure why you would need a batch file for that. Heatles advice is good you can open diskm on a user account just open it from an elevated prompt. Day to day use you really shouldn't need admin for anything really.
 

heatlesssun

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Worst thing MS inflicted on average users was the death of the command line.

When Windows came along the GUI of the Mac was all the rage. Microsoft wasn't inflicting the death of command line interfaces but realizing that most people didn't want to use their computers through a command line interface. It's not a zero sum game. Touch interfaces haven't replaced keyboard and mouse interfaces but they have become more widely used for basic computing needs like web surfing. Likewise with command line and programmatic interfaces. Those things are still there but they obviously require more knowledge to use and aren't as widely used because they aren't need by as many people as keyboard and mouse interfaces.
 

-PK-

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You can press windows key, type in diskmgmt.msc, right click run as admin. That's how I usually open system commands. Batch scripts usually don't have to be in the C folder, but they do have to be outside the current user directories (not in the desktop, documents, or download folders) when they need to be ran as another user/Admin.
 

B00nie

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You can press windows key, type in diskmgmt.msc, right click run as admin. That's how I usually open system commands. Batch scripts usually don't have to be in the C folder, but they do have to be outside the current user directories (not in the desktop, documents, or download folders) when they need to be ran as another user/Admin.

That's almost like using a linux bash shell, except you don't need the stupid mouse clicks. Slowly windows users will have to learn the same good practises *nix people have used for decades :D
 
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