Logging on as an administrator

I’ve heard that logging on too windows XP as an administrator is bad. So, 1. How do I know if I’m logging on as an administrator, 2. How do I change it if I am, 3. There is no 3 or a greeting for semiprecious felines.

If your ID is ‘Administrator’ you certainly are, and need to make a new account.

Log in with your usual ID. Use the Start button to get to Control Panel and look for ‘Users and Passwords’. If you’re the only Administrator on the list, make a new account and set it to ‘Advanced User’ (or whatever the phrase is - no XP here). You can give that account a password if you like. Always use that account unless you really want to install stuff for everybody or make other global changes. If you’re not an Admin, XP won’t let you do that.

If you see more than one Admin, including your usual ID, turn your rights down for the usual ID.

Keep in mind that you need at least one account with Administrator rights. Also. make sure that any Admin account has a strong password: at least six characters. no personal info or dictionary words, and don’t write it down (unless it’s on a little scrap of paper with nothing else and you carry it in your wallet).

In XP Home, everyone is an administrator by default. You have to tell it to create a “limited” account if you don’t want this state of things.

You can convert an existing privileged account to a limited account if you wish. As stated, keep one user for system administration and have the rest as limited.

Nota Bene:

Strange things happen when you have a limited account. You cannot write to certain parts of the drive (e.g. C:\Program Files), and you cannot access much of the registry.
In most cases, you can’t run a program installer with a limited account. Sometimes you get odd behavior that does not point to lack of privileges, but is cleared up once admin privs are turned on.

Eudora didn’t work right away since it implemented MAPI support by dynamically copying and removing its own dll from some protected area. I had to fuss around awhile for that one to work.

My IE downloading doesn’t work right unless I do it from an admin account; hence I use FireFox for my day-to-day browsing.

I can’t run the little format utility that came with my MP3 player since “formatting a device” is a privileged activity.

Most of the time you can figure out that the privs caused the problem, but sometimes you get a real head scratcher and you try it with an admin account and everything works.

For these occasional annoyances, you can right-click on the icon for a program and choose “Run as…” and run the program under a more privileged account.

I guess you are talking about your home PC, not one connected to a workplace network.

When you install Windows XP, you have to create two accounts. The first is the Administrator account, you can’t change the username at this point, so you only provide a password for that account. The second account is the one that has your name on it. IIRC, you can create more accounts during installation, but these two are the absolute minimum. Now, both those accounts have administrator priviliges.

Logging in with administrator privileges isn’t dangerous. Personally, I always log in with administrator privileges (not using the Administrator acount, just the account with my name, but there isn’t really any difference).