Okay, this post is for the less technical among us. As part of a team project, I created a nice, little Camtasia recording a while back to help people make a standard user account in Windows Vista, but I never had the opportunity to publish it. So, since I’m on vacation and I can do whatever I want, I thought I’d post it now. I didn’t want the video to go completely to waste, not that it’s amazing or anything but it did take me a while to learn Camtasia and put it together. But, first, I’ll include a few words about why standard user accounts are important and why they should be used by every single person who logs onto a computer. After that, you can find the links at the bottom of the post.
Standard user accounts (restricted accounts, basic accounts, non-administrator accounts, least-priviledge accounts, or whatever you want to call them) are essential to good security. Whenever anyone is browsing the web or checking email, they should be logged on as a standard user. This way, even viruses that are not detected by your virus scanning software will be unable to infect you. By using a standard user account, you greatly limit your security risk exposure. Malware (spyware, adware, viruses, worms, etc) will not have permissions to install themselves onto your computer, and that’s a very good thing. You’ll especially, definitely, without a doubt want to use them whenever you are performing high risk activities like, for example, browsing to less-trusted websites or opening attachments to emails that you are not 100% sure of. You shouldn’t open those attachments or go to those sites at all, but, if you have to, being logged on as a non-administrator will hugely reduce your risk of infection.
So, what do you do if you need to install a program or change an administrator-level setting? You have two options….either log off and back on as an administrator (usually the first account you created when you bought your computer), or right click on the installation executable or setting and choose “run as administrator” from the drop down list.
Also, if you want to use the new parental controls in Windows Vista, you’ll need to create a standard user account for each or your children (and, of course, make sure you set the password on the administrator account to something they don’t know and won’t be able to guess). When your children log on with their standard user account, they won’t be able to turn off parental controls, and you will be able to monitor what sites they are visiting and what they are emailing to friends or writing to each other through instant messenger. You can also restrict what games they can play based upon the game’s ESRB rating.
Well, now that you know why standard user accounts are so important, here’s a quick video to walk you through the process of creating one. Unfortunately, you may need to click on this link a few times before it works. I’ve noticed the streaming media server has been a bit glitchy lately. If you can’t get it to work, I’ve got a low fidelity version on MSN’s Soapbox Beta.
Vista_Standard_User_Account_Creation – Hi Res (Unreliable, sorry)
Vista_Standard_User_Account_Creation – Low Res (More reliable)
Thanks for checking it out.