Standard User Account vs Administrator
If you are running Windows on your PC, follow this free tech tip to improve your computer system security. Go to the Control Panel and check the access privileges you have set for your User Account. You should have at least two accounts set up, one for the system administrator and one for each computer user.
If you only have one account, for the system administrator, and you use the administrator account for daily use as a computer user, you are taking an unnecessary risk. If your computer becomes infected with a virus, malware, or a hacker or unauthorized person breaks into your computer, an intruder can gain complete access to your computer to install, modify or remove software, or to change settings, since the intruder will have system administrator privileges.
To protect your computer, set up your User Account to be a standard user account, not an administrator account. Note: Windows requires at least one administrator account on a computer. If you have only one account on your computer, you can’t change it to a standard account.
If you only have one account now, go to Control Panel, User Accounts, Manage Accounts, Change an Account, to set up a second account with administrator privileges. Give the administrator account a new name and a strong password, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Be sure to memorize the administrator password and store it offline, locked in a desk or fire safe in case you forget it. You can also set up an optional photo for the account.
Once you have set up the administrator account, try it out. Go to the start menu and select “switch user“. Your computer screen should display your account choices. Select the administrator account and type in the administrator password to log in. Once the administrator account is working, you can “switch user” again and log back in to your User Account.
Standard User Account
Now that you have a separate administrator account set up and working, you can use the Control Panel again to downgrade your existing User Account(s) from administrator privileges to Standard User privileges. Also set up a strong password for your User Account, using a different password than your Administrator Account.
Here is what the Windows help comments say:
Standard User: The standard account can help protect your computer by preventing users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting files that are required for the computer to work. We recommend creating a standard account for each user.
When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account.
Administrator: administrators have complete access to the computer and can make any desired changes. Based on notification settings, administrators may be asked to provide their password or confirmation before making changes that affect other users. This account type is not recommended for daily use, and should only be used when necessary.
When running as a Standard User, when you attempt to make a system change that requires administrator privileges, you will be asked to enter the administrator password to continue. If you have a program icon on your desktop, you can run the program with administrator privileges by doing a right click on the program icon and selecting “Run as administrator” from the menu.
Running as a Standard User is a simple way to add more security to your computer, to prevent intruders from gaining administrator privileges. For security, be sure to log off your computer when you will be away and require a strong password to log in.