Is your cousin or a friend who is a computer enthusiast coming over to “update your system”? Are you tired of all the cool apps they download or bring with them that you have to uninstall after they leave? There is a simple solution available to Windows users called user accounts.
Create Standard User Accounts
It is a good idea to create a standard user account in Windows and not to use an administrator account for a variety of reasons. It does protect you against your cousin but, moreover, it protects you even against some bad guys. Online bad guys are always on the look-out for unprotected computers.
I suppose that you use firewalls and antivirus software, but even if you didn’t and some bad guys managed to take control of your system, they would not achieve much with a standard user account. However, if they gained access to your computer and took over your admin account, the damage they could do would be much worse.
If you don’t have a standard user account created on your system, you can open your
Password-Protect Your Admin Account
You can do almost anything with a standard user account. However, should you want to install new software or change the security settings on your computer, Windows will require an administrator’s password in order to execute your commands. And that is a good thing. Even if an attacker gains access to your computer, he will be unable to launch any harmful code, because he will not know your admin password.
Obviously, the admin password should be a strong one and should be kept in a safe storage vault. If you have not yet set a strong password for your admin account, do it now. Open your
By creating a new password, Windows warns that by doing this you will lose all EFS-encrypted files, personal certificates and stored passwords for web sites or network resources. This sounds bad but all it means is that if your account had any connections to other objects, be those files or web sites, those connections will now become unusable because you are changing the password keeping those connections alive.
For example, if you were accessing your computer remotely as an admin from other computers in your household, you will now have to enter your new password into those computers, too. Otherwise, they will not be able to connect. Or if you used the Encrypting File System to encrypt files, you will lose access to those files. However, most people can simply ignore the warning and continue creating their passwords.
The password protection will be activated on your next log on to the computer.
Of course, password-protecting your admin account is not a panacea. It is actually quite easy to get full admin access to your computer even if it is password-protected. But such access cannot be gained by an online attacker or a cousin while you are in the room with him. So creating a standard user account which you normally use and a password-protected admin account in Windows is still a good idea.
Do you use Windows as an administrator or as a standard user? Do you use password protection for your admin account? Share your attitude in the comments section below.
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