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Windows safer with non-admin account

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  • User profile image
    m.b.dot

    Hi y´all    Smiley

     

    just read this article over on arstechnica.com, that running as non-admin user in Windows will be safer under pretty much any Windows version.

     

    Tried to create a standard user acount on my Vista machine (which worked) but I can´t seem to figure out how to copy/move all the stuff under Documents in my old account over to Documents in my new account.

     

    Just copying/pasting does NOT work. Vista will simply do nothing, just calculate the time needed to copy/move the files and then... nada. Nothing.

     

    Right-clicked on Documents in the Start mnü, Properties, File Path and tried to move all the content to my new account. Didn´t work either, because I had "no access"  :-?

     

    I´m at my wit´s end, am I missing something or is getting your files from an old user account to a  new user account really that difficult under post-XP Windows systems....??!!

     

    I don´t have the time and the nerves that I used to have when I was younger (heh heh), so I guess I´ll just stick with my trusty Admin account, which works OK. Still a bit baffled about those Folders structures and UAC things going on in Vista, though........  :-/

     

    Greetings

  • User profile image
    turrican

    It's because your old account is admin, and your new one is user. You can't reach admin files from a user account. Login to your admin account, then copy ( not move [safer in case something goes wrong.] ) the files into the new account.

     

    Once done that, mark that folder and check in the security tab that the new user account has full access to those file. You can also change "owner" from security tab -> advanced and set the new user account as the owner of those files.

     

    Again, you need to do the above from your admin account.

     

    Alternative : Login to old admin account, copy files to some other folder some place else but make sure you set the new user account to have full access to that folder. Then login to your new user account and just move the files into your documents folder.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Document folder, desktop folder, and etc are private folders to each user. You can't steal files from other account unless you are the admin. This is why standard user account is safer because they can't access other people's file and they can't install software/virus. But, remember, you already installed Flash, so a standard user is still vulnerable to Flash virus attacks. Many programable programs are the portal for virus attacks because you already installed the program. But, if you are using standard user account, the damage is non-Windows components because standard account can't access windows folder. They usually infect IE/FF because they are not part of Windows and they are not protected by Windows standard user security.

     

     

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    m.b.dot

    Hi, thanks for all answers.

     

    To clarify my original post, I have tried both: copying my files from my Admin account to the new user account when I *was* in the old Admin account, and trying the same while I was in my *new* account.

     

    Under both circumstances, Vista refused to copy or move the files, without giving any explanation or hint......I´ll keep on trying, thanks for all tips and hints......    Smiley

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    m.b.dot said:

    Hi, thanks for all answers.

     

    To clarify my original post, I have tried both: copying my files from my Admin account to the new user account when I *was* in the old Admin account, and trying the same while I was in my *new* account.

     

    Under both circumstances, Vista refused to copy or move the files, without giving any explanation or hint......I´ll keep on trying, thanks for all tips and hints......    Smiley

    ACLs are probably getting in the way - create a directory off C:\ and grant access to everyone. Copy into there. Switch to the standard user, copy from there, then take ownership of the files and reset the ACL so they're locked to just your account. Delete the C:\whatever directory

  • User profile image
    RLO

    m.b.dot said:

    Hi, thanks for all answers.

     

    To clarify my original post, I have tried both: copying my files from my Admin account to the new user account when I *was* in the old Admin account, and trying the same while I was in my *new* account.

     

    Under both circumstances, Vista refused to copy or move the files, without giving any explanation or hint......I´ll keep on trying, thanks for all tips and hints......    Smiley

    You may also wish to try this technique. Login under the old account then:

     

    Navigate to C:\users\"oldusername"  Right click and choose properties.  Next click on the tab marked security.  Click edit.  Next choose add.  Type in the name of the new user account. Click check names, click ok.  Next on the original tab, click the new username and mark the check box marked full control under the allow column.  Now click apply.

     

    Your new user account will have full access to that folder.  Blowdart's way is still probably the easiest, but you may run into issues trying to create a folder in the C:\ drive because even the old user accounts that are administrators, but not root administrators, are not allowed to create folders without UAC prompts over and over again in the old user account.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    m.b.dot said:

    Hi, thanks for all answers.

     

    To clarify my original post, I have tried both: copying my files from my Admin account to the new user account when I *was* in the old Admin account, and trying the same while I was in my *new* account.

     

    Under both circumstances, Vista refused to copy or move the files, without giving any explanation or hint......I´ll keep on trying, thanks for all tips and hints......    Smiley

    Huh? Couldn't you just copy everything using an Admin account first? Once you are in the non-Admin account, you can't access many folders. Make sure you right click on the folder after you copy&paste it to the new account. Right click and properties and check security. Make sure it is not locked to only specific user.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    m.b.dot

    OK, I think I got it to work now.

     

    In my old Admin account, I right-clicked on that old account´s Documents folder and, via the Security tab, granted my *new* account full access to that folder.

     

    Logged back into my new restricted account, and now I can access my Documents in the old account and drag them over into my new account.

     

    I remember tinkering with those ACL settings under Windows XP, and somehow I´d thought that Vista (and probably 7) would automagically fix all ACL-related problems by just asking for permission via UAC, and that would be it. Guess I was wrong  Tongue Out

     

    Thanks again for all answers, they were quick and competent  Smiley

  • User profile image
    RLO

    m.b.dot said:

    OK, I think I got it to work now.

     

    In my old Admin account, I right-clicked on that old account´s Documents folder and, via the Security tab, granted my *new* account full access to that folder.

     

    Logged back into my new restricted account, and now I can access my Documents in the old account and drag them over into my new account.

     

    I remember tinkering with those ACL settings under Windows XP, and somehow I´d thought that Vista (and probably 7) would automagically fix all ACL-related problems by just asking for permission via UAC, and that would be it. Guess I was wrong  Tongue Out

     

    Thanks again for all answers, they were quick and competent  Smiley

    Good m.b.  good luck with the new account.  Keep in mind to install you may have to right click and run as admin to get a UAC prompt to enter your old credentials to run things.

  • User profile image
    RLO

    magicalclick said:
    m.b.dot said:
    *snip*

    Huh? Couldn't you just copy everything using an Admin account first? Once you are in the non-Admin account, you can't access many folders. Make sure you right click on the folder after you copy&paste it to the new account. Right click and properties and check security. Make sure it is not locked to only specific user.

    Magic, on Vista the real Administrator account is disabled by default and any users that have "limited" admin priveliges are added to the administrators group.  To have full control without UAC you would have to be in the disabled account.  Otherwise you are going to run into permissions issues on anything that is in the c:\ drive.  It was one of the large complaints filed against Vista.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    RLO said:
    magicalclick said:
    *snip*

    Magic, on Vista the real Administrator account is disabled by default and any users that have "limited" admin priveliges are added to the administrators group.  To have full control without UAC you would have to be in the disabled account.  Otherwise you are going to run into permissions issues on anything that is in the c:\ drive.  It was one of the large complaints filed against Vista.

    I thought that only applied to the Home editions of Vista.

  • User profile image
    RLO

    W3bbo said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    I thought that only applied to the Home editions of Vista.

    No that functionality was in all the editions of Vista.  It appears that it has been changed in 7.

  • User profile image
    fknight

    RLO said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*

    No that functionality was in all the editions of Vista.  It appears that it has been changed in 7.

    So, in Vista -- permissions issues don't cause an "Access Denied"?  They simply hang the dialog boxes at "Computing..." with the user not knowing what's going on?

     

  • User profile image
    m.b.dot

    fknight said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    So, in Vista -- permissions issues don't cause an "Access Denied"?  They simply hang the dialog boxes at "Computing..." with the user not knowing what's going on?

     

    In my case, yes, unfortunately  :-/  I wa also wondering why they couldn´t make a pop-up window appear that informs the user "Hi there, your files can´t be copied because...... you may wish to try solution XYZ......"  basically, one is just sitting in front of the computer, confused, and wondering what the heck is going on.....

  • User profile image
    m.b.dot

    RLO said:
    magicalclick said:
    *snip*

    Magic, on Vista the real Administrator account is disabled by default and any users that have "limited" admin priveliges are added to the administrators group.  To have full control without UAC you would have to be in the disabled account.  Otherwise you are going to run into permissions issues on anything that is in the c:\ drive.  It was one of the large complaints filed against Vista.

    Your remark confirms what i read elsewhere, and which leads to yet another question.....

     

    In my posts above, when I was referring to the Admin account, I was talking about the "limited admin" account, not the (by default disabled) "real" admin account. The Admin account I was talking about all the time was the kind of account that is set up automatically the first time Vista is started.

     

    I was assuming that even using the limited Admin account can be more harmful, in terms of system security, than running a standard user account. Is this actually correct? or is the only difference between the limited Admin account and a standard user account that as an Admin, you´re required to click "Yes" or "No", while as a standard user, you have to enter your password? If the latter is the case,  a standard user account wouldn´t be much safer after all, that´s why I´m asking...... *scratch head*

     

    Cheers

  • User profile image
    contextfree

    This has been brought up by others elsewhere, but I wonder how much of this is another form of "security by obscurity".  i.e. most people still run as admin, so criminals don't bother putting effort into writing exploits that can afflict standard users.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    RLO said:
    magicalclick said:
    *snip*

    Magic, on Vista the real Administrator account is disabled by default and any users that have "limited" admin priveliges are added to the administrators group.  To have full control without UAC you would have to be in the disabled account.  Otherwise you are going to run into permissions issues on anything that is in the c:\ drive.  It was one of the large complaints filed against Vista.

    My Ultimate OEM certainly didn't do that. I am using Admin account and never got blocked. Probably like the other guy said, only Home edition does that, but, I find it hard to believe.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    RLO

    m.b.dot said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Your remark confirms what i read elsewhere, and which leads to yet another question.....

     

    In my posts above, when I was referring to the Admin account, I was talking about the "limited admin" account, not the (by default disabled) "real" admin account. The Admin account I was talking about all the time was the kind of account that is set up automatically the first time Vista is started.

     

    I was assuming that even using the limited Admin account can be more harmful, in terms of system security, than running a standard user account. Is this actually correct? or is the only difference between the limited Admin account and a standard user account that as an Admin, you´re required to click "Yes" or "No", while as a standard user, you have to enter your password? If the latter is the case,  a standard user account wouldn´t be much safer after all, that´s why I´m asking...... *scratch head*

     

    Cheers

    m.b. you are right that there is not alot of difference between limited admin and limited user.  If I remember right, the limited was more restricted when it came to hardware rights and a few other bits.  Although that is true with Vista, keep in mind they made a lot of heavy changes in 7 that makes the limited account safer than the same situation on Vista. 

     

    Magical, when I was running deployment tests for Vista RTM on both Ultimate and Business, I experienced the same file/copy issues that m.b. reported.  It's the reason why I recognized his issue immediately.  Now it may have changed post service packs.  On that I am not sure. 

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