Block The Hacker – Implementing the XP Limited User Account the Easy Way!

A 3 part series of articles beginning with BLOCK THE HACKER explained why using a Limited User account in Windows XP is a potential way to increase the computer security. The 2nd part of this series explained how to transition by creating a new Limited User account and installing your programs under this new account.

This article will explain an alternate way that may be much easier for many computer users. A new account will be created that will become the Administrator account and the original account with administrator privileges will be changed to a Limited User account and this avoids having to reinstall software programs! All the mouse operations in this article are with the left mouse button.

Whenever making a significant change to the computer it is important to first create a Restore Point. To reach the Restore Point utility click on the start button in the bottom left of the computer screen, then "Run …", type in% systemroot% system32Restorestrui.exe and press enter on the keyboard. It can also be used using the start button, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and system restore. The restore point utility will appear and choose the "Create a restore point" followed by the next button. Type in any descriptive name and use the "Create" option after which Windows will notify you that it has been created. If you get into trouble return to these instructions but instead of "Create a restore point" use "Restore my computer to an earlier time" to use this restore point for recovering to the original configuration.

In creating user accounts It is necessary to have strong passwords and this means avoiding words found in a dictionary plus including numbers or symbols. One technique is creating a phrase and grabbing the first letter of each word plus any numbers in a phrase and combining them to create the password. The result is a password with no dictionary words and a way for you to remember the password. Let's now begin by creating the new administrator account and remember to record this information in safe location;

  1. From the existing User Account click on Start, Control Panel, User Accounts, type in a name for the new User Account, choose NEXT, select "Computer Administrator", and "Create Account."
  2. Go to the newly created User Account to "Create a password", type in the new password twice along with a password hint, and "Create Password."
  3. If you see a Guest Account go ahead and disable it via the "Change Account Type" option.
  4. Return to the original User Account and follow step 2 to make a password for it too.
  5. Select the original User Account again and this time select "Change account type", modify the type to "Limited" and click "Change Account Type."
  6. Choose the start button and reboot the computer to implement these changes.

All User Accounts for the computer need to have passwords. As an additional security measure disable Fast User Switching via the Control Panel, User Accounts, follow the "Change the way users log on or off", remove the check-mark next to "Use Fast User Switching", and "Apply Options." You have now built a natural barrier significantly increasing the computer security.

There may be times to enable administrator privileges temporarily for the Limited User account since some programs will not install properly using the "Runas …" operation as explained in previous articles. To do this log-off via the start button. Log-on to the newly created administrator account and use the same instructions as above to change the Limited User account to the "Computer Administrator" type. Log-off and log-on to install the necessary program and once installed reverse the process to change the User Account back to a Limited User type. Once you reboot it will again operate as a Limited User providing natural security protection.