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The One Trick That Hacker-Proofs Your Computer

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Windows 8, Windows Explorer
 
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There’s a simple step you can take that can make it almost impossible for a hacker to get control of your computer or install malicious software.

It’s also great if you have multiple users on your computer. This prevents someone from installing program you don’t want or making changes you don’t like to your settings.  It’s called a restricted user account and it can protect your data and your settings.

When you first set up a computer, the main account is always an administrator account. This means that the account can install and run anything without restriction. However, if you have kids using the same computer or if you find you want to limit what can be done on the computer, you may want to look into this option.

Really, most of us do not need to have an administrative account for our daily computer use, as it is only needed for downloading and installing programs or changing a system setting. And on a limited account, then, all you need to know is the username and password of an Administrative account to install or make the changes. Alternately, on a limited account, any program can typically be run as an Administrator by right clicking the program, then choosing Run as Administrator. Again, you would need to enter the username and password of an administrative account, but then you have full access.

A WARNING: When setting up and changing user accounts, be certain you do NOT set your only account or all accounts to a standard or limited account. This will not allow you to do anything on your computer that requires administrator privileges.

On XP

Start by going to the Start Menu, then click on Control Panel.

Click on User Accounts, then click on Create a new account.

You will see an installation wizard come up that will explain the process. Make sure you choose the limited account option. The wizard will guide you through the rest of the process.

 

Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8

 Newer versions of Windows allow for three account types: Administrator, Standard, and Guest. Administrator has full control and can install and change anything on the computer. A standard account can make changes to the settings on the computer and these will not affect any other users. If a standard user wants to install software or make changes other than the basic changes, they must have the administrator’s password. This functions as a limited account did in XP. A guest account is similar to the standard account but users are unable to make any changes to settings or hardware. A guest account must be turned on before it can be used. (This can be done by going to the Manage Accounts option under User Accounts in Control Panel. Just click on the Guest account to turn it on if it is off.)

On Windows 8, to create or change account settings, first go to the control panel and click on User Accounts and Family Safety.

Under that menu, you will see options to Change Account Type. When you click on that, it will open up all your accounts. You can then click on the Account you want to change. From this menu, you can also create a new user account by clicking on Add new user in PC Settings. Once you click on the account, you will see an option to change the user account type.

 

Click change user account type and you will have the option to change to an Administrative Account or a Standard account.

 

Choosing a standard account creates a limited account that does not have access to install or make changes to the system without an administrative password.

On Windows 7 and Vista, again go the Control Panel and then User Accounts. Click on Manage Accounts or Manage another Account.

In the next window, click on Change Account type and in the next window that pops up, make certain the account is set to Standard.

Now, here’s a great way to stay safe on the Internet. If you use that Standard account to surf the Internet and read you re-mails, even if a malicious piece of code manages to get through, it can’t make any important changes to our computer. It can’t install and begin to steal your data.

If you do need to install a program or make changes to the settings, you can always switch over the administrator account.

- Audra

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10 Responses to “The One Trick That Hacker-Proofs Your Computer”

  1. Craig Price says:

    How do you perform this task on a IOS system-MAC?

  2. Jos says:

    Duh uh!? How did we miss that!! Brilliant x

  3. Vernon Cameron says:

    I have Windows 8.1 and it will not let me change my account to Standard account. What can I do?

    • audra says:

      Vernon,

      Make sure you create a new account to be Standard. Do not take your main account and make it a standard account, as that would make it impossible to install any new software or make system wide changes.

  4. Paul Hagenbuch says:

    Awsum

  5. Keith Monson says:

    It seems to me that would only stop people from installing malicious software. If someone on a restricted account goes to an infected website hackers don’t need permissions, they get around that and boom you are infected. So all this does is force you to log in to a user account every day (every time you restart the computer too) which is a huge pain in the butt!

  6. Vicki Walker says:

    How do you get your bookmarks from your administrator account over to a standard acct? I have everything on my administrator account but when I set up a standard acct none of the games or other programs are there. How do I get them over to the standard acct?
    Thanks for your help. I love this site.

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