Home > Articles > Certification > Microsoft Certification

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

User Accounts: Standard User Versus Administrator User

Windows Vista provides two main types of user accounts:

  • Administrator accounts for users who require full access to the computer
  • Standard user accounts for those users who need to run applications but who should be limited or restricted in their administrative access to the computer

When Windows Vista is installed, three user accounts are created by default: the administrator, the initial user, and a Guest account. Of these, the administrator and Guest accounts remain in a disabled state. The initial user account is the one that you used to perform the installation.

Creating Users

Only an administrator can create a user. This is accomplished in Control Panel, User Accounts and Family Safety, Add or Remove User Accounts. Vista's new User Account Control (UAC) prompts you for administrative approval.

Select the Create a New Account hyperlink in the lower-left corner (see Figure 2.18).

Figure 2.18

Figure 2.18 Managing accounts.

You must enter the name of the new user. As you can see in Figure 2.19, the default and recommended user type is the standard user.

Figure 2.19

Figure 2.19 Creating a new user.

It is further recommended that every user account have a strong password. A password is not a default part of creating user accounts; you must perform this task separately. Click the Create User button to complete the creation process.

After the user account is created, you are returned to the Manage Accounts window. Notice that the new user (LuLu, in our case) is not password protected as with the other user accounts. To establish a password for this account, click the new account in the Manage Accounts window, shown in Figure 2.20.

Figure 2.20

Figure 2.20 Changing an account.

Next select the Create a Password hyperlink, as shown in Figure 2.21.

Figure 2.21

Figure 2.21 Create a password.

Now you must type the user's password twice, as shown in Figure 2.22.

Figure 2.22

Figure 2.22 Entering the password, and possibly a password hint.

You may also type in a password hint. This is presented to the user if the user enters the wrong password while trying to log on. Do not type the password in the password hint field. Click the Create Password button when you are done. Select the Manage Another Account hyperlink to return to the Manage Accounts window. Notice that the new LuLu account is now password protected.

What Can the Standard User Do?

In Windows XP, the non–administrator user could do many things, including these:

  • Modify most of the Display settings (not adjusting the font size)
  • Run most installed applications (not configuration related)
  • Connect to wireless networks, including Bluetooth and Infra-red (Ir) connections
  • Burn CDs and DVDs
  • Copy files to network shares, where permissions allow

Windows Vista includes these capabilities for the standard user and has increased what the standard user can do. These new privileges for the standard user in Windows Vista are relatively common, low-risk tasks. These new permissions for standard user accounts in Windows Vista were not available to non–administrator users in Windows XP:

  • View system clock and calendar
  • Change time zone (not the time, though)
  • Change power-management settings
  • Enable and configure Windows Sidebar
  • Install critical Windows Updates
  • Install ActiveX controls from websites approved by an IT administrator
  • Add printers and other devices that have the required drivers installed on the computer or that have been allowed by an IT administrator in Group Policy
  • Create and configure a virtual private network connection
  • Install wireless security, including WEP, WPA, and WPA2 to connect to secure wireless networks

In Windows Vista, by default, standard users are prohibited from installing most programs and drivers, changing system settings, and performing other administrative tasks.

How Can I Tell What the Administrator Can Do?

The administrator user can perform any configuration task on the computer. The only entity on the computer that is more powerful than the administrator is the kernel of the operating system, affectionately personified and referred to as "the kernel." The kernel may disallow administrator actions, such as deleting the system or boot partitions.

Administrator privilege is required to perform most configuration changes on the computer:

  • Install applications
  • Add and remove user accounts
  • Change settings on the firewall (required when enabling file and printer sharing, media sharing, and remote desktop administration)
  • Configure Parental Controls
  • Change media rating restrictions
  • Back up and restore files to the computer
  • Change visual effects that impact system performance

Many more tasks require administrative privilege. Spend 5 or 10 minutes poking around on the configuration dialogs, and look for the shield icon to get a feel for which tasks require administrative privilege.

Running processes as an administrator presents a greater attack surface to the bad guys and malware. To minimize this potential exposure, when you use an administrator account on a Windows Vista computer, User Account Control (UAC), covered in Chapter 3, "Managing Windows Vista Security," increases the security of the computer. Even when you are logged on as an administrator, most programs are executed with the permissions of a standard user. This limits the computer's attack surface to malware that could be executed through those programs by running applications as a standard user. If the application or task requires greater privilege than the standard user, UAC prompts for administrator credentials or administrator approval.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020