by Ann Monnens,
Support Specialist

Every computer requires an administrative account at the start.  Administrator accounts are the most powerful account type on a computer. The Administrator account has permissions to view every file on the system, change system-wide settings, run all installed programs, install new programs and new hardware, and change the usernames and passwords of other users. When you’re logged in as an Administrator you can do most anything you wish to do with the computer.

Using an Administrator account as the primary computer account for daily activities has security risks associated. The Administrator could unintentionally change or delete an important system setting. If a malicious program or attacker is able to get control of the Administrator user account, the malware can do anything and make any changes that the Administrator can, the more permissions your user account has, the greater damage the user account can do.

You can protect yourself by using a Standard Windows account as your primary account. Standard accounts are more limited, they can do most day-to-day work, but as a rule, standard accounts are prohibited from making serious or permanent changes to the computer. Malware installed under a standard account can’t make any damaging changes to system files, and attackers that gain access to a standard account can only access that user’s files.

During normal use it is always best to log in to a Standard account. And if more than one person will be using the same computer, each user should have their own Standard account.

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