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How necessary is "Administrator" ?

by drfugawe / December 12, 2007 2:47 PM PST

Just got a laptop (Inspiron 1521) and a Zyxel router - now we've got a home wireless network. It's working fine. But I'm about going out of my mind with this Administrator nonsense. I followed all the Windows instructions for setting up Workgroup, Administrator, and Users. But now that it's done, I'm constantly getting popup messages telling me either I can't do something because I don't have permission, or I'm asked to give the Administrator's password, etc. Seems like I'm always in the exact wrong place when I need to do some "administrative" thing! What I'd like to do is to do away with all Users, and just have one user, the administrator.

I could understand if this was an office or security was a big deal, but I'm thinking with the router's security and the computers' firewalls, why is it even necessary to do the Administrator/User thing in your home? Seems like overkill to me.

Yes? No?

Thanks, john

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Basic info...
by Willy / December 12, 2007 7:14 PM PST

Because you have a "network" there needs to be an administrator. If(or added) you've set-up an acct. that acct. can have administrator rights(you and and maybe system, if you like) so be sure to do so provided there is more than one acct. A generic network setting you should default or have been asked during the set-up to give "administrator rights" to that 1st acct.. It's best to have a system acct. and just leave it alone but has administrator rights, thus when a problem crops-up you can fall back on it for repairs, fixes, and/or security reasons. Your acct., as a separate acct. the one you use all the time should have administrator rights but needn't have one, BUT at times will ask(pop-up) to proceed should you require them for whatever reason. You can check any acct. status at the control panel under the "users acct" icon, edit or review your accts.. This all make more sense when multiple accts. are present and you surely don't want any kids to have "full" rights as that can be troublesome. Thus, an acct. can be tailored to your household network and have added security from wifi unwanted guests.

tada -----Willy Happy

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My thoughts, Admin not needed. . .
by Coryphaeus / December 12, 2007 8:11 PM PST

I have four PCs on my home network and the only account is administrator. You only need sub accounts if you people that will access your network that need to be restricted for some reason. Just go into Control Panel and delete all accounts except the Administrator, and remove all passwords.

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I've Found It To Be An Advantage To Use Two Admin Users.....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 13, 2007 6:26 AM PST

Unfortunately, you didn't tell us which operating system you're referring to but if you "just got" the new computer, you'll likely have Vista on the computer.. If that's the case, then some of the restrictions are the result of User Account Control (UAC) and that can be disabled like this:

Open the Control Panel (Classic Style), then double click on "User Accounts", then in the "Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off", UNCHECK the box for "User Account Control". Reboot the computer.

Once that's done, Vista may warn you of the lack of security by throwing a red or yellow warning shield in the lower right corner/system tray. You can disable that as well by opening Control Panel, then the "Security Center" icon, then select the "Don't Notify me and don't display the icon" option.

It won't cure all evils but should prevent many of the "Are you sure?" nag popups. And depending on exactly which version of Vista you have installed, you might be able to tailor the way your computer requests those credentials. (Advanced configuration options for UAC are not available in Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, or Windows Vista Home Premium.) See the link below:

As to having two different user accounts on a home computer whether it's Vista or XP, I have found it extremely useful when one of the admin accounts becomes corrupted.. It might be the result of a virus or spyware or maybe it's simply because the user profile became damaged somehow.. MOst importantly, in some cases, if you don't have a second admin user, then your only fix is to completely reformat and reinstall everything.

In addition, I've found that some home networks don't set up correctly by simply using the default "Administrator" log in.. Because I've occasionally needed to create an admin user login which isn't the default, I now do it on all the networks I set up. It allows file and printer sharing to be set up a little easier. I create a second admin user and setup all the computers on the network using the same admin user with the same password. I've had very few issues with requests for admin passwords when I do it that way.

Hope this helps.


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You seem to have left out a lot ...
by Edward ODaniel / December 13, 2007 12:29 PM PST

of information that might well have changed some of the responses you got. The clue is "Just got a laptop (Inspiron 1521)" combined with "I'm constantly getting popup messages telling me either I can't do something because I don't have permission" which would indicate that the missing information is that your OS is Windows Vista.

The fact that all accounts, including admin accounts, run by default in Vista with standard user permissions is not understood by many. The pop-ups you are seeing are a result of UAC (User Account Control) and is part of the increased security of the OS and are the price of security: slight inconvenience to users. But come on, which is really more inconvenient: clicking the "Continue" button to perform an admin task, or having to rebuild your entire system and losing precious data forever because a malicious program ran without your knowledge and wiped you out?

You can disable UAC if desired but do be fully aware that if you do so you can't really complain if "bad things" happen. If you want to do so follow this link -

Before disabling though it would be to your benefit to also read the following (note in there that if yours is Business or Ultimate or Enterprize rather than one of the Home versions you have other options than just off or on - you can configure it for optimal Admin functionality):

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Thanks - Good Info!
by drfugawe / December 13, 2007 1:03 PM PST

Sorry about the lack of info - I guess I thought I was raising a generic question rather than looking for specifics. But I thank all for their input - some really good stuff.

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vista networking
by sidbobb / December 14, 2007 11:39 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks - Good Info!

I was surprised you got a home network to work at all. I have been trying for 3 weeks now. I did what vista told me to do but I cannot see my other laptops.
I have a HP 9640 with vista home. when i had my other 2 laptops running xp i had them networked together with no problem. i was able to share my printer and all the other things.
Now with vista I cannot get it done and yes I only have one account on each laptop and they are all the original administrators that was there when I set them up.

I can get to the internet on the 9640 I just cannot see the other 2 laptops. i also get thepopup asking for persmission and all and I have the uac shutoff. Now I get a popup telling me that it is shutoff everytime I start the laptop. Oh well this is just 2 of the problems I am having with vista. the list goes on and on. if I can solve these 2 then I will move on to the others.

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vista networking - sidbob
by Duncan McIntosh / December 14, 2007 4:44 PM PST
In reply to: vista networking

I can't speak for Vista but, when I set my first home network a few months ago, I had allsorts of problems, especially with visiting family (with their laptops). Probably, being an "oldie", it was simply lack of expertise and having to learn and understand terminology new to me. I found a trial version of networkwing software and found it so useful I quickly paid for the full version. It works superbly with XP, I can't vouch for Vista, and gives both graphic representation of the network and understandable advice, instructions and explainations. The app is Network Magic by Pure Networks. I found this a good investment and it is licensed to run on multiple devices.

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network magic
by sidbobb / December 14, 2007 8:34 PM PST

I did download Network Magic, the free to try edition anyway. when you buy the program do you get a CD or just the download version? It was a flawless installation. Does the network go away if I don't buy the real version? When I go to another router location will it automaticaly connect to that network?

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Network Magic trial vs pro version
by Duncan McIntosh / December 15, 2007 5:26 PM PST
In reply to: network magic

As I understand it, the trial version is for 7 days, you need to buy the pro version to get full funtionality anyway. I believe it was worth every penny. The graphic network map and user interface, alone, are worth the fee in my view. Also unlike some US based apps NWM is unirversal and does not disadvantage us haggis bashers in Scotland. NB I am not a shareholder -honest.

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Administrator, the Ruler of all
by lucky76 / December 15, 2007 4:49 AM PST

The Administrator login has the power to do everything. This comes from Microsoft copying from the UNIX operating system years ago where this was the "Root" account. You should create another account (login) for your usage and give it Administrator privileges. Then give both a good password. You can then do everything just like Administrator but you still have the Administrator account if you forget your password or your login gets hosed (screwed up).

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by sidbobb / December 15, 2007 6:30 AM PST

I did create a user account and gave it admin priveliges to start with but I still cannot get permission for some folders or files. I can't even get to my documents or my pictures with eithr account and I have uac turned off. I went back and used the recovery program to go back to factory specs and the original admin still doesnothave access or permission for some things. I thought well just go back to xp but hp says my notebook will not work properly if I was to do that, so I guess I have to stumble along as best I can. I am sure there are a lot of other user who are in the same boat. The best thing is sites like this. I do not have lots experience with computers so I don't replace parts or do programing things.
thank you for your help.

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Accessing My Documents
by Doctor Entropy / December 15, 2007 6:58 AM PST
In reply to: permission

To directly access the My Documents/ Pictures etc., you need to be using the account that you were using when you saved the items to these folders. Running as admin, when you click on My Docs, you will get the admin account My Docs. I do not know how you would access My Docs for other users under the admin account, other than using Explorer. You can go to C:\Documents & Settings\<i> username </i>\My Documents, where <i> username </i> is the user's account name that you are looking for.

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You need to read up on taking ownership and ...
by Edward ODaniel / December 15, 2007 12:18 PM PST
In reply to: permission

setting permissions on files and directories.

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In Vista "My Documents" and "My Pictures"
by Madison / February 25, 2008 1:18 PM PST
In reply to: permission

and any other folder with an arrow on the icon acts as a shortcut to the Vista equivalent folders for XP applications to use because those folders are renamed and in some cases in other locations in Vista. In Vista My Documents is Documents and My Pictures is Pictures.

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