When you first install and configure your Windows operating system, Windows prompts you to create a user account in order to use it. By default, the first user account you create in Windows is the administrator account. This default administrator account allows you to modify system settings, install drivers, software and other essential updates without much difficulty or resistance.
As good as it is, having this level of power on a daily basis is not that good in terms of system security and stability. To deal with this, Windows has something called a standard user account. In this quick article we will get to know about the standard user account and how to enable it for better security.
What Is a Standard User Account?
As the name suggests, a standard user account is a restricted user account and has less privileges than an administrator account. Since a standard user account has less privileges, any major change made to the system, like installing programs or changing system settings, will require an administrator password. The standard user account also makes your system more secure as it makes it really impossible for viruses and other malware to infect and operate.
If you are sharing your system with your family or friends, it also ensures that they cannot install, remove or modify any of the system settings with an administrator password.
You may be thinking that the normal administrator account is protected by the UAC (User Access Control), but how many times have you clicked the “Yes” button without even reading the prompt? This makes the UAC feature nearly useless. Moreover, the UAC is not that secure, as you can edit most of Windows settings without any UAC prompt.
Unless you are a system administrator, you don’t really need to use an administrator account on a daily basis. In most cases the standard user account would suffice.
Of course, being a standard user, you are limited in terms of how much you can do with that user account. Moreover, some things can only be done when you are logged in as an administrator. But that little bit of inconvenience is worth your system security. After all, you can easily switch between accounts with just a few clicks.
Enable a Standard User Account in Windows
Note: Though I’m showing this in Windows 7, the same procedure is applicable to Windows 8. In Windows 10 you will be automatically redirected to the Modern Control Panel, but it is just about the same.
Before enabling the standard user account, you first need to create a new administrator account and then change your current account type to Standard so that you don’t lose any user specific settings or programs.
To start, search for User Accounts in the start menu and select the “User Accounts” option.
Once the User Accounts window has been opened, find and click on the “Manage another account” link.
Click on the “Create a new account” link appearing at the bottom of the window.
In this screen, enter the new username, select “Administrator” as the account type and click on the “Create Account” button to create a new administrator account.
Go back to the main window and select the newly created account. This action will open the relevant account settings. Click on the “Create a password” link.
Enter a strong password and a good password hint and click on the “Create password” button.
Now, go back to the main User Accounts panel and select your current user account. In my case, that would be “Vamsi.”
In the user account settings panel, click on the “Change the account type” link.
Select the “Standard user” radio button, and click on the “Change Account Type” button.
You’ve successfully changed or enabled a standard user account on your Windows machine. Just restart or log off your system, and you are good to go.
From this point forward, anytime you do something major like changing important Windows settings, installing drivers or other software, you will be prompted for the administrator password. Without manually entering the password, you won’t be able to make any changes to the system.
Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using a standard user account on your Windows machine.