Combining User Accts on Vista Home

Discussion in 'Windows Vista File Management' started by breenan, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. breenan

    breenan Guest

    Due to using mulitple user names, I have a lot of key data spread al
    over my 'C' drive (for example archive to pst files in one user, liv
    pst files in another; pictures spread across users; key documment
    spread across users; and so forth)

    Am looking for simplest way to collapse all data into one Administrato
    userid. Also, while I see Admin user and can get into it using explore
    for 'C' drive, that user name no longer comes up as a user name via th
    control panel menu. Other user id's have the administrator privilege.

    So I guess I need to enable the Administrator, then collapse th
    contents of the other userids into it. When done I will delete the olde
    userids.

    Is there any automated way to do this

    Thanks
     
    breenan, Dec 27, 2008
    #1
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  2. breenan

    Malke Guest

    You have two issues here - the desire to consolidate data across user
    accounts and the misunderstanding of the built-in Administrator account.

    For the first issue - No, there is no way to automatically consolidate data
    across user accounts. Create a new user account named as you wish. Copy all
    data into it. After you are sure you have everything, delete the other
    accounts if so desired. If you want to keep the other user accounts, you
    could move the data into the Public directory where all user accounts will
    have access to it. This new user account should be a Standard account in
    Vista. You should not use an account with administrative privileges for
    your daily work in Vista. (You actually shouldn't do it in XP either but in
    the Real World that is impractical.)

    For the second issue, since the built-in Administrator account is disabled
    by default in Vista (as it is in Mac OS X and some Linux distros),
    apparently you enabled it at one time and then correctly (for security)
    disabled it again. It would be better to leave it disabled and, assuming
    that at least one of your other user accounts has administrative
    privileges, create a new administrative account for emergencies. I usually
    make one called "CompAdmin" or "Tech". This account is only for elevation
    and emergency purposes and normally will never be logged into.

    Malke
     
    Malke, Dec 27, 2008
    #2
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  3. breenan

    Malke Guest

    If only one user account with administrative privileges is created, you will
    automatically be logged onto it. The built-in Administrator account is
    disabled for security purposes. "Using myself as administrator should be
    disabled" doesn't make sense to me unless you are really asking why you
    should run as a Standard user. You want to run as a Standard user because
    it limits your vulnerability to infection and user accident (inadvertently
    damaging the operating system by tinkering with global system settings for
    instance).

    You absolutely do not want to have only one user account. As you have things
    configured now, if your sole user account becomes corrupted (not an
    uncommon occurrence) you will not have an emergency account from which to
    salvage things. The disabled built-in Administrator can be enabled by
    booting with a specialized rescue CD, but not all end users are able to
    manage that. (I have no idea of your Mad Skilz so please don't take this as
    an insult.)

    I suggest that you create an emergency user account with administrative
    privileges that you will not use except for elevation purposes or for said
    emergency. Call it "CompAdmin" or "Tech" or the like. Log into that account
    and from there demote your regular user account to Standard for daily work.

    If you want to go directly to the Desktop and skip the Welcome Screen with
    the icons of user accounts, you can do this the same way as in XP:

    Configure Windows to Automatically Login (MVP Ramesh) -
    http://windowsxp.mvps.org/Autologon.htm

    Malke
     
    Malke, Dec 28, 2008
    #3
  4. breenan

    Malke Guest

    Anne wrote:

    There are numerous reasons not to run as Administrator. Here in the
    Unix/Linux/OS X world, no one *ever* runs as root (our equivalent of
    Microsoft's "Administrator"). Vista is Microsoft's effort to come in line
    with the rest of the computing world's actions security-wise. With XP,
    there were too many software mftrs. whose programs needed to run with
    administrative privileges and/or write to protected areas of the operating
    system for it to be practical to run as Standard (leaving aside domain
    users for now) so most people ran as administrator. Programs designed for
    Vista understand permissions/restrictions.

    Since a standard user can't install software without permission (or
    elevation), "drive-by" installs of malware (such as were extremely common
    with XP) are limited. I don't say they can never happen, but you've
    narrowed the risk.

    Not having root (administrator) enabled and not running as root
    (administrator) also limits what an outside attacker can do to your system.

    There are other reasons, but if you want to pursue deep knowledge about
    operating security then a newsgroup isn't the place. Find whitepapers about
    Microsoft operating systems on TechNet to start with. Start reading
    articles at security sites such as http://www.sans.org/.
    Well, it's not all about you. And System Restore Points will not protect you
    from any of the above threats.
    And you image every day? Just in case, you know, your single user account
    gets corrupted and you can't get into it.
    Complicate things? It is beyond me why end users think having more than one
    user account will complicate things. This is a very common misconception.
    I've already told you how to have multiple user accounts and still log in
    automatically to your Desktop.
    Yes, I think having more than one user account is wise. Yes, I think running
    as Standard (not root/administrator) is wise. Of course what you choose to
    do is up to you. It's not my call.

    Malke
     
    Malke, Dec 28, 2008
    #4

  5. Routinely using a computer with administrative privileges is not
    without some risk. You will be much more susceptible to some types of
    malware, particularly adware and spyware. While using a computer with
    limited privileges isn't the cure-all, silver bullet that some claim it
    to be, any experienced IT professional will verify that doing so
    definitely reduces that amount of damage and depth of penetration by the
    malware. If you do happen to get infected/infested while running as an
    administrator, the odds are much greater that any malware will be
    extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove with formating the
    hard drive and starting anew. The intruding malware will have had the
    same (administrative) privileges to all of the files on your hard drive
    that you do.

    A technically competent user who is aware of the risks and knows
    how to take proper precautions can usually safely operate with
    administrative privileges; I do so myself. But I certainly don't
    recommend it for the average computer user.

    Further, the built-in Administrator account was never intended to
    be used for day-to-day normal use. The standard security practice is to
    rename the account, set a strong password on it, and use it only to
    create another account for regular use, reserving the Administrator
    account as a "back door" in case something corrupts your regular
    account(s).


    --

    Bruce Chambers

    Help us help you:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/555375

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin

    Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. ~Bertrand Russell

    The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has
    killed a great many philosophers.
    ~ Denis Diderot
     
    Bruce Chambers, Dec 28, 2008
    #5
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