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Chief Architect's Blog on software development

18 March 2009
Use less powerful account to protect your computer
A recent survey from CodeProject.com shows that more than 80% PC users are running their PC under "Administrator Account". See survey result below:
Running as administrator on your PC is very convenient because you can do any thing you like but it comes with a price. Many viruses need administrator permission to alter important area, e.g. Windows Registry, System files, etc. With adminstrator permission,  viruses can even stop your anti-virus program.  When there is a virus hiding in your thumb drive, virus usuallly relies on PC your permission to infect your PC. With less powerful user account, virus can do less things to harm your PC. Windows Vista uses UAC to reduce this risk but Windows XP does not have this feature. So, if you are Windows Vista user, please do not turn off UAC. If you are Windows XP user, it is better not to use administrator account for day-to-day work. Only use administrator account for necessary tasks, e.g. installing new application. This will substantially reduce the risk of virus infection.

You may often hear that Linux is saver than Windows.  It is true because Linux users seldom use root account (equivalent to administrator account of Windows) to do day-to-day work.

If it is very convenient for you to use less powerful user account in your Windows, I suggest you turn off your Autorun functionality in Windows. Disable this feature may reduce the risk of virus secretly entering into your computer via removable drives (e.g. thumb drive, CD, etc).

Details on how to disable autorun in Windows can be found in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967715/.