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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - Administration Account vs Regular Account ?


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gin8u

 
Member Since: Mar 22, 2007
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from Apple site:
Quote:
The first account created on a Mac OS X system is an administrative account. If possible, this account should not be the account you commonly use; it should be reserved for making changes to the system and installing system-wide applications. After installing Mac OS X, go into the Users item in System Preferences create a new account without administrative access. For your common tasks, log in as that user.
Ever since i had my Powerbook, i used the administrative account. What's so bad about using it on a day-to-day basis? If I make another account, will I have access to my programs that I have installed ?
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MacHeadCase
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I think that they mean that that account always stays fresh, free of system tweaks, hacks, etc. It's also, I would imagine, a security thing.

With a regular account, you have restricted powers but with an admin account you have a lot more of them. Remember the OS X/Leap.A worm?

Quote:
They called it OS X/Leap.A and it was first seen on February 13th in a thread on MacOSRumors.com called “Alleged screenshots of OS 10.5 Leopard”. So it tried to trick users in downloading a file called “latestpics.tgz”. You need to unstuff it first and then double click it. When you do, it opens terminal and executes when you’re running an admin account.

...

Never ever download a file from an unknown source is a pretty good start, even when somebody from your address book tries to send you the file, do as I would do and ask first what it’s all about. You could also run a non-admin account. The boys and girls from Iconfactory have a good program called DownloadCheck, an application that checks for applications in your Downloads folder. So it looks for Applications that hide behind document icons. It was written in response to the MP3Concept Trojan horse release of April 2004. ...
I hope this helps.
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MacHeadCase
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BTW I just stumbled upon a nifty pdf file while googling some facts for the above reply: Apple's own Mac OS X Tiger Security Configuration and I took a screenshot of the different types of accounts available to Mac OS X users and the powers associated with each one of them. See the attached file below...
Attached Images
File Type: png User_account_types.png (61.3 KB, 11 views)
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gin8u

 
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thanks for the information,
i had asked this to someone else before they never responded back, is it possible to easily transfer files from my Admin Account to my Standard Account ?
Because im a month and a half away before finishing school, and i'd rather not start switching files around.
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MacHeadCase
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From the admin account, you can go to Macintosh HD -> Users -> Shared folder (or in Panther I think it was called Drop Box?) and put the stuff you want to take in there. The Shared folder is accessible to all accounts.

But, not being totally sure where you want to go with this, you cannot install applications in there if this is what you really want to know. Installed applications are available to be used for all accounts, usually.
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Carol247

 
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Couldn't a person just change which account is the admin account rather than switching everything over?

I use my admin account too but seems I remember I could have any account be admin or not. Now, I'm thinking to not use my admin account for everyday based on this thread.

"We have enough youth, what we need is a fountain of smart"! - Unknown
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MacHeadCase
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You do need an admin account on your Mac. What would be safer for you, if you want to go that route, is to create an entirely different account and give it regular status but keep the account you now have as admin. Anyway that's how I would do it personally. :flower:
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gin8u

 
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Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
From the admin account, you can go to Macintosh HD -> Users -> Shared folder (or in Panther I think it was called Drop Box?) and put the stuff you want to take in there. The Shared folder is accessible to all accounts.

But, not being totally sure where you want to go with this, you cannot install applications in there if this is what you really want to know. Installed applications are available to be used for all accounts, usually.
its exactly what i wanted to know, but... there is a shared folder and a drop box in Tiger as well. i dont know the difference.

last question, if ever i want to install new programs, should i do it in my Admin account or my Standard account ?
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MacHeadCase
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There is? Holy crap! I only have a Shared folder!...

Anyway... All applications usually install for all accounts, like I said. Some will give you an option of installing for one user. I would install the ones that give you the option only in the regular account, if you can.

That way, if ever a program messes up your account you can easily delete that regular account and create a new one instead of seeing the mess being present in a higher level in the system.
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gin8u

 
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yea that makes sense, thanks.
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MacHeadCase
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Most notably I think stuff like for example QuickTime plug-ins will give the possibility of installing them just in one user account, screensavers, stuff like that you know?

Anyway, I'm glad you found this discussion useful!
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gin8u

 
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Who knows... maybe other people (other than Carol247) will switch to a Standard account :dive:

ps. i live in Montreal as well.
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MacHeadCase
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Well hello there! :flower:
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MartinS

 
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The idea of using a non-admin account is that every task you perform that has an effect on the system, such as installing a new app or making certain changes requires authentication by the administrator, which is probably you (ie, if it's your Mac and you're the only one who uses it).

When prompted to authenticate you just type in the admin account name and password, and the task is performed as normal.

When using an admin account on a day to day basis all tasks such as installing applications are performed automatically, with no prompts for passwords, because the administrator is the user.

The idea of using a non-admin account is to give you a layer of security against potential malicious activity. For example, if you have "Open safe files after downloading" checked in your Safari preferences (which it's advisable you do not) and this safe file turns out not to be so safe and somehow installs something you don't want installed or performs an action you don't want performed (don't ask me what or how, I'm just saying...) then with a non-admin account your attention will be drawn to the fact that something funny's going on because you'll be asked to authenticate. If this occurs when you're not expecting it to, don't just authenticate, investigate what's going on first.

In my opinion it's well worth running a non-admin account for day to day use, just for peace of mind. It only takes a second to authenticate, and it could save your skin at some point in the future, particularly if (when) that first malicious virus appears.

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