User Accounts...a little advice...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 7084, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. 7084 macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2006
    Right, so a new iMac is on it's way to me, a long overdue update to my much loved iBook G4.

    The iBook being my first mac, It was my experimental machine as I didn't quite understand the system etc but i loved getting to grips with it. Now that i've got a chance to start afresh, i fancy doing things a bit more neatly and uniformly and so i have a few questions about how you lot use the accounts system.

    On my iBook, I simply created one account on startup, as I was the sole user of the computer. I assume this automatically gave me admin privaleges. Is this set up recommended? Or is it somehow adantageous to have an admin and then a separate User account that you use all the time? Isn't it a hassle having to logout when you need to perform admin tasks, install new apss etc?

    Also, when installing apps on my iBook, I often got the choice to install apps for "just this user" or "all users of this computer". Being the lone user of the mac, I wasn't sure what difference this made, and forgot what i had done previously, so half my apps ended up in each catergory give or take. What option would you recommend for this? Does it relate back to my earlier question?

    Sorry for the mini-essay, answers would be much appreciated.
  2. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    I've seen it recommended that you create an admin account for installing, uninstalling and troubleshooting, and a user-account without admin privileges for day-to-day use.

    I've not got three account on my MBP -- mine, my wife's, and a third. Only the third account has admin privileges. While it can be a bit of a hassle to switch to the third user for a simple app install, at least I know where everything is if I want to find it, change it, or delete it.

    That being said, as a non-admin user you can still install apps on your user account. The system will simply tell you that you have to be an administrator, and prompt you for a admin name and password. Since you'll know those anyway, it's easy to do. It all depends on whether you can stick to your guns and do all your admin stuff using the admin account, and everything else using your personal one.
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Unless you are in the habit of wildly clicking on stuff, throwing random files in the trash or habitually installing applications/system mods/extensions from questionable sources. Then I would have to say using a non-admin account is rather unnecessary. You may opt for one guests can use on your Mac otherwise it seems to be a moot point. Since, most of the heavy damage you can do to your computer would still require an admin password to be entered. Those files are generally System files that are owned by "root".
  4. BaronvdB macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I agree...i created a admin account in addition to my normal account after seeing it suggested on a screencastsonline episode...i just deleted the admin account yesterday and gave my normal account admin privileges because it was getting to be a little too much of a hassle and I'm pretty much the only one that uses the machine anyway.
  5. DataThief macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Somewere in Washington State
    Famous last words before you post in these forums asking how you got that virus/malware on your system.

    /on soapbox

    Practicing safe computer use is not hard, you can do most everything on a standard account. The admin account is for admin propose only.

    /off soapbox

    sorry as a IT admin person this is a major bug of mine.
  6. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    I've been running with 2 accounts 3 if you count my wife's but she usually just uses my account, but spending most of my time in a non-admin account, for the last 3.5 years. I rarely find it to be any sort of hassle. If I try to move applications or install things a simple dialogue box pops up asking for the admin name/password, and the same for any system preferences that are usually reserved for admin.

    I have tried, on multiple occasions, to do this type of setup on a Windows XP box but am often thwarted by applications that want registry access whenever they are launched or exited, preferences that don't/cant get saved or various other access issues that come into play. I kept it up for almost a year at one point but I don't use my XP box as often as I used to so I've since abandoned my quest to be a safe Windows user...
  7. 7084 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2006
    But there aren't any real virus' for macs?

    I'm asking this because to be honest, I was perfectly fine having just the one admin account on my iBook for all these years. What are the actual advantages of having two accounts? I don't mess around with sys. files and I don't download dodgy stuff.

    Surely theres not much point in having two accounts if I just enter the admin/password every time I want to install something. Thats what I don't understand.
  8. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Sorry but as a normal computer user this is a major bug of mine. Having to wait for the gods of IT to grant me the priviledge of installing a simple piece of software! Hoping my sacrifice of the day is good enough so they'll actually do it when i need it! (I'll miss my first born... but at least i got labview installed!)

    On a mac there is no reason to create a standard account and an admin account. You need a password to install software as an admin anyway. The only difference is that it takes longer to enter the password if you have to go changing accounts.

    Also if you are stupid enough to infect yourself with a virus with only your admin account then you'll be just as stupid and install it when you log in as the admin account.

    You can practice safe accounting just as easily with one admin account as having to log into a second admin account.
    It made sense on windows XP to have dual accounts because software can install without asking you.
  9. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    Have you ever done this? I've never been asked for a password when installing and logged in as admin. When I'm in my normal account and installing a log-in dialogue box appears asking for the admin username and password. It costs me maybe 2 seconds of time.

    Sure you may be the only user of your computer, but what happens when a friend or someone else, needs to check something quickly? There are reasons other than viruses, or things that you yourself intentionally install to have a limited account for normal use.

    You can but it's easier to do with a limited account for normal use since your chances of you or someone else ("just need to check something quick") accidentally removing or deleting a critical app or file are lessened by limiting your access to the files.

    But it's a royal pain in the arse on XP to try to do anything with a limited account. About half of the programs I run on XP expect admin access to run or have proper access to the hardware/myriad of files that the program threw around on my system. My Quicken couldn't remember any of my preferences until I changed my account over to admin, launched, changed preferences, and exited, after that it seemed to remember things. I had a bunch of other programs for various grad school classes that only seemed to be able to run in admin mode, and a few that would complain if they couldn't write to the registry. Maybe I had something horribly wrong with my setup, but it seems that if a limited account can write to the registry, you've removed one of the key safeguards of a limited account.

    I'm not saying that it has to be done, or that running a single account is bad, some people do it and do fine, but it's no where near as much of a hassle to run 2 accounts as it was for me to try to do that on XP and for the most part I don't even realize I'm in a limited account 99% of the time on my PowerBook.

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