What is better: Having an administrator account or the other one?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 66217, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    I have messed up a lot of things with my system, so I am going to make a fresh install of OS X, and would like to start from the beginning making things right.

    So my question is if it's better to have an administrator account or a normal limited account?
    I would be the only user of the Mac.

    And oen more, right now I have XP installed. Should I wait for Vista to come out? I mean, if I install XP and then want to intall Vista, would it be difficult?


  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005

    With Windows it is always highly recommended not to do an "upgrade" install and to wipe your Hard Drive and start again as Windows is a lot more stable if you do.
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I think that having your account setup as the 'administrator' would be the best option. :)
  4. TheBobcat macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2006
    East Lansing, Michigan
    Why would you want just a limited account on OSX? I think if there's only one user it has to be an Admin too.

    And about the XP/Vista thing, you should be able to upgrade as you would on a normal compy, but it is always recommended that you wipe and do a clean install on the partition or drive.

    I've done both, and would recommend a clean install.
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6

    Right, but you could create a second account and use that one as your main account...I think that this is what the OP is asking about. :)
  6. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Depends how paranoid you are ;)

    I have an Administrator account set up for troubleshooting etc

    And a standard user account for day to day use. Fast User Switching means that it's rarely a bother to move between them. I have an folder alias set up on both desktops to the Shared Folder so that I can drop an install file/instructions into it and see them in the other account quickly. I can still run Software Update from the standard account - it just means that I have to enter my Admin name and password.

    Why? Because if any malware does end up spreading in the wild for the Mac, it's most likely just to affect the current user. If that user is an admin, there's more scope for something going wrong more seriously across the board. So I split them out.
  7. 66217 thread starter Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    Exactly what I meant:)

    I'm really not very paranoid about geting malware or a virus. What I am afraid of is of myself:eek: I am not very expert in OS X, and I don't want to mess again moving things I shouldn't, etc.
    But it seems the way to go is being administrator. Maybe I'll need to contain myself from moving system things.
  8. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Kirkland, WA
    It is pretty hard to mess stuff up in OSX, If you shouldn't move a folder it will not let you 99% of the time. Anything in the system folder should not be moved and most of the other file that shouldn't be messed with are invisible unless you use "ls -a" in the terminal or have a 3rd party program to do it.
  9. mklos macrumors 68000


    Dec 4, 2002
    My house!
    True, also if it does allow you to do it, it will prompt for the administrator password. Just kinda keep this in mind, if OS X asks you for a password and you don't know why its asking, then you're probably doing something you shouldn't be doing. The main thing you would be entering a password for is running updates, or installing apps. Other than that, OS X shouldn't prompt for a password. There are a few apps out there that prompt for a password, but I would make sure with someone else that they aren't destructive apps.
  10. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I use a non-admin account for day to day stuff, and an admin account which is only used to install software that was not designed to Apple's security model (Google Earth, most Adobe applications, App Zapper).

    Running as an admin is not a good idea, even though at the moment there's not a lot of malware for OS X. If your account is an admin, you are in Unix group "admin" which can do a bit of harm w/o any password prompt at all (if you know much about Unix you can prove this to yourself easily enough).

    It's doubly silly because Apple makes it extremely easy to work in non-admin mode. If you want to install (most) software, just do it - OS X will prompt you for an administrative account username and password. The only time it's an issue is, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, when installing a few apps that diverge from Apple's security model for one reason or another (with Adobe it's activation-crap related).

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