Stop Running Windows with Administrator Rights?

You have got to be kidding me. I agree with Jeff Atwood that it
would be better if Windows users ran with normal user rights, but
Microsoft has made that almost impossible. Granted, if all you use your
PC for is surfing the web and checking email, then running under normal
user rights works fine. Unfortunately, if you do much more than that,
you will be faced with numerous problems. There is a lot of software out
there that will not work correctly if run under a normal user account.
On top of that, the multi-user features in Windows make it painful to
run without administrator rights. The situation has gotten better in
recent years, but until the problems disappear completely users will
continue to run with administrator rights.

I think most of the blame lies with Microsoft itself. For years Windows
did not support the concept of non-admin users. Developers could safely
assume that a user of their software would have full control over the
entire computer. In fact, Microsoft is one of the worst offenders when
it comes to software that does not work with normal user rights. Anybody
who has tried to get full debugging support in Visual Studio working
with a non-administrators account knows exactly what I am talking about.
Personally, I spent the better part of a week trying to work out all the
issues with Visual Studio before I finally gave up. It just was not
worth it. And do not get me started on the UAC feature in Windows Vista.
That “feature” is nothing more than a bad joke. Until Microsoft decides
to get their act together and implement a proper multi-user environment,
you can not expect other developers to build programs that work with
limited user rights.

For the record, I am an avid Linux user. As a part of it’s UNIX
pedigree, Linux has had multi-user and non-administrator user support
since it’s inception. I always run as a normal user in a Linux
environment, and I only switch to root when I need to perform system
administration tasks. Linux makes it fairly painless to quickly get
adminstrator rights when you need them and then drop them when
finished. That is what makes the inclusion of something like UAC so
baffling. This is a solved problem. I findit astounding that Microsoft
would ship a feature that is so obviously flawed when a a proven
solution already exists. In other words, the running-as-administrator
problem will continue to exist until Microsoft implements a proper
multi-user environment and forces all third-party developers to conform
to it.