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Modify User Accounts

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Windows XP keeps a tight rein on who can do what by way of its user account groups. But running my PC as part of the default, all-powerful Computer Administrator group is risky; any malware that infiltrates my system may inherit the same privileges. Switching my account to the only other level available in Control Panel's User Accounts applet--Limited--ain't so great, either. When I attempt to install an app or perform other administrative tasks from a Limited account, I'm constantly stymied.

The fix: Fortunately, other user types exist between these arbitrary extremes, and Windows XP Pro lets me use them (these steps won't work in Home Edition). The Power Users group has fewer rights than the Computer Administrator group, making it safer, but it can still install more applications than Limited accounts. To add an account to the Power Users group, open Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance (if you're in Category View), Administrative Tools and launch Computer Management. In the left pane, double-click Local Users and Groups and select Users; in the right pane, double-click the user name whose rights you want to modify (see Figure 3). Select the Member Of tab, and click Add. Type Power Users in the 'Enter the object names to select' list box, and click OK.


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