These days it’s more or less recommended practice to use your computer from a limited account for day to day use. On Linux, this is standard procedure but on Windows a lot of people still use their system under the Administrator account. I certainly don’t disagree with the suggestion to use a limited user account.
Under Linux, I use a limited user account. On Windows, I use the Administrator account.
Firstly, I don’t think running your computer under a limited user account provides much extra protection. The most important thing, to me, on my computer is my data – my work, photos and music. I’m not too bothered about my software as if I ever had to wipe my computer, I could reinstall it all again.
As far as I am concerned, the worst thing a malicious program could do would be to ransom or delete all my work, photos and music. I don’t care if it deletes all the programs or renders the system unbootable – I can always reinstall it. For normal home users it may be more of a pain to have to start again but there are some pretty decent software packages today to get your data.
So whilst using a standard account makes it harder for someone to compromise your whole system, it’s just as easy to compromise your data which is what really matters (IMO). For that reason, I still use the Administrator account on Windows.
On my system, I also have several other accounts configured for family members. I know they won’t be installing any programs but yet I have given them Administrator accounts. This is because when I tried it with normal user accounts there were all kinds of problems with the printer not working properly, applications breaking, etc. It’s a lot less hassle on Windows to use an Administrator account. And the trade-off in security isn’t too great.
On Linux there is no reason to be using the root account every day because all software for Linux is designed to work under standard user priviledges. Hopefully Vista will change this for Windows.