Microsoft’s Lori Pierce, No longer running as admin

Lori Pierce has a good post with some links about how she’s no longer running as admin.

While this post points to some great resources, the fact that you need “resources” to make this work shows that all of us developers (not just the folks at MSFT) need to do more work.

Most end users don’t have the knowledge or patience to get things working properly with unprivileged accounts. Even if they did, the next time they tried and failed to install some new software, they’d revert to their old ways.

Unfortunately, it’s going to take some radical changes to make this the norm for home users. I think ideally, you could have a hardware switch on the side of your PC. Try to install some software without the switch in “admin mode” and it would advise you to switch to admin mode. Try to browse the internet with the switch in admin mode, and it would warn you with annoying popup boxes every 30 seconds that you’re running in admin mode. Maybe even put the switch on the keyboard. The hardware and software would have to cooperate, the OS would have to have a good hold on the hardware so that it couldn’t be spoofed by a virus. Maybe we could just reuse that CTRL-ALT-DEL interrupt.

Its a complicated solution, but people like being able to change the configuration of thier PCs, add software, try new things. That means installing software, drivers, etc. We just need some way to make sure that the user is the only one with the power to make these changes, and we need to make it easy.