One of XP's biggest security holes is in the implementation of user profiles. Administrators are given far too much access to the system, so once a piece of malware gets on your system it can wreak havoc. Vista has fixed this particular hole with User Account Control, which reduces the basic level of access for administrators to that of standard users (Vista's equivalent of XP's limited user).
In normal day-to-day use, administrators are running with the same levels of access as standard users. When you need more access - for example, to install a program or access a system tool like Disk Defragmenter - Vista pops up a warning dialog that must be clicked in order for that program or process to be temporarily granted administrative privileges.
It's a great idea - one that Apple implemented first in MacOS X - and it's not out of reach for XP users. To get a similar level of system access to Vista in XP, just follow the step-by-step guide below.
If the "Run as" scenario sounds like too much hassle, use [Win] + [L] to switch users each time you need to run an administrative task, then log on as your administrator.
Another alternative is to try RunAsAdmin
), which lets you run programs as an administrator without having to enter your credentials. It's simpler, but less secure than our method.
Limited users can't use the "Run as" command in conjunction with program installers with the MSI file extension - you'll need to install these through your administrative account.