Windows Vista introduced User Account Control (UAC) as a security mechanism for Windows operating environments. UAC limits application software to standard user privileges, until an administrator authorizes an increase in privilege level. This is to ensure that certain important changes like installing device drivers, changes to system or program files, installing or uninstalling applications etc., are authorized by an administrator.
Though this added security layer is a welcome feature, several disliked the idea and wanted to tweak windows vista to disable UAC permanently. But I would not suggest turning off UAC, even if you are the administrator on your Vista installation. Keeping UAC alive, will enhance PC Security and ensure that nothing changes in your system without your notice.
UAC For Windows XP:
But what if you happen to use Windows XP? There is smart UAC that provides UAC for Windows XP. It automatically determines, according to its settings, if a certain program’s action can be allowed or not.
Then there is another useful tool for windows XP called suDown, that makes using low privileged accounts in Windows XP easier. Low privileged accounts are an effective security layer against harmful viruses, worms, spyware and malware. If some malicious program manages to get past your antivirus or firewall programs or break in through an un-patched security hole of your web browser, email client or operating system, it still finds itself in an unfriendly low privileged environment, where the possibilities of replicating and doing harm are quite limited.
This program has been named suDown as it transforms your original Administrator account to a Sudoer account which is still an administrative account, but runs in a low privileged environment. This approach provides you with extra security against malware and other unwanted programs during everyday work and also gives you easy access to higher privileges anytime you need them.
How to use suDown?
SuDown is similar to sudo in UNIX, where an user is allowed to execute a command with superuser privileges, but within his own context. With suDown, you can install and run applications under the context of your user account and not with another user account.
Transforming your user account into a Sudoer account is as easy as placing it in the so-called “sudoers” local group and suDown takes care of the rest. You must restart your computer after adding your own user account to the sudoers group. To remove an account from sudoers group, go to Control Panel >> Administrative Tools, right click on Computer Management, select “#sudo Computer Management.lnk” and enter your user account password.
Privilege elevation in the low privileged environment can be evoked through the “sudo” program which is available from the command line and with the right-click context menu. The “sudo” command authenticates you with the password of your user account and executes the given application in the context of your user but with administrative permissions. It also caches your password for 5 minutes so running multiple applications with high privilege is comfortable enough.
Free download Sudown from here and enhance windows XP Security. Ensure that you have the latest .NET framework installed on your PC for Sudown to work properly.