Using Multiple User Accounts

Current operating systems, such as Linux, macOS and Windows, are designed as so-called multi-user systems, so that different users can assume different rights and roles. There is at least the distinction between standard users and administrators. Depending on the operating system and settings, there may be additional roles.

Standard users can access their own (or shared) files, use most of the installed software and change basic settings. However, they cannot install new software, change security-critical settings, or access the files of other users on the system. Such full access is limited to the administrator role. This role is required and requested whenever changes are made for all users or to security settings. In this way, unwanted changes to the system by users are prevented and, for example, access to the computer by malware is made more difficult.

  • Recommendations

    You should only work with the restricted rights of the standard user role and avoid administration or root rights (Linux) as far as possible. Otherwise, malware that would thus be given higher rights could also cause more damage. For employees of the University of Münster, the role of the standard user is automatically set for you on the service devices by your IVV.

    Especially when surfing or corresponding with e-mails, you should always work without administrative rights, since the risk of being infected by malware is highest here.

    If you administer a device yourself, set up additional user accounts to enable role separation. Only use the administrator role if you have to make absolutely necessary changes (e.g. install new software).