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Windows XP, Games, and Administrator Privileges? 201

Posted by Cliff
from the broken-privilege-requirements dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "I manage my kids' computer, running Windows XP Professional, with an iron fist. They have limited access rights as I do not want them accidentally deleting the wrong file or downloading trojan software. However, software products, particularly games, fight my user management schemes at every turn. Each user on the computer is member of the 'Gamers' group. This group has full access to the games directory, the place I install all of the game software. I did this since games often need to update configuration files or write save files. Despite these changes, I still run into problems. Our latest two games, Age of Mythology and Battlefield 1942, require administrator privileges irrespective of the file privileges. I have not been able to overcome the problem and it seems, based on Googling, that others are in the same boat. Fellow Slashdot readers, what have you done to overcome this problem?"
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Windows XP, Games, and Administrator Privileges?

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  • Teach them. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by userloser (707754) <dan.staticwaves@co@uk> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @05:38AM (#7752454) Homepage
    In the long term teaching them what they should and shouldn't do will prove to be the best option to achieve this.
    • Re:Teach them. (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, try to play soccer or something like that with them instead.
    • But that's not the point here...It's MS screwed up OS! Could you imagine the mess on the web if every webmaster needed kernel root permissions to run apache or Mysql? His point is that APPS of any kind..specifically games should not need "root" access after they are properly installed and configured just to play! That's the whole point of securing boxes...and the basic root of many of MS security bugs!!
  • short answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by nsebban (513339) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @05:39AM (#7752459) Homepage
    1- Dual Boot (WinXp for you + Win98SE for your kids)
    2- A ghost image of the win98SE partition
    3- Let them play
    4- Wait for them to say "Dad it doesn't work anymore !"
    5- Restore your ghost backup
    6- Goto 3

    Seems a bit dub, but it works better and it's less a pain than managing XP user rights.
    • Re:short answer (Score:4, Informative)

      by Decado (207907) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @07:32AM (#7752791)
      Or you could just use the system restore facility that you got free with Windows XP. Install your games, set a system restore point (start->programs->accessories->system tools->system restore) and give full admin access to the kids. Then when they mess anything up go back to your known good restore point. Thats a hell of a lot easier than dual booting and ghosting and you dont need any extra software to do it.
      • The problem I see with this is the slow degradation of the machine. Little things can get broken or at least cluttered over time, and since System Restore will loose the older "clean" pseudo-images, in the long run, you can still get burned badly if you rely only on System Restore. Besides, if you have to restore too far back in time, you loose the settings and changes that you want to keep!

        Oh, and System Restore isn't bullet proof... it's helped me a few times, and completely failed on others.
  • by Naffer (720686)
    I know it's not the answer you want to hear, but maybe the best thing to do would be to give your children administrative access. Not having full access drives me absolutly crazy. I was practicly on the verge of killing someone when I realized windows likes to create empty folders in "Program Files" and write protect them against any means of destruction.

    If you're still worried about your children mucking up your computer, I totally understand. I've troubleshooted so many computers that were dying of b
    • Re:Hrm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KDan (90353) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @07:11AM (#7752718) Homepage
      More to the point, stop struggling and realise that windows is by design a system which will fall over itself after a long enough period of time, and you WILL have to reinstall it sometime. So stop trying to delay that moment, and make sure that you can do that easily. The previous suggestion about ghosting the system in a stable state is good, but not the best because you will still have to keep track of what important updates you hadn't done when you made the ghost image.

      Probably the best solution would be to keep a CD-RW regularly updated with the entire list of drivers/service packs/updates that you need to install when you reinstall the computer, along with a list of the programs that must be reinstalled before any games (eg Office, any dev tools that you need, etc), and (this will be a shocker) teach your kids to do it!!! Then when the computer falls over, you can tell the kids that it's in part their fault, and that this is a good learning opportunity for them (and it is - you learn more about how a computer functions when rebuilding it from scratch than when using it), and so stick them on there for whatever time it takes and let them do it (under penalty of no gaming if they screw it up and you have to do it yourself, of course).

      The result will be kids who know more about PCs than just gaming, who will not need to pester their friends/parents to get their computer(s) set up, and who will be more computer-literate than most of their age group. And don't worry about the task being 'too complicated'. Don't underestimate your kids, they will pick it up in no time, and by the time the next version of Windows comes along they'll probably be the ones giving you tips on how to install your PC.

      Daniel
      • I was formatting my HD and reinstalling Dos 6.22 and Win 3.1 when I was twelve. Surely if I could do that (and get everything freaking working!! I hate memmaker), your kids could pop in a disk and reinstall XP.
        • Hehe, so was I. All that memory management shit made my head hurt. I had to hammer together some sick batch files to get games working. A different boot disk for each game. *SHUDDER*

  • by Drakino (10965) <{ten.ofniinim} {ta} {todhsals_d}> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @05:50AM (#7752488) Journal
    Unfortunatly a ton of programs do not adhere to the exact standards they should, and there really isn't a way around it. XP easially lets you grant someone full control, or none, but this dosen't mean every program is going to listen and act the same. The sad realty is to get anything done on a Windows box, you have to sit logged in as an admin. It's ironic that a Microsoft published game is one of the ones giving you pains...

    Though, to address your current problem, you could create a new user, use the policy manager to only allow one of the troublesome games to be run, and grant them admin rights. Then use the "Run As" feature of XP to run that program as this new user, from the kids login. Just keep an eye on where the game is saving files, as it could be doing so in the new users home folder somewhere.
  • Buy an Xbox (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Golthar (162696)
    At lot of games should also be available on an Xbox.
    Having one of those will save you the grief of having to maintain a system for gaming
    • I don't think this was a troll at all-

      Getting an Xbox has solved just about all of the problems I used to have on my PC. Now the computers run like they should, and the games don't crash.

      I think his suggestion was right-on.
  • by Captain Kirk (148843) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @05:54AM (#7752501) Homepage Journal
    I've a 10 and 8 year old who play Warcraft and Age of Mythology. My fix it to let them do what they want and accept the consequences it the system broke. Sure enough it wouldn't boot after a few months.

    Rather than rush to fix it, I spent a week doing nothing but said I "was doing research into how to fix the problem." The 1 week without games was sufficiently traumatic that there's been no problem since.
    • I actually just got into Warcraft about a month ago, and couldn't stop playing it until I beat it. A week without Warcraft could be seen as cruel and unusual punishment.
    • by PainKilleR-CE (597083) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:22AM (#7752924)
      Rather than rush to fix it, I spent a week doing nothing but said I "was doing research into how to fix the problem." The 1 week without games was sufficiently traumatic that there's been no problem since.

      This is actually what drove me to learn how to do an OS reinstall. As time went on, each time Windows ate itself, my dad would take longer and longer to get around to fixing it. Eventually, I got sick of waiting and did it myself. Within about two months I had him in complete understanding of the beauty of keeping data and OS on seperate drives, and now, many years later, my dad calls me when he wants information on how to do something or advice on new hardware.
      • This is actually what drove me to learn how to do an OS reinstall.

        How many times did you have to hit 'Next'?
      • OT, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sbma44 (694130)
        the data on a different drive thing makes sense for mp3s, movies, documents... but not for much else, at least under windows. The registry makes sure of that.

        I only mention this because I've had a lot of problems at work as a result of our server setup guy subscribing to this philosophy. Sure, a 6GB windows partition and a 40 GB data partition for programs sounds nice, but when C fills up you're hosed.

    • Rather than rush to fix it, I spent a week doing nothing but said I "was doing research into how to fix the problem." The 1 week without games was sufficiently traumatic that there's been no problem since.


      Were you researching, or just lying to your kids?
      If you're going to punish them, at least be up front and tell them so, and not passively, secretly penalize them.

      • by GeckoX (259575) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:55AM (#7753390)
        No kids ehh?

        It's all too obvious really.

        Here, I'll spell it out for you:

        He was giving his children an opportunity to learn the relationship between their actions and subsequent consequences, on their own.

        Again, the key word here is: LEARN

        • by 4of12 (97621) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:55AM (#7753888) Homepage Journal

          Exactly right on.

          I agree with the earlier poster, too, who was motivated to learn how to re-build his computer after crashes because, well, no one else had time to do it.

          I think that's a great way for kids to learn something practical as well as the moral lessons of actions/consequences, if you want something done you have to do it yourself, etc..

          The double edged sword, of course, is that when your sharp kid learns the intricacies of re-installing the OS from scratch, getting the settings right, etc. that they'll be empowered to see the Internet in all its ugliness, too.

          So the corollary is that, before you throw the installation CD and manuals and have your kid rebuild the computer, explain plainly the basic fact that much of the world is screwed up in these 23 different ways and that you'll see it all on the Internet.

          Arbitrary ages of 18 ought to be replaced by "whatever age someone is able to figure out how to rebuild a computer" IMHO. Yes, there are some people who ought never to be exposed to some stuff no matter how old they are... The age of understanding concepts should be the threshhold for driving, voting, consuming harmful addictive substances, etc. rather than some X years.

      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:03AM (#7753948) Journal
        Yeah...I have to agree.

        It's quite possible to do the exact same punishment while still telling them the truth. In the short term, you might produce more friction, but knowing that they can trust what a parent tells them is priceless.
    • I have tried this, though not necessarily due to deliberately ignoring their problem, but because I am busy and often dont get home from work until after my little brothers are in bed (thus cant fix the computers in their rooms.)

      They are way too typical- I have tried my damnedest to get them to understand "data goes on this drive/partition, we install programs on this drive..." to no avail. They just want to be ignorant- with my brothers I can just tell them and then when they ask for a reinstall blast a
  • by happylight (600739) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @05:57AM (#7752508)
    Use the secondary logon service. Right click on the game program short-cut, select properties, under the "Shortcut" tab click on advanced, then check the box that says "run with different credentials".

    It'll prompt you for the administrator password when you run it.
    • So the alternative to running as Admin is running as Admin?

      Erm? Shome mishtake, shurely?

      YAW.
    • by SurgeryByNumbers (726928) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @12:53PM (#7755161)
      Let me give you some more details on WinXP that will let you work around having your kids login as admin.

      1) Download (TweakUI) Powertools for WinXP from the Microsoft website.
      2) Create an admin login with the rights required to play the game, and use TweakUI to disable that account. No one will be able to actually login as that account.
      3) Set up the game to "run with different credentials," as outlinded above.
    • Similar idea to this. I wrote a little VB app that lets me run any program as admin, while logged into a user level account. Why not use "Run As", you ask? The problem, as people have mentioned, is that you have to supply a password every time you "Run As" (or put it in plain text in a batch file), which would either force the kids to keep pestering you, or you would have to give up the admin password, which would defeat the whole purpose. With an app like this, you could keep the password in the regist
  • Regmon + Filemon (Score:5, Informative)

    by EddWo (180780) <eddwo@hotpop . c om> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:10AM (#7752527)
    Use Regmon and Filemon from sysinternals.com to discover which files/keys the program is trying to modify and is failing on. Then adjust the ACLs on those files/keys so that the Gamers group has write access.

    One of the conditions for obtaining the "Designed for Windows XP" Logo is that the program must be capable of being run under a Limited user account. If MS's own software isn't capable of this then you ought to report it to them as a bug.

    The situation with XP home which only has "Limited" and "Administrator" account types really does not help people adopt more secure working practices.

    The situation ought to improve in future but at the moment it does not seem to be something that most developers test against.
    • It says:
      """
      Simply run FileMon (filemon.exe). You must have administrator privilege to run FileMon.
      """
      In which case, I'm not going to see which ones my g/f's CD burning software barfs on because it won't barf on them? What's the point in that? (under NT4.0)

      YAW.
    • Re:Regmon + Filemon (Score:2, Informative)

      by Xiadix (159305)
      There is a good write up about how one person deals with this here:
      How to run as non admin [develop.com]

      There was also a discussion about this on Broadband Reports
      Runing as admin [dslreports.com]
  • VMWare (Score:2, Informative)

    by sigxcpu (456479)
    Try using VMWare.
    you can isolate the game in its virtual copy of windows and grant it only limited acces to the real Network/Drives/System.

    • Re:VMWare (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gyler St. James (637482) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:46AM (#7752633)
      Have you even TRIED to play a game like BF1942 in a frickin VM window? I have. It's not viable. Let them play DOOM, sure. Quake is fantastic in a VM. Max Payne 2 tries to run...keyword: tries. Never does. Love playing games at 1fps.
      • In fact I have actually done performance tests of VMware (at work).
        It is slower then running native.
        You can greatly improve the speed of many applications by assigning a raw partition to your VM.
        (which allows the VM to directly access the disk without the need to copy data from the host OS.)
        The same goes for Networking.
        However, I have not tested graphics performance (and I think there might be a problem there)
        • Re:VMWare (Score:2, Informative)

          by Edgewize (262271)
          VMware does not pass emulate your video card's features, it just uses a simple framebuffer. Since the virtual OS only sees a SVGA adapter, it cannot access your hardware 3D acceleration. So it is forced to emulate all the texturing, bump mapping, lighting, etc. through software. Obviously this leads to unacceptable game performance.
    • Re:VMWare (Score:2, Informative)

      by jmlyle (512574)
      VMware does not have good graphics virtualization yet. They are looking at it.

      From a VMware Technical Support guy:

      There is no hardware acceleration available with the VMware virtual video card. Hardware provided 3-d acceleration won't work at all, last I checked.

      Windows Direct X provides software emulation where hardware acceleration is not available; unfortunately this is *very slow* and some/most 3d games don't even run with software emulated acceleration being the only 3d available.

      This is a feature
  • Patches (Score:5, Informative)

    by NexusTw1n (580394) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:16AM (#7752543) Journal
    Microsoft appear to have a patch [microsoft.com] for this problem, I don't know if that will fix it for you.

    Other ideas include giving "Gamers" full access to the "Program Files" directory in case it's trying to write there rather than your games directory.

    If that doesn't work then perhaps mail the CD back and ask for a refund. There is no reason any application, least of all a game should require admin rights for normal operation, and if it does, the software is not fit for the purpose it was sold for.
    • by rufo (126104) <rufo@@@rufosanchez...com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:14AM (#7753543)
      No, they don't. It says right on that page to "try logging in as an Administrator" before it says to install the fix.

      The reason the games need this is because of the CD copy protection; they need to access the drive directly to be able to see whether the bad sectors/whatever hidden data they're looking for are there. You could try cracking the games and seeing if that helps, as I'm pretty sure that's the only they need Admin access - a good site for cracks is GameCopyWorld [gamecopyworld.com]. I often use them because I'm a lazy bastard who doesn't want to risk ruining his (original!) CDs by switching them around all the time, and I've never had a problem with any of the cracks I've downloaded from there.

      One other possible method.. Isn't there a way to have Windows "run as" a different user (ala +s on UNIX)? So you could have it run as some special Admin-priveleged user, while keeping them in the non-Admin account most of the time.

      • Isn't there a way to have Windows "run as" a different user (ala +s on UNIX)?

        No, Windows doesn't have setuid executables, but if it did that would be a quick fix to his problem. The "run as different user" feature prompts the user for the target account's password before running. The proper solution would be to give the account access to read those non-filesystem sectors on the CD, but I have no idea what API games use to implement this.

        It also may be difficult to reimplement the "run as" feature

      • I don't prefer to get "cracks" but I do use Farstone GameDrive to "mirror" my game disks on the drive. It was only $20 and they keep it fairly up to date with new games. Also, I've found CloneCD [it's shareware!] has added support for loading images as drives too. I don't know if that would fix the problems though because they still create "drives" that are set up to go thru normal "drive" APIs, so they may have exactly the same problems that a poster above described about trying to directly access hardw
  • Is there a Microsoft document that defines the boundaries between the operating system and user-installed applications? I haven't run into any problems with the Windows applications that I have written, but I haven't written any particularly large and complex programs for Windows. I've always assumed that files in the installation directory, and the directory itself, should be treated as read-only. Any new or modified files should be in the user's file space.
  • by Domini (103836) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:18AM (#7752548) Journal
    I've got the same setup for family of mine where they only use internet browsing and mail as multiple users. (They don't even use fast user switching.) And even though they all use restricted accounts, they still seem to be able to corrupt system registry hive files.

    My advice is not to even waste your time with this. I'm sure your time is worth so much that you could have afforded another PC, or at the very least Hard drive imaging and restore software.

    It's best to let kids loose on a machine, and if they mess it up, you just restore it... it's their (save game) loss.
    They will learn about all those vital microsoft tricks like backing up your important data and do not install all that junk.

    It's also imporant then to get them each a machine, but since you will not be wasting time admining those machines anymore, I'm sure you will have a lot more time and thus money.

    I mean, really, since Win NT 4.0 the graphics drivers have had admin rights... and you are still denying this to your kids! ;)

    I think the best admin policy is education of the user. Also keep a system restore handy with software such as Norton Ghost (with all the propper patches already installed to protect against internet worms etc.) as well as good anti-virus software. Believe me, this is the cheaper solution..
  • 'kids computer' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xmple (704367) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:21AM (#7752554)
    If it is truly the kids computer (so you have another one with all your important data on it), then I should let them have full privileges, and let them explore the computer on their own.
    How else will they know what a computer can 'really' do, if you just let them have restricted access to a single game directory.

    Let them explore, let them familiarize with the computer, they learn from their mistakes: if you do something wrong, like deleting system files, you probably wont try that again.

    When my parent bought me (well it was ment to be for the whole family) a 286 computer with dos installed, I knew nothing, and neither did my parents.
    so I explored, and I found a 'help' command, and a 'dir' command, and I found different types of files (the ones you can execute, and others)...

    So once again:
    It's not that bad when something goes wrong, format the disk, and reinstall.

    However I would recommend on restrincting access to the internet, so they can't accidently download malware.
    • It's not that bad when something goes wrong, format the disk, and reinstall.

      Or create a HD image after each installed game (CDs are cheap, so even if you install a game every day it won't be a problem) and use that. And let the kids back up their saved games, so they learn some backup strategies right from the start ;) Like the parent (no pun intended) said: allow your kids to earn experience (not just in their RPG games) by making mistakes. It's good advice.
    • "However I would recommend on restrincting access to the internet, so they can't accidently download malware."

      Or better yet, set up a transparent proxy on the net connection to send all net access trhough squid and squidguard. Log all traffic (yes, I know, no freedom for the kid etc...) and set up squidguard to return a detailed error when the kids try accessing anywhere you don't want them to go. Yeah, they may find a way around it, but if they do, congratulate them - they're actually learning something u
  • Check your ACLs (Score:5, Informative)

    by stevenbdjr (539653) <steven@mrchuckles.net> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:38AM (#7752607) Homepage

    These kinds of problems are most certainly related to file and/or registry permissions. Working at a K-12, I'm often troubleshooting software that won't run as a normal user. I've found the majority of the problems are related to poorly written software trying to add and modify files to the SYSTEMROOT directory (usually c:\windows or c:\winnt). The rest are usually solved by opening up permissions on the applications registry keys under HKLM.

    Get yourself a copy of RegMon and FileMon from Sysinternals. You'll need to logon as an Administrator, start up reg or filemon, then do a RunAs on the application to run it as a normal user. You'll probably want to filter the output of reg/filemon to only show activity of the app itself, otherwise you'll be looking at all activity on the system. Look for ACCESS DENIED errors in places where normal users can't usually write. Slowly open up those areas to modify access until you've found a solution.

    • Re:Check your ACLs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by curious.corn (167387)
      Good answer but it makes me wonder... how is this weeding trough the registry simpler than unix administration? It's no wonder Microsoft calls it the Registry Hive... it's a Hornet Nest not much different than /etc
      Sorry for the flamebait, it's just something that crossed my mind reading your comment.
      • Good answer but it makes me wonder... how is this weeding trough the registry simpler than unix administration?

        Dynamically inherited, fine (ish) grained ACLs. The only trick is figuring out what users need access to, managing the permissions one you know is much easier.

        it's a Hornet Nest not much different than /etc

        Unix has a.. what.. 30 year history of system/user separation. Windows, games especially, still lives with the (pre-)Win9x mindset that doesn't have (useful) user separation.

        Shit, it's b

  • Power Users (Score:4, Informative)

    by tiny69 (34486) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @06:55AM (#7752668) Homepage Journal
    Add them to the "Power Users" group. From Computer Management:
    Power Users possess most administrative powers with some restrictions. Thus, Power Users can run legacy applications in addition to certified applications
    A large number of programs want to be able to write and modify files located in system directories as well as make changes in the registry. Normal Users are not allowed to do this.

    "Start --> Help --> Search --> Power Users" to get a list of the things Power Users are able to do and what they are restricted from doing.

    • Re:Power Users (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Simon (815)
      Add them to the "Power Users" group. From Computer Management:

      ummm... The Power Users group also has too much power to screw the machine up.

      Go not unto /. for advice, for you will be told both yea and nay (but have nothing to do with the question)

      Or in this case just plain miss the point. We are trying to stop the computer from getting trashed here.

      --
      Simon

      • Also XP home doesn't have "Power Users"

        The point this guy is making is great! Where do all the worms and spyware and viruses come from? Insecure boxes!!! what is he trying to do? Secure the box...All the kids want it to play some Boxed games, and maybe surf a little web. They have zero need to be using admin accounts for these purposes! That's what we all say, but when the guy says "it doesn't work" we all ridicule him! come on guys!

        This is exactly why home users always leave their machines wide

  • by Molina the Bofh (99621) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @07:59AM (#7752867) Homepage
    Are you a BOFH or not ? Just because they're your kids, they shouldn't go away without a good LART [astrian.net] .

  • Create a shortcut and use "RunAs" to run it under an administrator account.

    Works fine for me for other games.
  • No Full Access (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shihar (153932) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:18AM (#7752913)
    I understand the sentiment that people think you should just teach them to not do stupid things and give them full access. While that is nice in theory, it is hard to teach children, especially younger children the important lessons without burning through a few computers. Unfortunately, the brighter they are, the more likely they are to break something. On occasion I head home and every time I do I have to fix two machines FILLED with Trojan programs and spyware. I educate, but there is only so much I can do. Kids are stupid and can be tricked, pure and simple. If you have a shared computer that does serious work, then it means constantly fighting the crap that gets on just to keep important things running. If someone could answer this question, I would appreciate so I don't have to constantly be battling to keep these computers working.

    The best solution of course is to get them their own computer to use and destroy. This is fine if your kid just wants to beat around the Internet as you can buy a cheap POS computer for pocket change these days. However, if you have a young aspiring gamer it becomes much more difficult, as a gamer needs something with power behind it. Dropping a couple thousand dollars just for a kid to have his own computer no one else uses is a rather expensive proposition.

    What I would REALLY like answered is if there is a way on an XP machine to keep Trojans and spyware programs out. Yes, I know adaware and spybot can clean this stuff, but I have found that most of the time it is far too late and the damage is done. Does anyone have any good suggestions for keepings this crap off in the first place?
    • Sure, no problem. I've been a Windows user for 10+ years and despite never using a single antivirus program, have never gotten a single trojan or spyware prog. How? First, get a good firewall; if you have a network router, that should suffice - otherwise, download ZoneAlarm [zonelabs.com]. Second, find good alternatives for any Microsoft software you use that must access the Internet (in other words, ditch IE and Outlook). Configure ZoneAlarm to deny internet access to all other programs. Now just don't run untrusted exec
  • by tvadakia (314991) <tvadakia.gmail@com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:21AM (#7752921) Homepage
    One other thing you might consider is the fact that Windows XP initiates the Compatibility Engine on a lot of games. One game I can think of right off the bat that does is The Sims. A user needs to be either in the Power Users or the Administrators group in order to run a game or any other application with this engine included in use.

    There are a few things you might consider doing. First would to be to google to figure out how one might add the "lesser" users to be able to use the compatibility engine, or at least to run those particular applications (games) with elevated privledges. Another is to write a simple script to use the "runas" command to automatically run a program as administrator using a cached password (in the registry) to run the game in question and then creating a shortcut to that script on the desktop (or wherever) to run the game.

    One other thing you can do is add your kids to the power users group then use the Local Security Settings mmc and right-click on "Software Restriction Policies" and chose "Create New Policies." You then can start creating rules of what directories are accessable on the computer (make sure in the "Enforcement" policy to choose "All users except local administrators", you don't want to lock yourself out). You can refine which folders they are granted or denied access to by right-clicking on the "Additional Rules" folder and choosing a new "hash" rule to specify a particular application itself, or a new "path rule" to specify an application path (which'll include EVERYTHING in all subfolders within that path.)

    These are just a few ideas to get you started down the path.
  • by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:28AM (#7752951) Homepage Journal
    I have found this to be the case, too. I didn't want my gf's son (an 8 year old) having admin access on my XP machine, but half the damn games required admin access.

    This required rightclicking on the game's shortcut, selecting 'run as' and calling me over to type in my admin password... several times a day! )(#@()$*@#()$&@#$@#

    Its not that programs want to write to the registry, or system files, or anything else.

    It simply seems to be the cd copy protection... most games have various types of cd copy protection (i dunno, daemon tools can emulate most of them when it mounts iso's, but anyway). It seems the games require admin access to perform their little sneaky copy protection checks on the CD...

    Personally i think this is a real pain in the damn ass (why do we need the CD in there anyway! The game is already installed FFS) and now we require to give all kids admin access on XP machines just to play games! Its a damn nightmare.

    No wonder we hate software manufactureres for all their sneaky copy protection, serial keys, product activation, and now needing admin access to run anything.... *sighs*

    I'm glad i bought my titanium powerbook. And last week i bought a used G4 cube. Forget windows....

    D.
  • You will probably find that many many games require essentially "root"/Administrator/System access to hardware like CD players to verify whether there is really a CD in the drive. It is stupid and sucks. There are a couple of programs that allow you to mount CD images on disk...but I don't know how shady or legitimate such software is...and I still think some games somehow really really touch hardware...they do some out of band calls directly to hardware or something.
  • You can try configuring the program to Run as the Administrator. I've found this helps in many cases.

    I like the ideas that have been posted of using drive imaging software to do restores of something thats completely FUBAR. While Norton Ghost works very well, there are Open Source options that are a little more work. There was a /. story on such software a few weeks back. Keep your data on a separate drive / partition.

    If the hard drive is large enough, a multi boot system is an option. One install le
    • I was recently at the Adrenaline Zone gaming "cafe" in NYC and was impressed that their systems completely restored themselves on reboot. It was apparently instantaneous, and games were definitely installed on the local drive and not run from a server. I'm sorry I have no details beyond this clue, but perhaps you should ask you local internet/gaming cafe what they use, because apparently they've solved this problem quite well in those industries.


      -m

  • If you feel like investing the time, and have another machine that can act as a Domain Server, Group Policies could help a bunch with this. Join the computer to the domain, setup the logins for your kids, and set them up as administrators. You can then configure Group Policies for their logins to strip away their access to anything you don't want them getting into. Pretty much everything from preventing desktop wallpaper changes to preventing them from running Admin Console is available.
  • I've seen a lot of posts saying a lot of things, but none of them has mentioned the ability that XP has to run an app under different credentials, for that single app.

    If you right click on the application's shortcut, in the "Advanced..." menu you can check to allow it to run under different credentials. Now, when the kids start up their game, they'll get prompted with a user login screen, or choose to run under their own username. This would require you to log them in as an Administrator or similar, but
  • I'm not sure if this has been posted or not, but try this (this is how it works in W2K, dunno about XP):
    1) Make a copy of the admin account and make the password something easy for the kids to remember.
    2) Go into the local security policy, add the account to the "Deny Logon locally" entry under "Local Policies/User Rights"
    3) Give the password to your kids and teach them how to do the "right click + run as" thing.

    This way, they can run the programs when they need to, but they can't log in using that account
  • I ran into this problem on my girlfriend's PC (my own games PC has 98 on it - I don't want all that Fisher Price style garbage taking up CPU cycles - I ned all the frame rate I can muster!). I created 2 users, both with admin rights. I installed a game she bought ("Harry potter and the strangely boring FP collectathon" or something)under her user id. It won't start. However - here's the wierd bit - log in under any other user id and it works OK - even users created *after* the game was installed on the
  • Many newer titles (like Halo PC) run just fine in LUA scenarios. The only exception is of course patching the game, which should be done by the trusted authority (i.e., parent) anyways.

    In the future check for and insist that all games you purchase are LUA compliant. Let the publisher know this matters to you.

    Remember, change starts with us - the consumer.
  • What I do is to have machines set up specifically for games. On these windows gaming consoles everyone is an administrator. I retain a copy of the image of the last good install so that I can go back that to very quickly in the event of 'oops'. If you only have 1 'good PC' and you want to do work on it as well as play? Just dual boot and store your data files on a file server, which can be your old PC with an over-sized harddrive.
  • Just use the run program as another user option and let the game run as administrator.
  • Stop using XP, embrace an operating system that you can actually secure.
    • This is, unfortunately, completely unhelpful to the user we're dealing with here. The games in question do not run properly under GNU/Linux or BSD, so I fail to see the point of your reply.
      Maybe that's the reason Linux isn't being embraced by that many desktop users-the elitist attitude of preachy geeks.
      Your post did little to assist this man at all.
  • Install VMware workstation 4 [vmware.com]. The only disadvantage is the $299 price tag.

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