Microsoft Surface Security

So, you have a Surface and now you’re wondering what you should do about security. Well, I’m happy to report that the Surface comes with good security right out of the box. These Surface security features include a built-in firewall, automatic updates and an anti-malware solution.

However, there are a few things you can do to make the security even better. The most important thing is to not use your administrator account day-to-day. If you do get hacked, someone can do a lot more damage if you are using an account with administrator rights.

Unfortunately, by default, the first account you created (and are probably using) is an administrative account. This makes it a bit tricky as you have likely setup email, Skydrive, installed a bunch of apps, and got it setup just the way you want it.

So, we’re going to create a new local admin account and change your existing account to a standard user. That way, you can just keep on using it as before with all of the same apps and settings. Lets get started…

Step 1: Make a local account

  • Open the Charm bar (swipe in from the right side)
  • Tap The Settings charm (the gear)
  • Tap Change PC Settings
  • When the Settings screen appears, select Users
  • Tap Add a User (under Other Users in the bottom right)
  • When the Add a User screen appears tap Sign in without a Microsoft account
  • There will be a screen that appears and explains the difference between a Microsoft account and a Local account. Review then tap Local account
  • At the next screen enter a name for your new administrator account (don’t use admin or administrator as it makes it easy for an attacker to guess the account has administrator rights)
  • Then enter and re-enter a password for your new account along with a password hint. Click Next
  • Click Finish

Step 2: Give your new account admin rights

  • Next, use the Search charm to look for “change account type
  • Tap the Change account type icon that appears
  • It will go to desktop mode and present you with a window listing the accounts you have configured. You should have the account you’re using, the account you just made and a Guest account.
  • Tap on the account you just created
  • Tap the Change the account type selection
  • Select Administrator then tap Change account type

Step 3: Change your existing account to a Standard user

  • Go back (the left arrow) so that you see all of the accounts then select your old account and set it to be a Standard user

Now your Surface is even more secure. For the most part, you’ll never miss the admin rights, even when installing software from the store. On the rare occasion you need them for something (for example if you’re going to create additional user accounts on your Surface) you’ll get a prompt. Just enter the username and password for the admin account you just made and it’ll work fine.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy, hit reply. 😉


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