Sunday, August 27, 2006

Developing as a non-admin

I just got my new, shiny Lenovo T60p lap top. Since I had to reinstall my development environment, anyway, I decided to try to run as a non-admin.

The sad, short story is that it didn't work out too well.

The slightly longer story contains the pieces that didn't work:
  • Windows Update: Maybe it did work, after all. I am now an admin and can't see any new critical changes. But then it could be my Dorry-like memory (you know, the heroess from Finding Nemo): I think I added myself to the Admin group, re-logged on and ran Windows Update. Anyway, as a non-admin I could runas Internet Explorer as admin and run Windows Update, but not without strange error messages. And another thing: I prefer to download the changes and decide when to install. How do I do that as a non-admin? Seems like I can download, but after that there's no way to actually do the install.
  • Copying files from my old laptop: Not so much the actual copying, but I got trouble with file access and ownership. Windows let me take ownership, or so it seems, but the process aborts after half a second and without any messages. So did it work? In some places, yes, but there were folders and files I could read, but not move.
  • I like Unlocker. When I try to do something with a locked file, it pops up with the locking process and provides unlocking options. It failed with a messsage saying something about not being able to debug.
  • Installing msi's is cumbersome. I didn't find a workaround on that one, so I had to runas the command prompt as admin, cd to the msi folder and then run it.
There were a few more issues, but my I struggled with problems on how to run things as an admin, and strange failures when I did. It seems like Windows is not designed for this kind of usage.

I haven't experienced any problems in the past, running as an admin. No viruses, no hijacked homepages, and my web apps run as ASPNET, so I know immediately when access rights is a problem.

But I like the concept. My hope is Windows will support this better in the future.

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