Standard users installing applications? Say welcome to the new reality

If you think that you have come a far way making sure all users are running as standard users you must stop and rethink. Well, having all users as standard users is very good from many perspectives but with coming challenges your efforts must not stop there. A growing problem is the fact that more and more applications install in the user space, i.e. in the \users\username\appdata directory instead of the traditional “Program files”.

Also Windows 7 contain Windows Installer 5.0 which sports a new feature which makes the software vendors easily make Windows Installer (MSI files) that install software in the user space instead of program files, and thereby not requiring the user to be administrator or even require a UAC prompt for credentials for an administrative account.

The standard users of course think this is great, meaning they after all can install and run for instance Google Chrome without needing to ask that restrictive IT department. From the IT departments view this fact that standard users can install and run applications is a concern.

The answer to take care of this problem is simply the new Windows feature AppLocker. To be honest it is somewhat like Software Restriction Policies (SRP) but whatever bad things you have heard about SRP you can forget about them. AppLocker contains new features that make the implementation and ongoing management very easy compared to Software Restriction Policies. More about AppLocker in the AppLocker walkthrough.

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