Operating Systems have levels of permissions which separate accounts for system management from accounts for everyday use. We call such privileges "administrative access." Anyone using administrative access may unintentionally cause problems on the computer itself or on the network. This memo of understanding serves three purposes:

  1. To warn you of the risks associated with administrative accounts
  2. To offer guidelines for the use of your administrative account
  3. To define IT's role and your role in the support of your computer in regards to administrative privileges

Risks associated with using an administrative account:

  • installing software that, while harmless itself, interferes or is incompatible with other software loaded on the system causing something to fail
  • running software, including installation scripts, which interfere or corrupts the operating system
  • changing system preferences, causing the operating system or other applications to fail
  • inadvertently contracting a virus or engaging other malicious software

Guidelines to follow while using your administrative account:

  • Always use an account with fewer privileges when it is sufficient to do so. Use your least privileged account in the normal course of work.
  • While logged in as administrator, specifically avoid using email, messaging tools, and browsing websites as this activity presents a greater danger of malicious software being transmitted to your computer.
  • Administrative passwords must be different from all other passwords, and must not be shared or written down. Never transmit a password through email. Information Technology will never ask you for your password.
  • Do not change the account or related template accounts in any way.
  • As with every Fort Lewis College owned computer, antivirus software configured for automatic updates and regular operating system updates are required.
  • Prepare for the possibility that your computer may have to be re-imaged by storing data files on the network (your M: drive or O: drive)

Support Statements for computers with administrative accounts enabled:

  • By taking on administrative rights to Fort Lewis College owned computers, faculty and staff share some of the responsibility for support of the system. Client Services with the assistance of  administrative users responsible for the system will work together to troubleshoot problems arising after installation or configuration of software.
  • If the operating system or basic functionality of a system appears compromised, Information Technology's policy is to reinstall the basic system image for the computer. This can result in loss of data. Client Services will not schedule a re-imaging until the faculty or staff member has given his/her consent. Faculty and staff may choose to discuss the re-imaging decision with the Client Services Manager.

Please fill out an Administrative Access Memo of Understanding.