Running Games with XP User Accounts

  Inside Edge 09:13 19 Sep 2006


I run a Home Network using Win XP SP2 with user accounts set up for each of my kids. I do this to try to protect the PCs andd the network against any accidental screw-ups.

The problem I have is that a number of games - Sims is a good example - won't allow full game play unless the user is logged in as administrator. This seems to be because the game set up involves writing to files and/or directories that nomal users don't have rights to access. In Sims this meams that the player can't create new families, change neigbourhoods or save the game at the end of a session amongst other restrictions - i.e. it's not a lot of use !

The options the administrator has to give additional access to other users seem to be of no help. I either have to give them full rights, or none at all. My only option is to allow them to play under my login, which rahter defeats the object of user accounts.

I tried contacting EA games for advice, but didn't get any useful help; has any one out there found a way around this problem, ....or am I missing a trick somewhere ?

There are no issues with playing any games whatsoever whilst logged in as administrator, so I don't think the PC specs are the problem.

Any advice will be gratefully received.


  gudgulf 10:13 19 Sep 2006

If you are using XP Home version then there is little you can do.....The User account level is basically useless.You will have to allow Administrator rights.

If you have XP Pro then you can set up various types of user groups such as "Power User" which has many of the Administrator rights but does have some restrictions

My own children have a pc which is set up specifically for their games/programs,ie it is not networked to any other pc and does not have permanent internet access...I connect it as and when needed.

I have no intention of networking their pc when they do need full internet acess stays seperate from my pc.That way when they screw things up it's their work that is in danger,not mine.

  Inside Edge 11:20 19 Sep 2006

I run XP Pro on the "host" PC in the network, but only XP Home on the kids ones. I did look at upgrading to Pro, but there appears to be no economic upgrade pack from microsoft. I also noted that the Power User profile has a pretty free rein too. Your suggestion of disconnecting from the Web will be some insurance - I guess I could also up the security settings on Norton. I'm as much concerned to prevent them "wandering" into set-up areas of Control Panel when they get bored with gaming as anything.

I'd hoped someone might have managed to change the location of saved games and game settings away from the Windows directory/folder - I'll leave this thread open in case there's any other ideas out there.

Many thanks for your prompt response

  gudgulf 12:26 19 Sep 2006

Another line of defense is to back up images of the main and/or evey pc to an external drive with a program such as Acronis True Image.

That way it is a simple matter to recover to a recent configuration.

The problem of the all or nothing approach with Admin/user accounts in XP is being addressed in Vista I believe....but that will be far from a cheap option.

There are some games that will run from their installation folder without being "installed" on Windows....some save to the My Documents folder and some in their Game root folders.

I found that out when I reformatted Windows a few years ago with most games installed on a second hard drive...many of them ran from the Game executable in the game folder..even though they had no entries in the Windows registry.

However many games wont do that.....and I don't know about the SIMS.

A way of finding out would be to copy the Game folder to a new location,then uninstall the game from windows...then open the copied folder and click on the game executable file and see if it runs.If it does try with both an Administrator and user account.

It means going to a lot of trouble though,and it might not work.........wouldn't it be nice if the Game developers had got around to configuring games so they could be run from a user account or Microsoft found a way of adding permissions to programs so that you could give certain programs the right to run under a User account in XP Home........oops,there I go,daydreaming again!

  Inside Edge 13:09 20 Sep 2006

I'll the idea of moving the game folder a try, it's not too much effort. My lad asked if he could buy and install an Expansion Pack for SIMS and I noted that the manufacturer recommends that you uninstall and re-install the whole program and any previous expansion packs if you add a new one, so I can try your suggestion at the same time.

I doubt I'll be among the first to install Vista, so if all else fails, I'll have to give'em access and make sure my back-ups are in order.

Many thanks for your responses.

  gudgulf 14:10 20 Sep 2006

Ther is another option.......if you right click the shortcut to the game there should be a "Run As" context menu.

If you select this you will get two run with the current user or to run as a diiferent user,which you select from a drop down menu in the user box.

From there you can choose to use an Administrator account for just that program.You will need to log in to your account in the "Run As" dialogue box for this to take effect.

The Downside is that I think you will need to do this each time you launch the game.In other words if your son wants to play the game you will have to be there to start it for him.....every time.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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