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What kind of harm can be done on a Windows XP/7 based system with access to only the guest account and not the administrator or standard user account?

I live in a university hostel and many of my neighbours use my Windows 7 Home Premium based laptop with the guest account, that's why I was just wondering.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For starters, physical access is total access.

If you give someone your laptop, they can use a ntpasswd boot cd to gain access to your Administrator account. From there, the sky's the limit.

Other than that,

Microsoft says:

A Guest Account:

  • Cannot install software or hardware, but can access programs that have already been installed on the computer.
  • Cannot change the guest account type.
  • Can change the guest account picture.

They don't have rights to install new software or printers, though they may be able to install software that doesn't require traditional installation like Chrome.

If you're really worried about them making changes, you can always use a program like Deep Freeze to prevent anything from permanently changing. Though, with unsupervised physical access to the machine, there are ways to get around it.

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So basically, anyone with the access to my guest account, can crack into my admin account and do whatever he wants? – user221287 May 22 '12 at 18:07
Anyone with PHYSICAL access can, yes – Canadian Luke May 22 '12 at 18:08

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