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My son has a child's account on my Windows 10 x64 machine. I've been letting him install pretty much anything he wants from the Windows store, since with him running under a child's account I think this is pretty safe.

However, he wants to install Steam so he can run other games. My understanding is that Steam is basically a Linux virtual machine running on your machine. I would assume this would be running as a desktop app and I would probably have to install Steam as an administrator. Would Steam be usable from a child's (non-administrator) account on my Windows 10 laptop.

I wouldn't really worry about running applications on, say, Oracle Virtual Box on my PC; although I know that it is possible to attack the host OS. How curated is Steam's store and is it possible to install Steam games from outside Steam's store?

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    “My understanding is that Steam is basically a Linux virtual machine running on your machine.” Steam running on Windows is NOT a virtual machine. Even SteamOS isn’t a virtual machine. You will have to install the games as an Administrator. Steam is better curated then the Windows Store in my opinion, but neither, are curated very well. – Ramhound Jul 1 '18 at 13:06
  • So, it sounds like my son would have to get me install games. I like that. – Eric Jul 1 '18 at 13:16
  • I would also recommend having him as a "friend" on Steam, so you see how much he plays, what he plays, what kind of people he connects with. As ESRB said in the past "online interactions not rated". Games like Garry's Mod can be great fun - but people online can be really toxic, etc. Not sure how I would approach the problem myself. – Apache Jul 1 '18 at 17:10
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My understanding is that Steam is basically a Linux virtual machine running on your machine.

Your understanding is incorrect. Steam is a normal Windows application which can be used to purchase, install and launch other normal Windows games (among other features).

Some Steam games may require administrator privileges for installation, typically to install runtime libraries. Others do not.

If you are not already, you may want to consider using Steam's Family View feature to restrict the features available on his account.

How curated is Steam's store…

The software available through Steam is safe to run. However, some of it may contain objectionable content, either in the game itself (e.g, violent, hateful, or sexually suggestive material) or in online content (e.g, other players with foul mouths).

… and is it possible to install Steam games from outside Steam's store?

Not really. The main thing which makes a game a "Steam game" is that it is purchased and licensed through Steam.

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If your concern is safety, you can have him use steam in Family View

While you can have the full mode on the same account on your machine, and control what he installs, execute and search for. As far as I can understand the EULA, steam is not running as a virtual machine on WIN10.

Hope that helps, S.C.

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Yes. It is. I have a little brother and a shared PC, and like you he has a child account. He can use Steam without needing administrative privileges. Once Steam is installed, it doesn't need any more privilages.

Also Steam is fine security wise, he needs an account there too and you can control him of the games he wanna play when he needs to buy them via your credit card.

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