Should students be given administrator privileges on their laptops (that they have borrowed)?

  • Yes

  • No

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steel9

Level 4
Verified
Should students get administrator privileges on their borrowed laptops (that they have borrowed from the school for the duration of their time at that school)? With students, I mean people studying in high school or higher.
Many students think that they should be given admin privileges, while the IT department doesn't always agree.

Pros:
  • Students don't need to bring their laptops to the IT department to fix simple things requiring admin privileges, which is good both for the student and the support department
  • Students can download software and change settings should they need to - which is especially important if it's needed for school work/to fix a problem affecting school work, and the IT department is closed
  • No one but the student uses his/her computer - so if it gets infected, it will probably only affect him/her (unless it spreads across the network)
  • The IT department doesn't need to spend time detecting people who use privilege escalation exploits to become admin (which is fairly common among students, at least where I live)
Cons:
  • Increased malware risk
  • The risk of malware spreading across the school network probably increases
  • Problems on the computers can be harder to fix by the IT department as the user can screw up the computer worse with admin
  • Technically skilled people can circumvent Group Policies as long as they have access to the whole registry
Counterarguments to the pros:
  • The IT department can deploy needed applications
  • Becoming admin through privilege escalation is complicated (and prohibited), which causes most people to avoid it
Counterarguments to the cons:
  • Unsigned apps can be blocked from being elevated to greatly reduce the security risk
  • The "Run anyway" button in Windows SmartScreen can be disabled to prevent users from running unknown applications downloaded from the Internet
  • If the support department can't fix a problem within a reasonable time, the computer can be re-imaged, which shouldn't take a very long time. As documents are saved in the cloud (at least in my school), nothing important should be lost
  • GPO's can be circumvented even when the IT department hasn't given users admin privileges, although it requires more steps
  • Not all malware needs administrator privileges to run
So, what are your opinions about this? I, personally, think that students should be given administrator privileges on their computers.
 
Last edited:

Weebarra

Level 15
Verified
Personally i don't think they should. The computer doesn't belong to them and if they are allowed to install software then that means they can install anything. I don't nor have i ever been in that type of environment and while it might save the IT department some time with fixing minor things it could also cause them an enormous of work with sorting out the mess that some students may have made.
 

steel9

Level 4
Verified
Students will change the entire OS if they have the power to. If I were a student with admin rights, the first thing I would do is figure out how to bypass surveillance by the IT department and break away from the herd.
You can change the OS without admin privileges - just insert the Windows Setup disk, format, and reinstall Windows. But why would one do that? He/she would lose access to all the premium products offered by the school (Word, Outlook, Excel etc)
 

bribon77

Level 25
Verified
Should students get administrator privileges on their borrowed laptops (that they have borrowed from the school for the duration of their time at that school)? With students, I mean people studying in high school or higher.
Many students think that they should be given admin privileges, while the IT department doesn't always agree.
I believe that if it lends itself to study, it should not have administrator rights.. That's why they have their own computers, and there they can do whatever they want.:giggle:
 

TairikuOkami

Level 22
Content Creator
Verified
The problem is the choice, or the lack of it. What is the point of lending them laptops, if they can not really use them for work (specific apps, etc)? :unsure:

  • Increased malware risk
  • The risk of malware spreading across the school network probably increases
Partially true, malware can elevate to admin easy as pie, so that does not really protect them, they would also have hard time removing the malware.

  • Problems on the computers can be harder to fix by the IT department as the user can screw up the computer worse with admin
  • Technically skilled people can circumvent Group Policies as long as they have access to the whole registry
I would include a clause, that if the user chooses to have admin rights, any system repairs would be made by restoring a system image removing all user's files in the process or by paying in the case of restoring important files, all other non-admin users would receive a free tech support.

You can change the OS without admin privileges - just insert the Windows Setup disk, format, and reinstall Windows.
You can get system rights within 5 mins, unless booting devices is disabled, that would make it a bit more difficult.
Code:
copy /y c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
 

TairikuOkami

Level 22
Content Creator
Verified
How so? The software they need is preloaded. It is part of the standard image.
Standard software, lets say you want to try some math app, which can do complex calculations, but there are 20 different ones, but you can not try them out and you can not ask tech to install them all, unless you try them on a different computer, making the lent computer essentially useless.
 
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LDogg

Level 28
Verified
I don't believe that computers given to students should have Admin rights. Unless the laptop is personally owned by yourself, there's no right a student should have that should escalate the privileges up to Admin rights.

At the end of the day the laptop is mean't to enhance their education whilst being on the course or in school, not for personal leisure. Plus there is the added risk of exposure to malware.

~LDogg
 
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