Windows XP Professional provides you with a number of built-in local groups with specific privileges. When setting up stand-alone systems or systems that will participate in peer-to-peer networks, you can assign local user accounts to these groups in order to dictate how much control users have when they're working in the operating system.
In most cases, you assign user accounts to the Users group. However, if you want to give certain users more control over the system, you can assign those accounts to the Power Users group.
When the Power Users group doesn't quite provide the privileges that you want, it's very easy to simply reassign the account to the Administrators group and call it a day. However, that can be a dangerous proposition in many situations.
A much wiser choice would be to add the user's account to the Backup Operators group, in addition to the Power Users group. The combination of privileges from both of these local groups give the user account a broad range of system administration capabilities, without giving access to all the system resources to which the Administrators group has access. You can think of the combination of these two groups as a "SubAdministrator" group.
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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.