You should also note that if your backup is permanently connected to your system and you do (god forbid it) get all your files encrypted it will encrypt your backup too. When you have made a backup, unplug the drive.
Forget running as built in administrator - many (and in the future possibly most) programs will not work. This currently includes even what you may think of as trivial things like the Edge browser or the built in Windows Search.
If you really don't care you can just grant "Everyone" access to your C:\ drive. This would be a terrible idea for many reasons though.
Simply put, if you want to use a system admin account, avoid using Microsoft apps and software, it is user unfriendly.
I realize maybe I asked all of this from the wrong direction. What is the BEST configuration for a single user, to at least minimize "interruptions" by the OS? And to let me have access to all files? Should I start over with a clean install, having ONLY one account, presumably a MSA to allow access to all of Cortana's features, etc?
As for disconnecting the external drive containing your image files (except while imaging) -- of course! Not doing so would be like putting cash in a safe then leaving the safe open.
Running with a full time admin account is convenient, I will grant you that. But it isn't very secure.
By default software runs with the same rights and privileges as the account it is running under. That is what makes an admin account convenient. When running safe software this poses no serious problem. But if you should run something malicious, and this is very difficult to prevent, it will be able to do pretty much whatever it wishes, no questions asked. It will take full advantage.
That changed with the introduction of UAC in Vista. With UAC applications running under an admin account do so with a restricted token that gives them only the rights and privileges of a standard account. This will stop much malware and at the least make it more difficult to do it's work. That is good.
UAC is a reasonable compromise between security and convenience. But for some it seems any compromise with convenience is unacceptable. Security always has it's price and a part of that is a loss of convenience. And it is not just with computers, a fact air travelers know very well.
UAC might seem too restrictive but it was much less convenient in NT4 (introduced in 1996) and older versions. There was no UAC, no Fast User Switching, and no Run as Administrator. Even then it was recommended practice to run with a standard account, reserving the admin account for when it was needed. When admin level access was needed you had to first log out of your standard account which of necessity closed all of your applications. You then logged in with the admin account, did what was needed, and log out. Then you could log in with your normal account, restart your applications, and resume your work.
That all seems very primitive. But remember that NT4 had to run with as little as 16 MB RAM and many thought that requirement was excessive.
It is generally best to use an OS as it was designed to be used, even when it is not entirely to your liking. In the long ruin you will be happier doing so.
Thanks! It's beginning to clear up for me now, with such reasoned responses. Now I'm wondering if I've mucked up this install to the point where I'd be best off restoring to my bare bones standard factory config, which I imaged after the painful process of having MS tech remote control my PC just to end up giving me a fresh new product ID.