Vista Registry - AutoAdminLogon
Vista Registry Editor - AutoAdminLogon
The idea behind AutoAdminLogon is that a user(name) can logon at a computer without having to type a password. A typical scenario would be a test machine on a private network. With AutoAdminLogon enabled, when you restart the machine it automatically logs on a named user. The trick, which also its liability, is to set a value for DefaultPassword in the registry.
Topics for Setting AutoAdminLogon
Here is a summary of the four key registry settings:
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I have been using AutoAdminLogon since NT 3.5, however, in Vista Home editions there is a much easier alternative, namely tick: 'Users must enter a user name and password'.
Navigate to the Control Panel, User Accounts
and finally click on the Users tab, then remove the tick in:
Double-check the logic of what you are ticking. Also, when you set a registry value to one or zero, read the value carefully. Half of all people who write and say 'Guy that tweak did not work', have not understood the logic, double negatives are a particular source of errors.
Before you try the above configuration, note: I did not, repeat, not find this setting in a machine which had joined an Active Directory domain.
Just out of interest I would check the registry to see how AutoAdminLogon has been configured (Regedit, Edit (menu) find AutoAdminLogon).
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Guy's 3rd Law of computing states: 'The more security that you have, then the more work there will be for you'. This law certainly applies to complex passwords, where you need to remember a combination of uppercase, lowercase, number and squiggles (non-alphanumeric characters).
Let me give you an example of why I like the registry setting AutoAdminLogon, I was training a new Vista course containing two delegates from hell. The other ingredient was a new technician, who installed the default American keyboard layout; even though we were in London England, where naturally our keyboards had the UK layout.
The course started with the delegates logging on to their Vista machines as Administrator with the password of P@ssw0rd. Have you guessed the problem? The @ was not on the keyboard where the delegates and I thought it would be, namely above the comma. Thanks to the USA / UK mixed setup, the @ was above the numeric 2.
Most of the first session was spent getting the 8 delegates just to logon. For the second exercise, they had to join a domain - that took the rest of the morning because after the restart they had to grapple with the complex password - again.
Over lunchtime I edited the registry, my aim was to activate AutoAdminLogon and thus configure an automatic logon without delegate input. You can see above how I achieved this in: Instructions for Setting AutoAdminLogon.
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Creating a .Reg File
For my solution to work, I needed the same settings on all 8 machines. Thus from my machine I exported the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\winlogon branch of the registry into a .reg file, which I then imported to each of the delegates machines. No more problems with logging on after that. Training is the classic place to try these naughty but nice tricks; another scenario for AutoAdminLogon is for test machines not connected to a production network. Example AutoAdminLogon .reg file.
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Windows Vista Registry Tweaks: