Windows 8 AutoAdminLogon
Windows 8 Auto Logon Registry Hack
There are times when in it's a pain having to type a password in order to logon to your Windows 8 machine. AutoAdminLogon is idea for situations where you are operating in a secure environment, or where you are testing endless reboots and want auto login. Althought the techique is very different, the principle is the same as having a website remember your username and password.
Topics for Windows 8 Auto Logon Registry Hack
Here is a summary of the 4 registry REG_SZ values to enable Auto Logon
AutoAdminLogon = "1" Enabled (Zero would mean turn off)
Disable Auto Logon in Registry
It's easy to disable the auto login with regedit; you just need to find, then change AutoAdminLogon from 1 to zero. You can leave the other settings, especially if you change your mind later!
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Problems With AutoAdminLogon
The AutoLogonCount registry value is mainly used during setup. The idea is for a machine to automatically reboot during installation for a set number of times, then revert to a normal logon box.
Each time the computer is restarted AutoAdminLogon kicks-in and the administrator (defined UserName) is logged on automatically, furthermore, the AutoLogonCount value is decremented by one until the count reaches zero. Once its value reaches zero, the AutoLogonCount value under the Winlogon key is removed.
I have been using AutoAdminLogon since NT 3.5, however, in Windows 8 Home editions there is a simpler, but boring alternative, namely to tick: 'Users must enter a user name and password'.
Unlike Vista, in Windows 8 you need to launch a native, but hidden applet
called NetPlwiz. Once the User Accounts interface appears select the
user who you want Auto Logon, now remove the tick in the checkbox.
All you need to do next is type the required password in the, 'Automatically Log On' dialog box. See screenshot. Once you restart Windows 8, it will logon that user automatically.
Please review 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 registry hack did not work', have not understood the logic, double negatives are a particularly confusing.
If you are going to try this configuration, please note: I did not find this setting in a machine which had joined an Active Directory domain.
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One of Guy's computing laws states: 'The more security that you have, then the more work there will be'. This law particularly applies in the case of complex passwords, it's never easy 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 Windows 8 course containing two delegates from hell. The other ingredient was a new technician, who installed the default American keyboard layout; despite the fact the course was in Worcester England, where naturally the keyboard hardware had the UK layout.
The course started with the delegates logging on to their Windows 8 machines as Administrator with the password of P@ssw0rd. Have you guessed the problem? The @ was not at the place on the keyboard where the delegates and I expected, 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 10 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, and set AutoAdminLogon to login without delegate input. You can see above how I achieved this sanity preserver in the: Instructions for Setting AutoAdminLogon.
Creating a .Reg File
Actually, for my solution to work, I needed the same settings on all 10 machines. What I did was get AutoAdminLogon working on the instructor machine, then I exported the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\winlogon branch of the registry to a .reg file. From a network share, I imported this .reg file to each of the delegates machines. I had no more problems with delegates logging on after that. Training is a great place to try these naughty but nice tricks. Another application of this auto login technique is for test machines not connected to a production network.
Summary of Windows 8 Auto Logon Registry Hack
Thanks to regedit, Auto Logon can be enabled so that you can logon automatically without having to enter a password. Such configurations are most useful for testing or training course. You could also justify editing the registry, and setting AutoAdminLogon on a private machine in a room that is physically secure.
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Microsoft Windows 8 Registry Topics