Windows 7 Auto Logon With AutoAdminLogon
Windows 7 Auto Logon Registry Hack
The idea behind the Windows 7 Auto Login is that a userName can logon at a computer without having to type their password. A typical scenario would be a test machine on a private network. With Auto Logon enabled, when you restart the machine it automatically logs-on a named user. The trick, which also its liability, is to use regedit to set a value for DefaultPassword in the registry.
Topics for Windows 7 Auto Logon Registry Hack
Here is a summary of the four registry settings to enable Auto Logon
AutoAdminLogon = "1"
Enabled (To disable Auto Logon set to value to zero)
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Disable Auto Logon in Registry
It's easy to disable Auto Logon 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!
Key Learning Points For Windows 7 Auto Logon
Problems With AutoAdminLogon
This registry value is mainly used during setup. The idea is for a machine to automatically reboot during installation.
Each time the computer is restarted AutoAdminLogon kicks-in and the administrator 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 in the Winlogon key is removed.
I have been using AutoAdminLogon since NT 3.5, however, in Windows 7 Home editions there is a much easier alternative, namely to tick: 'Users must enter a user name and password'.
Unlike Vista, in Windows 7 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 password twice in the, 'Automatically Log On' dialog box. See screenshot. Once you restart Windows 7, it will logon that user automatically.
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 Windows 7 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 Windows 7 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.
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.
Summary of Window 7 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. You could also justify editing the registry, and setting AutoAdminLogon on a machine in a room that is physically secure, or a place where only you have access.
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