by lunarg on August 25th 2011, at 13:42

It is possible to enable auto-logon for a computer running Windows, even if the account required is password-protected, or when it's a domain account.

To enable it, you need to set some things right in the registry:

  1. Fire up regedit, and navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  2. Edit the entry DefaultUserName, and set it to the account you wish to log in with.
  3. Edit the DefaultPassword, and set it to the password required to log in. If the value doesn't exist, create it (its datatype is REG_SZ).
If no DefaultPassword is specified, Windows automatically changes the value of AutoAdminLogon from 1 to 0, effectively, disabling auto-logon.
  1. If you're in a Windows Domain, or when running Vista or Windows 7, you also need to specify the default domain name (or the local computer name) in the DefaultDomainName. If you don't, the auto logon won't work.
    This is especially true on Vista and Windows 7, where the domain name is always required, even when it's not in a domain. If the latter is the case, set the value of DefaultDomainName to the local computer name.
    If the entry does not exist, you have to create it (its datatype is a REG_SZ).
  2. If the AutoLogonCount entry exists, delete it.
  3. Finally, edit the AutoAdminLogon, and set it to 1. If the entry doesn't exist, create it (datatype is REG_SZ).
  4. Additionally, create a ForceAutoLogon key (data type is REG_SZ), and set its value to 1 as well. This is to ensure the auto logon setting remains maintained if you abort it by holding down the Shift key during start up of Windows or during a log off.

Reboot, and if everything is right, the system should log on automatically with the given account.

The password set in the DefaultPassword entry is put there in plain mode. Make sure the registry is sufficiently secured so as not to reveal the password to unauthorized users.
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