Automatic Logon to Windows XP

Do you ever get tired of entering your password to access your Windows XP account? Would you rather skip the process and log on automatically?

If this sounds good to you, then you’ll be happy to know that it can be done. There is a registry tweak that will enable you to log on to your Windows XP account automatically. This feature may be very convenient, but this convenience comes at a price. Automatic log on to Windows XP compromises your security.

The automatic log on feature may simplify the log on process, but automatic log on also makes it easy for other users to access your account. With this feature enabled, anyone can log in and use your account. This may not be a good idea if you are working on sensitive projects, or if your computer has highly sensitive information like passwords and personal details.

Therefore, you must decide if the added convenience is worth the security risk. If you still think that logging on automatically is a good idea and well worth the risk, you should also bear in mind that:

  • Anyone and everyone can get into your account and by extension into networks that you belong to.
  • Your password is visible to anyone who can access the registry because that is where your passwords are stored.
  • Even remote Authenticated Users can see your password.

Now, if you’d really like to proceed, at the very least make sure that other people who will have access to your computer are highly trustworthy.

There are two ways to log on automatically to Windows XP. The first method is presented below.

Registry Method

Editing the registry always involves certain risks. Minimize your risks and create a backup file of your current settings.

Here are the instructions:

  1. Click Start and go to Run. Enter regedit. Wait for your registry editor to come up.
  2. Locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on the left side of your registry editor. Expand the folder by clicking on the cross on the left.
  3. Go to SOFTWARE. Expand the folder and look for Microsoft.
  4. Expand Microsoft. Go to Windows NT and expand.
  5. Look for CurrentVersion. Expand CurrentVersion and go to Winlogon.
  6. Now look at the right hand side of your registry editor. Do you see DefaultUserName? If you do, go on to step seven. If you don’t, create DefaultUserName following the instructions below.
    • Right click on the right hand side of the registry editor.
    • Select New and then select String Value.
    • Rename the new String Value DefaultUserName. You can also right click on the new string value and select Rename.
  7. Double click on DefaultUserName. A new box will come up.
  8. Enter the account name that you wish to be logged onto automatically as your value data.
  9. Look at the right hand side of the registry editor again. This time, look for DefaultPassword. If the value is there, go to step ten. If DefaultPassword isn’t there, create the value following these steps.
    • Right click on the right hand side of the registry editor.
    • Select New and then select String Value.
    • Rename the new String Value DefaultPassword. You can also right click on the new string value and select Rename.
  10. Double click on DefaultPassword. A new box will come up.
  11. Enter the password for the account you wish to log onto automatically as your value data.
  12. Remember that this will be clearly visible to anyone who accesses the registry. You should be sure to make your password for your user account different from your password to other accounts like your bank and email etc.

  13. Look at the right hand pane of your registry editor again. This is the last value that you will have to create or modify. Look for AutoAdminLogon. If the value is there, go on to step thirteen. If AutoAdminLogon isn’t there, create the value following the steps below.
    • Right click on the right hand side of the registry editor.
    • Select New and then select String Value.
    • Rename the new String Value AutoAdminLogon. You can also right click on the new string value and select Rename.
  14. Double click AutoAdminLogon. A new box will come up.
  15. Enter 0 if you want it Automatic Logon disabled. Enter 1 if you want Automatic Logon enabled.
  16. Again, bear in mind that enabling this will allow anyone to access your account.

  17. Exit the registry and reboot.

Non-Registry Method

This can be done for computers that are on MS Windows XP Home Edition and Professional and are not linked to a domain.

  1. Click Start and go to Run.
  2. Enter control userpasswords2.
  3. Users who try to view help information in User Accounts in Windows XP Home Edition may not see this. They may also get the error message below.

    Cannot find the Drive:WindowsSystem32users.hlp Help file. Check to see that the file exists on your hard disk drive. If the file does not exist, you must reinstall it.

  4. Uncheck the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” option and click on Apply.
  5. Go to the Automatically Log On window.
  6. Enter the password in the Password box.
  7. Retype password in the Confirm Password box.
  8. Close both the Automatically Log On and User Accounts window by clicking on OK.

You can now log in automatically to your Windows XP account. Just remember that everyone else can too.