Get the Network Administrators tool pack

Subscribe to our newsletter and get 11 free network administrator tools, plus a 30 page user guide so you can get the most out of them.

Click Here to get your free tools

Recent Posts



Automatic Login to Windows XP, and Vista

by Steve Wiseman on November 13, 2006 · 9 comments

in Windows


Once and a while I have the need for Windows to automatically login after a reboot. For example, I have a Windows XP Media center machine, and I have a few custom cleanup and compression programs that run as desktop applications – so they don’t run if the machine is rebooted while I am gone.

This is a real bummer if I am on vacation, and by the time I come back it does not have enough room to record my favorite programs.

Automatic logins are not for everyone. Using this feature in windows leaves your password in the registry un-encrypted. You need to think carefully before you do it.

To force windows to login you need to drill down to this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

In that key there are four values that are important:

AutoAdminLogon – A string value. Yes a string value. That is set to 0 or 1. If the value is 1, then the next time windows boots it will attempt to login with the credentials provided in the values shown below.

DefaultUserName – Username used to automatically login with.

DefaultPassword – Password used to automatically login with. Careful here. This is left in the registry unencrypted and easily read by anyone with an administrator account

DefaultDomainName – The domain name used when automatically logging in. Set to the name of the current computer name if the machine is not joined to a domain.

Personally, I have gotten tired of drilling down to these registry settings every time I want to make a machine automatically login, so I had one of our programmers whip out a quick app that will do it for us.

Automatic Login to Windows XP and Vista

Click Here to download it – and as always, no spyware, adware…Just freeware goodness.

Oh yea, make sure you run it as administrator, and it does work with 2000, XP and Vista.

One more thing…Subscribe to my newsletter and get 11 free network administrator tools, plus a 30 page user guide so you can get the most out of them. Click Here to get your free tools

Related Articles:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Nicholson May 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

That’s so neat! Just what I wanted. Thank you

2 amk316 June 1, 2010 at 6:05 am

not compatible with windows 7 !!!!!!!!!

3 Steve Wiseman June 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Yes it is. What type of problems are you having?


4 Anastasya January 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

Thank you SOOOO much, that realy helped me!

5 Jeremy March 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Yes, thank you greatly! Also found if you add a binary value called AutoLoginCount, and set the value to the number of times you want to autologin, you can setup this feature for a short period of time for testing… or updates in my case…

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

6 Steve Wiseman March 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thanks for the comment Jeremy…

I should have put a link in this article. We discovered this registry key too…and have updated our software to allow you to use it:

7 Mike B April 22, 2011 at 9:38 am


I am using Vista 32bit and am having a hard time booting to the desktop, like a did just a few short weeks ago. I have tried to undo everything I did and I still need to click on the user icon to get to the desktop. I have tried your freeware, going to control userpasswords2 to uncheck/check the “user must etc.”, created a password and deleted it and I still have to click on the user icon. I am the only one that is assigned to the computer, although there is a guest user but it is not active. Any ideas?

Thank you.

8 John P May 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hello, This works great when booting the PC but not when resuming from screen saver if “On resume, display logon screen” is selected. Any suggestions for that?
Note: administrator has that option locked down.

9 Steve Wiseman May 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

No way around it if the administrator has it locked down – Sorry 🙁

Leave a Comment

Category Links - Windows Forum - Exchange Forum