Vista automatic login

I found directions online for how to set automatic login in Vista on a machine that’s also on a domain. Normally to set it to automatically log in you can just check a box in the advanced user account settings window. But that box isn’t there if your machine is on a domain. In order to get it to work you have to edit the registry.  This is more so for my own notes so I don’t have to risk losing this in my bookmarks or something.  But maybe it’ll help others.

Doing anything in the registry can really screw up your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Do this at your own risk.

Automatic login on a non-domained machine:

  1. Type netplwiz into the search bar to open the settings box for user accounts.
  2. Highlight the username you want to automatically log in and uncheck the box, users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
  3. Type in your user name and password to verify and close everything.

Automatic login on a domained machine:

  1. Start menu -> type regedit in the search bar and hit enter.
  2. Go to this registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  3. Double-click the DefaultUserName entry, type the user name to log on with, and then click OK.If DefaultUserName registry value name is not found, create the new String Value (REG_SZ) with value name as DefaultUserName.
  4. Double-click the DefaultPassword entry, type the password for the user account under the value data box, and then click OK.If there is no DefaultPassword value, create a new String Value subkey (REG_SZ) with DefaultPassword as the value name.Note that if no DefaultPassword string is specified, Windows automatically changes the value of the AutoAdminLogon registry key from 1 (true) to 0 (false) to turn off the AutoAdminLogon feature.
  5. In Windows Vista, DefaultDomainName has to be specified as well, else Windows will prompt of invalid user name with user name displayed as .\username. To do so, double click on DefaultDomainName, and specify the domain name of the user account. If it’s local user, specify local host name.If the DefaultDomainName does not exist, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) registry key with value name as DefaultDomainName.
  6. Double-click the AutoAdminLogon entry, type 1 in the Value Data box, and then click OK. If there is no AutoAdminLogon entry, create a new String Value entry (REG_SZ) with AutoAdminLogon as the value name.
  7. If it exists, delete the AutoLogonCount key.
  8. Quit Registry Editor.
  9. Restart your computer.



  1. #1 by Aaron on October 1, 2009 - 3:00 PM

    Here’s the tough part. If you are pushing out those registry settings from Group Policy and you need a group of laptops to auto-login to their local user account (instead of the domain account), how do you do it?

    If I explicitly specify the DefaultDomain to be whatever the local machine name is, it works fine–but what would you set for a group of workstations? I’ve tried ‘.’ and I’ve tried ”. Neither one work. Under Windows XP these laptops would accept a DefaultDomain of ” and it would take that to mean whatever name the local machine used.

    Vista is such a pain in the &^#$

    • #2 by jen3ral on October 6, 2009 - 2:10 PM

      Hmm, yeah, I don’t know. I’ve never tried that and none of our laptops have Vista on them so I can’t test it out. We’ll be going straight to Win7 in our next purchase cycle. Vista is definitely a pain in the ass, I’m glad they didn’t migrate to that before I started here.

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