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Remove User Accounts From the Logon Screen in Windows Vista

If you have multiple user accounts on your computer you might find it annoying to have to click on the icon for your username each time you start up the computer. To remedy this problem you can remove one of the user accounts, or you can just hide it with a registry hack.

If you aren’t the only actual user on the system, then you can’t really hide the other user accounts, although you could set one of your accounts up to logon automatically and then use the Switch User function only when necessary.

This tweak is most useful for when you have extra user accounts setup for file sharing or other purposes, or when there are residual accounts you want to get rid of.

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If you are a Windows XP user, we’ve got instructions for you as well.

Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:

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

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You’ll want to right-click on the Winlogon key and create a new Key with the following name:

SpecialAccounts

Then you’ll want to create another key right below that one with the following name:

UserList

At this point you should be able to click on the UserList key on the left-hand side, and then create a new 32-bit DWORD value.

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Give this value the name of the user account that you want to hide, and then repeat for any additional user accounts.

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Important Note: Make sure not to hide your last administrator account using this tweak, or you won’t be able to login as administrator anymore.

At this point the user account should be completely hidden from everywhere.

Delete User Account

Instead of using a registry hack to hide the account from the logon screen, you could alternatively just delete the user account. Just browse down in Control Panel to User Accounts, and then click the “Delete the account” link on their account page.

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You’ll be asked if you want to keep the files from that user… you should make sure to have a backup in case you need the files. If you are sure, then delete them.

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Alternate Delete Method

If you are using the Business or Ultimate versions of Vista, you can right-click on Computer and choose Manage, and then just find the account and delete it from the Local Users and Groups section.

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At this point you should be back to your normal single logon screen.

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Note that if you hide the user account using the registry hack, you won’t even be able to use the Switch User function to get to that user account, and those accounts will be hidden from the UAC dialog prompt as well.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/9/08

Comments (35)

  1. Xyrfo

    You can also remove an user account by this command:

    net user *username* /delete

  2. Red

    How do you take a screenshot of your login screen?

  3. USBman

    This is a very timely article for me, as I’ve recently been trying to figure out how to remove the “user” that shows up after I’ve installed the software for my “UPEK touchstrip reader.” I’ve tried the above method before and had no success, unless I did it incorrectly (multiple times). …I’ve even gone as far as to take ‘snapshots’ of the registry and files on the HD before and after the software installation!

    Has anyone else tried accomplishing this with (or without?) any success???? PLEASE share any info / thoughts!!!

  4. dot45

    @Red

    The easiest way is to be running vista in a virtual machine ;)

  5. NBJM

    I have a similar issue where I also have Upek finger printer reader on my Sony Vaio laptop, and on my logon it has a user account icon, that simply says swipe finger to logon, I don’t have another account on the system to delete, nor does the registry hack work….any ideas?

  6. Marty

    If the user account you want is hidden, or you want to use the old logon screen for whatever reason, just press CTRL+ALT+DEL twice in a row. The old Winlogon dialog will appear, for just that one time.

  7. The Geek

    @Marty

    That definitely works in XP, but I couldn’t get it to work under Vista. Does it work in Vista for you?

  8. Oliver

    Hi.
    Wouldn’t it be easier just to remove the user from the group “users”?

  9. Santo

    @Geek

    Excellent article. I have a question. Is it possible to delete the Administrator account(which is hidden by default) from Vista Home Premium?

  10. The Geek

    @Santo

    No, you shouldn’t delete that account or bad things will likely happen.

  11. Rowan

    If you remove the account from the users group it also has the same effect.

  12. Oliver

    @ Rowan
    The user is not able to log on to the computer, except if the user is also in the admin group or specified otherwise in the policies.
    All other rights (shares, remote access, etc) would not been effected, since those require other groups (remote access), or are available for “everyone” (shares).

  13. Jake

    Hey, I got a virus that made thousands of user names out of numbers. So when I logged in I saw a scroll bar of user names from 4797~10245 but not one of them was my log in! Luckily, they were not created with a password. I did try to do all the things up there, but so far no luck. The registry for the accounts were not there, I was blocked from accessing User Accounts in control panel, it returned Access Denied when I tried “net user 10245 /delete” (which is another account), and I also tried pressing ++ twice, but nothing really happened. If anybody can help, that would be WONDERFUL! I would know hoe to delete all of the users once I am in my admin account.

  14. Charles Kelley

    Say if one did delete the last administrator account…how would they go about fixing that? Bc now they can’t edit the registry to remove the value.

  15. jd2066

    @Charles Kelley: You would need to use a boot disc like UBCD4Win to edit the registry and change that value.

  16. dz2k

    hey people. did you guys get past the upek(swipe finger) and 1 user account resolved for the welcome screen? this method doesnt work for that case.

  17. Diensi

    i tried deliting an acount but this acaunt was delited but my files were not saved in the administrative acaunt and i don’t know how to retrive my files. the space of the hard disk shows that the files are stile in the computer but i dont know how to get the files.

  18. Nelytm

    For those who have hide their last administrator user account here are the good news.

    This sentence is not totaly true: “Important Note: Make sure not to hide your last administrator account using this tweak, or you won’t be able to login as administrator anymore.”

    From any standard user go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Promt, then type: “runas /profile /user:nameofyourmachine\hidenusername cmd” replacing “nameofyourmachine” and “hidenusername” with names that apply for your case and press enter. Eventualy you will be asked for a password, type it in and hit enter again. A new command promt windows will apear and here just type “regedit”, hit enter and you will get a Registry Editor Window where you can undo you change. Just repalce 0 with 1 (see the tweak above mentioned). That’s all. Now you will see your account name at wellcome screen. I made this in Win7, hope it will work for Vista too. Sorry for my poor English.

  19. Elnan Cea

    USBman just try this,

    i also have the same problem with you and i also tried the above solution but it doesnt work, maybe because of the operating system, i am using vista starter or maybe to the application that you installed that makes a default user. Im just a beginner so i cant explain clearly. But this process work in me. This is how i solve it,

    Just click on the winlogon and find:

    DefaultUserName, if the user that you want to delete is in there, right-click DefaultUserName and Click Modify then replace it with your administrator username.

    If your administrator Username has its password find:
    AutoAdminLogon, it also there in winlogon and modify the value to zero(0).

    And if you want to autologin your admin and dont have password, just leave it as 1.

    Hope this will help…Cheers..

  20. Stephen

    How would I go about Activating the Auto Administrator account on vista without it showing up on the logon screen And Only have it appear When i enter safe mode.

  21. aly

    Hi!

    I have an asus which has a finger strip and it also shows two logon icons on the welcome screen. It also says “swipe finger…..” I also just have one user account.

    Has anyone done a remedy to remove the other icon?

  22. aly

    And also can someone explain what Elcan Cea was saying?

  23. brifinn

    after updating my windows XP I had been left with my computer asking me too logon !! , before I updated it I found it would just load up too the desktop , a much better solution than it waiting for me too logon !! can anyone tell me how too get rid of this stupid update as its really annoying me having too logon all the time ??

  24. ACW

    Hi i have vista home premium and i sent my computer away for battery repair and HP made a user called Administrator and my old user when i try all your methods(not including hack) the delete button isnt there! Please help me!

  25. ACW

    Sorry i need to make a correction! i am unable to remove the user they added, nothing to do with my old user

  26. Josué

    @Marty & @The Geek

    So pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del twice in a row does work in Vista or not? Really need 2 know this. Thanks.

  27. The Freak

    How do you take a screenshot of your logon screen??
    Anyone??

  28. Chris H.

    I have a HDX 16T with Digital Persona and a fiingerprint reader. I was also curious about getting rid of the extra icon that says “swipe finger to logon”. I am running Windows 7, 64-bit, if that matters. I too would like to know how people are taking screen shots.

  29. Alex

    So then how do you get into the hidden acounts since the double crtl+delete doesnt work?

  30. elnan cea

    aly,

    sorry for late response, hope this help to other who will have this problem in the future.

    first, type in regedit to run window, or simply search the regedit after clicking start at the lower left corner.
    second, In regedit window search for winlogon and continue the procedure i wrote above.

  31. juan

    At my school we have to buy computers from the school. When i got mine they already installed 2 users on there besides mine. One of them is just some random student one, another is (my schools name) USE ONLY. I was able to completely delete one of the users via the control, but another one does not have the delete option, nor an option to change the account type. TO CLARIFY, I DO NOT NEED TO SAVE ANYTHING FROM THE OTHER 1 AT ALL!! I want it off my computer totally. can anyone help?

  32. Ray

    Worked like a charm. :)

  33. NoneOfYourBusiness

    RUBBISH… the answer is obviously “You can’t, you made a mistake using Vista”

  34. Ben

    i have forgotten my password to entre my laptop, how do i get the password back or remove it?

  35. Deliverer

    Windows Vista Home Premium Autologon
    1. Start, Run, type “regedit” click “OK”
    2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    3. In the area on the right, scroll to “Default Password” and double click to edit string value data. Type your windows logon password in the “Value data:” box and click “OK”.
    4. Ensure that “DefaultUserName” is the account that you want Windows to automatically logon to and exit Registry Editor. If “DefaultUserName” is not the account you want, double click it, enter the Windows user account, click “OK” and exit Registry Editor.
    5. Restart your system and Windows should automatically logon this, and every other, time you power on and/or restart your system.

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