How-To Geek

Enable "Ubuntu Style" Logons in Windows Vista

If you like the way Ubuntu requires you to enter your username and password instead of clicking on an icon, you can enable the same thing for Windows Vista in a somewhat similar style logon process. This is really most useful for home users, as domain users should already see this screen.

It’s not precisely the same style as Ubuntu, but it’s the closest we’re gonna get.


Warning: Don’t make this change unless you are sure of what your username is, because you’ll have to type that in manually in order to login.

Manual Registry Tweak

Open regedit.exe through the start menu search box and navigate to the following key, which you might have to create.



Create these two new 32-bit DWORD values, giving them both a value of 1:

  • DisableCAD
  • DontDisplayLastUserName

To remove this tweak just delete the two keys.

Note: It’s not a requirement to use the DisableCAD key. What this does is prevent the “Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete” screen, which is really quite ugly in Vista. If you’d rather use CAD you can omit that key.

Downloadable Registry Tweak

Download and unzip, and then double-click on UbuntuLogonVista.reg in the file. There’s another registry file to remove it.

Download UbuntuLogonVista Registry Tweak

Warning: Don’t make this change unless you are sure of what your username is, because you’ll have to type that in manually in order to login.

Extra Credit

To actually make it look somewhat similar to Ubuntu you could customize your logon screen.

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 09/27/07

Comments (15)

  1. martin

    you mean gdm (gnome display manager) style

  2. bluesdog

    Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux –>

    Both Debian and Ubuntu use the Gnome desktop environment, typically including, (as martin said), the Gnome Display Manager.

    Gnome –>

    You may be interested to know that many users, possibly prompted by sheer disgust at Vista, are either switching to Linux, or are configuring their machines to dual-boot both Linux and Vista — a viable option with most newer machines with their huge hard drives!

    Many former windows users discover Ubuntu, because it is reputedly simple to install. Unfortunately it is also difficult to upgrade. Debian GNU/Linux is far more robust, and very nearly as simple to install.

    btw, apart from the mis-named ‘Ubuntu-style’ bit, you’ve put together a nice set of how-tos!

  3. The Geek


    You are absolutely correct. Since this site is targeted at regular people, I tend to use “Ubuntu” instead of “Debian” since that’s what they are used to hearing about. More technical readers like yourself just know it applies to debian as well.

    Personally I use Kubuntu because I prefer KDE…

  4. George

    i love this tweak, but was wondering if you could get the display/user picture to display.

  5. Kaganader

    I have a question Geek. Back in Windows XP when you double click Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the login screen it would bring you to that plain and dull looking login where you have to type in the User Name and Password. But in Vista even with the DisableCAD set to 0, to allow me to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete, it doesn’t do what it used to in XP. It doesn’t do anything.

    I have heard around on the web that its still there just not where it used to be in the registry.

    All I want to do is make an account hidden and have to manually type the user name and password in, but still have the unhidden accounts showing on the windows login screen.

    If you find a way to do this I would be greatly pleased, that was one of the options I loved so much in XP but can’t find a way to get it to work on Vista.


  6. sfsfsvs

    How can I put an image in the small square that displays?

  7. sfsfsvs

    How can I put an image in the small square that displays?

    Help us, Geek.

  8. FFSAT

    Is there a way to put an image into the square just above the login name and password after doing this????

  9. hoggson

    Have you tried this to make the box have an image?

    1. Click Start, type gpedit.msc and press ENTER

    2. Go to the following branch:
    Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Control Panel | User Accounts

    3. Double-click Apply the default user logon picture to all users

    4. Set it to Enabled

    5. Exit the Group Policy Editor.

    This policy setting allows an administrator to standardize the logon pictures for all users on a system to the default user picture. One application for this policy setting is to standardize the logon pictures to a company logo. If this Policy is enabled, the Welcome Screen uses the default user picture which is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp. The default guest picture is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\guest.bmp. If the default pictures do not exist, an empty frame is displayed. To display your preferred image or the company logo, replace the file user.bmp (128×128 px) in the following folder:
    %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures

    Also note that if you enable the above Policy, you’ll see an empty frame at the top of the Windows Vista Start menu where the user account picture normally displays. And the Change your picture option in the User Accounts applet will be removed.

  10. FFSAT

    Is there another way to get to gpedit.msc because when I type it in the search field on the start menu nothing comes up???? Please let me know. Thanks, FFSAT

  11. jd2066

    @FFSAT: Group Policy editor is only in Windows Vista Business, Ultimate and Enterprise. If gpedit.msc doesn’t appear then you probably are using a different edition.

  12. FFSAT

    Yes i am using Windows Vista home prem.

  13. alyna

    hey somebody help me please!! i can’t delete the disable cad and dontdisplaylastusername in regedit…….it shows error..i tried to log into my adminn log with its admin username and password…but it shpwed error:( now i have to logg in with guest log..:( some1 pls help me in thiss

  14. Nina

    Please tell us how to get the user picture GEEKS!!!

  15. Luke

    This is an easier way to do it (for me):
    1. Press the Windows key and the R key at the same time. (Run should come up)
    2. Type in “secpol.msc”.
    3. Click on Local Policies.
    4. Click on Security Options.
    5. Scroll down to “Interactive Login: Do not display last user name”.
    6. Double Click on it, and enable it.
    7. Click on OK.
    8. Exit the program.

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