How-To Geek

Login Automatically on Windows XP Home / Professional

If your Windows XP installation forces you to login every time you reboot, you can automate the login process easily so that you won’t have to login again.

Note that for security reasons, you would usually want to have a password, but for a home computer you may not care.

Go to the Start menu, click Run, and type in the following:

control userpasswords2

You will be presented with a window similar to this one:

Uncheck the box, and click the OK button. You will be presented with a password dialog for the currently logged in user.

Now when you reboot your system, you will automatically be logged in.

This can be very useful when you are installing a bunch of software or testing out configurations.

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 11/8/06

Comments (33)

  1. Al Hambrick

    I tried this and it did not work. Each time I boot up, it still wants me to enter a password even though I removed the check mark. Any other solutions?

  2. Jennifer Cady

    I also tried this and it still forces me to choose a logon name (there is only one–mine) before loging me on. any other help available?

  3. Matt

    this worked for no problems at all thanks mate

  4. Shawn

    Great tip. Thanks. Make sure you just hit enter when it prompts you for a password.

  5. Han

    Also works on Vista!
    I had made a username to try and connect to a W98 machine (didn’t work). Then Vista decided that this user should sign in automatically each time the cumputer booted. But it was a bogus user. I then deleted that user, and it still tried to sign in, giving a message “unknown user”, but not fixing it.

    The tip fixed it (in revers of course, turning password on, instead of off).

  6. a sharpe

    I am having problems setting windows logon to log in without me having to click on an image and having no password for it. This first all started when my now new partner wanted to have her own login to make her own desktop, but i didnt like and could not revert back to normal ie pc boots up and is ready for what ever i want to do rather than have a welcome screen with my name and hers there to click on 1st, so now that i have deleted her account and tried doing (control userpasswords2) and following the proceedure that now it had created a new administrator i cant delete, i have since changed it to guest but i still cant get my pc to boot up without first clicking on my profile rather than having none come up as i have said and it all ready for me to use straight away, please can you tell me step by step of how to correct this, many thanks andy

  7. bdot


    I’d like to know the “step by step” also, please. I would like my (and only mine) computer to just come on without having to click no the pic..I Thank you in advance.


  8. Atarah Sherrell

    make sure you have two administrator accounts, the one you want to keep and the one you want to delete; go back to ‘control passwords2’; enable tick, change the unwanted administrator to a guest, click apply; unable the tick again and your wanted administrator will become the default, click, click apply after each change

  9. Will

    SysInternals has a program called “Autologin” that saves a users password and will login in automatically at system boot – no need to click on any icon. You can also run the program to disable autologin if you have enabled it. It works fine on XP.

  10. steve matrai

    this is nice except it instead says “loading my personal settings”, on some other machines i work on, it just bypasses the welcome screen.. is there a way to just have it boot right to windows, no welcome screen, please help, thanks

  11. Greg D

    I want to keep a password at work but in XP Pro we have to change it every 90 days. Any way to use just one password and keep it??

  12. maya

    People, please note after you type in “control userpasswords2” into Run…, you have to select/highlight the username you want to have login automatically. This tip works perfectly, thanks How-to Geek!

  13. Pam Behrens

    I have a computer that has a user ID and password set up on it. How can I by pass this to get into the computer. It was from an apartment where the people were evicted so I can’t contact the people who it used to belong to. Can you help me by pass?

  14. techlady

    and if the user accounts window does not have the option to check or remove the check from “users must enter a user name and password to use this computer,” how are we to make a particular user id automatically login?

  15. Azz

    Looks good mate. Hopefully works

  16. appyface

    Many of you mentioned you wish to do this with your computer at work or school.

    If “control userpasswords2” did not work, chances are your computer is a member of a domain.

    There is another way to set your computer to autologin even if it is a member of a domain, using a change to the windows registry.

    Exceptions and Warnings

    1. Caveat. Domain controller scripts, group policy and/or other active directory actions on the part of network administrators may simply remove your changes or render them inoperable.

    2. More importantly. This change to the registry is NOT SECURE. Your password will be stored in the registry in PLAIN TEXT. Anyone/anything that can gain access to your computer’s registry may easily get your valid userid and password.

    3. A final warning. If you do this with your work computer, you may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment, in accordance with your company’s policies.

    Registry Change

    DO NOT attempt to make changes to the registry if you are not comfortable working in the Windows registry, as you may render your computer unbootable.

    Navigate to this branch:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

    The following two values should exist. If they don’t exist, DO NOT create them. STOP HERE. Do not use this hack.

    1. Change/verify the value of DefaultUserName – this is your userid
    2. Change/verify the value of DefaultDomainName – this is your domain where you login

    The following value may or may not exist:


    If this does not exist, create it as the type ‘string value’.

    Set it to your current password.

    NOTE: If your password is changed, also update this value BEFORE you log off, or you may not be able to log back in to your computer.

  17. saraiva

    I have a serious problem I would like your assistance. I forgot my administrator password and I cannot even reach and see my desktop icons. PC start opening and it stops when the rectangular image appears asking to CTRL+ALT+DEL. Days ago PC was reaching the step where the only thing to do was to insert the password, however now even with CTR+ALT+DEL I cannot reach where I have been asked for the password. How to fix this problem taking into account that my knowledge have finnished.

  18. saraiva

    The problem is that I cannot reach the icon desktop. I have tried using the Windows XP CD, but it doesnot work. Please, help.

  19. mike

    i want to oper new user in administrator please give me advice

  20. Daniel

    i stumbled upon this threw google search, i was actually looking how to do the opposite of this example… still got the job done.

    thanks for the help :)

  21. jay

    ummmm when i click on my user account saving settings then it says logging off it takes me back to the select user screen… does this for both owner and administrator accounts

  22. Osa

    I have a computer that has a user ID and password set up on it. How can I by pass this to get into the computer. It was from an apartment where the people were evicted so I can’t contact the people who it used to belong to. Can you help me by pass?

  23. Jas

    This works for Windows 7 as well!

    The ASP.NET user issue still exists . . .

  24. donovan

    I to have trouble with my computer;it is an XPschool computer with no icons labeled “run” any ideas

  25. adam

    Tried this and now I can’t log on to the computer. System couldnot log you on. make sure user name and domain are correct. Can’t get into computer now.

  26. cmo

    worked like a dream – thank you 8)

  27. lisa

    This locked me out of my computer and I cant even get into safemode now really pissed off

    this is the message I get

    “the system could not log you on make sure user name and password are correct”

    I have no recovery discs either thanks for locking me out with this false information I think you forgot to mention a few other things to do before trying this and that was my only account so no backdoor logons will work you just cost me.

  28. Ken


    it is clear you didn’t follow the instructions because you would not be locked out of your PC if you had. This works like a dream if done correctly. The problem is, people get in a hurry and miss one tiny little step and BOOM! Lisa – If you still need help post a reply here and I’ll help you; but only if you are going to do EXACTLY as I say and NOTHING else. I can’t see what you’re doing, so if you do something other than what I instruct you to do I will not be able to help you resolve anything.

  29. shane

    What if you have a Domain that runs Group policies on it that create Leagal Notices? These pop up and you have to click “Enter” before you can go forward making this useless. I only have two machines that areneeding to be auto logged on the other 300 or so need to do it the normal way.

    Any suggestions?

    As for it locking you out, the only thing that would come to mind with me is that you put the wrong info into the entries and it locked you out.

  30. Tony

    This worked for me!! Thanks!!!!!!!!!

  31. Aced-out (like Lisa)

    I TOO got locked out – perhaps it’s a certain Service Pack, or only CERTAIN VERSIONS of XP Home & Pro (ei: Home Premium, or Home w/ SP3?.?).
    B/c after that screen, (using the control command-YES from the Run command box – dumb@ss) I can no longer login using the username I HAD all my settings established on… Oh F-in well, huh?.. MAYBE, just MAYBE(!) we should (both the techs posting these “how-to’s” AND the users) TEST these – GET more DETAILS from the users it DID work for, and see if their Serv. Packs may all be the same, Op. Sys. the same (SPECIFIC) version..?.?

    Just an IDEA! (But one that after seeing all the “I’m stuck!” postings, howtogeek SHOULD take into consideration!)

  32. Rob in Belfast

    I didn’t use this tip.

    Microsoft have a fix for this at

    Works a charm.

    Having worked with computers since 1982, I concur with Ken. Most people are in too much of a hurry and accidentally miss a step. Then they blame the poster because it didn’t work.

    For those of you with difficulties over passwords, there is plenty of help out there regarding ways to clear your password and access your files.

    For those of you trying to circumvent security policies put in place by your network manager, you’re out of luck. Those policies are there for a reason.

    @Greg D
    The 90 day password change is to make sure your account stays secure. Just add a 1 or a 2 to your existing password to keep it similar. Or ask your network manager to amend your account policy so that ‘password never expires’ – though I guess he will tell you where to go.

  33. iphoness

    Thanx for your energy, sustain the nice operate Excellent perform.

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