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How to turn on automatic logon in Windows

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/08/09

[WayBack] How to turn on automatic logon in Windows

Describes how to turn on the automatic logon feature in Windows by editing the registry.

Most archivals of the above post fail with a 404-error after briefly flashing the content, but this particular one usually succeeds displaying.

It is slightly different from the one referenced in my blog post automatic logon in Windows 2003, and because of the archival issues, I have quoted most of it below.

A few observations, at least in Windows 10 and 8.1:

  • Major Windows 10 upgrades will disable the autologon: after each major upgrade, you have to re-apply the registry patches.
  • If the user has a blank password, you can remove the DefaultPassword value.
    • Empty passwords allow local logon (no network logon or remote desktop logon), no network access and no RunAs, which can actually help improve security. More on that in a later blog post
  • For a local machine logon, you do not need the DefaultDomainName value either (despite many posts insisting you need them), but you can technically set it to the computer name using reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v DefaultDomainName /t REG_SZ /d %ComputerName% /f
  • If another user logs on and off, the values keep preserved, so after a reboot, the correct user automatically logs on
  • you need a full reboot cycle for this to take effect
  • The AutoLogon tool does not allow blank passwords

I wrote a batch file enable-autologon-for-user-parameter.bat that makes it easier:

if [%1] == [] goto :help

  reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v AutoAdminLogon /t REG_SZ /d 1 /f
  reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v DefaultUserName /t REG_SZ /d %1 /f
  reg delete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v DefaultPassword /f
if [%2] == [] goto :eof
  reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v DefaultPassword /t REG_SZ /d %2 /f  
  goto :eof

  echo Syntax:
  echo   %0 username password

The article quote:

Use Registry Editor to turn on automatic logon

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To use Registry Editor to turn on automatic logon, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type Regedt32.exe, and then press Enter.
  3. Locate the following subkey in the registry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  4. Double-click the DefaultUserName entry, type your user name, and then click OK.
  5. Double-click the DefaultPassword entry, type your password, and then click OK.Note If the DefaultPassword value does not exist, it must be added. To add the value, follow these steps:
    1. On the Edit menu, click New, and then point to String Value.
    2. Type DefaultPassword, and then press Enter.
    3. Double-click DefaultPassword.
    4. In the Edit String dialog, type your password and then click OK.

    Note If no DefaultPassword string is specified, Windows automatically changes the value of the AutoAdminLogon key from 1 (true) to 0 (false), disabling the AutoAdminLogon feature.

  6. On the Edit menu, click New, and then point to String Value.
  7. Type AutoAdminLogon, and then press Enter.
  8. Double-click AutoAdminLogon.
  9. In the Edit String dialog box, type 1 and then click OK.
  10. If you have joined the computer to a domain, you should add the DefaultDomain value, and the data for the value should be set as the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the domain.
  11. Exit Registry Editor.
  12. Click Start, click Shutdown, and then type a reason in the Comment text box.
  13. Click OK to turn off your computer.
  14. Restart your computer. You can now log on automatically.


  • To bypass the AutoAdminLogon process and to log on as a different user, press and hold the Shift key after you log off or after Windows restarts.
  • This registry change does not work if the Logon Banner value is defined on the server either by a Group Policy object (GPO) or by a local policy. When the policy is changed so that it does not affect the computer, the autologon feature works as expected.
  • When Exchange Active Sync (EAS) password restrictions are active, the autologon feature does not work. This behavior is by design. This behavior is caused by a change in Windows 8.1 and does not affect Windows 8 or earlier versions. To work around this behavior in Windows 8.1 and later versions, remove the EAS policies in Control Panel.
  • An interactive console logon that has a different user on the server changes the DefaultUserName registry entry as the last logged-on user indicator. AutoAdminLogon relies on the DefaultUserName entry to match the user and password. Therefore, AutoAdminLogon may fail. You can configure a shutdown script to set the correct DefaultUserName.
  • You can use the Sysinternals tool AutoLogon to enable this functionality easier. This tool also helps you to use an encrypted version of password.



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