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If you're willing to take the risk, configuring Windows 7 to sign in automatically is pretty easy; I'll walk through the steps and show you in video.

I used to be able to set up my computer to sign me in automatically when I reboot. My new computer doesn't do that and I have to type in my password each time. How do I make it stop needing that?

It turns out that it's not that difficult to set up at all.

I'll walk you through the steps and I'll show you in a short video exactly how to do what you want.

But I do need to ask you a very important question first:

Are you really sure that you want to do this?

Automatic sign-in risks

Before we even begin, I do need to mention that by allowing your machine to automatically sign in, you're opening up a fairly large security risk.

“The risk is that anyone can walk up to your machine and access everything on it.”

The risk is that anyone can walk up to your machine and access everything on it.

Even if the machine is "locked", all that they need do is reboot it (power-cycling it if need be), and the machine happy restarts and logs in as you.

If that's not an acceptable risk, then you don't want to do this.

There are certainly cases where it makes sense, so let's set it up.

Setting up auto sign-in

The quickest way to get to the setting that we need is to use Windows search to look for "netplwiz":

Windows search for 'netplwiz'

Click that when it shows up in the search results above the Start menu:

netplwz is Windows search results

In the resulting dialog:

Users must enter a username and password to use this computer option

Make sure that "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" is unchecked.

If there is more than one account listed below, click the account that you want to have login automatically.

Now click OK.

Password for the auto-signin account

When you click OK (or Apply), Windows will prompt you for the password of the account that you've selected to be automatically signed in. Windows will save this (securely) and use it at boot time to automatically sign in.

That's it. Reboot your computer to watch it sign in automatically.

Next Steps

We've covered only login - if you also want to make sure that a password is not required after Standby or Hibernation, you'll want to read How do I avoid needing a password after standby or hibernation?

Video

View in HD (1280x720)

Transcript

Hello, everyone! This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.

Today I'm going to show you how to configure Windows 7 to login automatically even if you have a password.

We'll start by using Windows own search tool to look for n-e-t-p-l-w-i-z ... 'netplwiz'; click on that, now unclick 'Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer' because of course that's exactly what we don't want. If you have multiple accounts listed, click on the account you would like to have login automatically.

Now click on 'Apply'. You'll then be prompted to provide the password for that account. Once you've done so, that gets stored away you could hit 'OK' and you machine will automatically login to that account when you restart it.

That's it!

I'm Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.

Article C4953 - October 14, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

5 Comments
sVen
October 18, 2011 10:31 AM

I use sysinternals autologon. Now I'm thinking it might just be an automated way of doing what you just described. (?)

Mike
October 18, 2011 7:04 PM

Hmm...That box is checked on my computer, but I've never been prompted to sign in.

You may not have a password set. That's another approach.
Leo
19-Oct-2011
Bill F
October 19, 2011 5:30 AM

Is there something similar for Vista?

I am assuming that the automatically opening account could be limited and not necessarily a full administrator account.
Obviously if you limit it too much you might just be trading one annoyance for the one that you need to change users to get to the account that lets you do your normal work.

Glenn P.
October 20, 2011 1:57 PM

Mike wrote:

"Hmm... That box is checked on my computer, but I've never been prompted to sign in."
And Leo replied:
"You may not have a password set. That's another approach."
That reminds me of something that happened when we first got our computer and were setting it up for the first time. Somewhere along the way a day or so later, I needed to log into the actual Administrator account for some reason (I now have no idea why) but couldn't for the life of me figure out what the password was! Nothing I tried was working. Finally, in some desparation, I tried simply pressing RETURN. Boom! I was in! Blank password! Somehow or other, the Adminstrator password had been overlooked and had never been set!

After a mighty shudder -- right from the top of my head, down to my very toes -- I then quickly changed  that, in a very  big hurry!!! Yikes!!!

It pays to remember: The Windows default for passwords is BLANK!

Ken in San Jose
October 22, 2011 10:44 PM

Thanks for the newsletter and this article.
I recently bought a new Dell notebook and forgot to set up a User account when I transferred things over to the new computer. I later set up a user account but it was too much trouble getting things moved over to the user account, so I am just using the administrator account. I know this is not the best, but I am the only one using the computer.
I have been annoyed by having to click on the user button when I start the computer and this article really cleans things up. Thanks.

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