Occasionally, I hear a question from a Windows 7 user who would like to automatically log-in to Windows 7 when they boot, without stopping to pick the user ID and password.
You can do this, but the steps are not particularly intuitive.
First, if you have created multiple users on the computer, only one user ID will automatically log-on when you start the computer. You can switch to another user from the Start > Shutdown Pull-down menu > Switch User selection. That will display the icons for each user ID on the computer. Select one and you’ll need to enter its password. Note also that, to switch back to the automatically-logged-on user, you’ll have to enter its password.
The process of setting up the auto-logon requires you to enter the password, so that the auto-logon process can apply it.
So, how do you do it?
From the Start Button (the Windows logo globe), select Run (if you have set Windows 7 to display the Run command). Otherwise, click the Start Button and type Run in the Windows 7 search bar; then select Run from the search results.
The Run command will open a dialog box, where you tell it what to run. In the dialog box, type
and click the enter key or press the OK button in the dialog box.
In the User Accounts dialog box that is displayed by running "control userpasswords2", first, select the user that you want to log in automatically. Then, uncheck the box at the top that says "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer."
One word of warning — you’re breaching your security when you do this. Anyone who has physical access to the computer can automatically log on as you — which gives them access to all your email, your files, and your favorites and bookmarks.
I use the automatic log-on feature on my home theater PC, since I want it to successfully restart after a power outage. This way, Windows 7 boots completely and starts the SageTV home theater program, so it will record television shows that I’ve scheduled to record.
However, on my family’s computers that we use for any other purpose, we log on with our passwords when the computer starts.