Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to Hide a User Account on the Logon Screen


Maybe you created a user account on your XP computer so your nephew could use it when he was visiting you. Now he's gone home and you really don't want to see that account choice every time you log on to Windows, but you also don't want to just delete the account because he'll probably be back again next year. Here's how to hide an account from the logon screen:

  • Before editing the registry, always back it up just to be safe.

  • Open the registry editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \
Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Winlogon \ SpecialAccounts \
UserList

Note: The SpecialAccounts \ UserList keys may not exist on your computer. If they do not, create them.

  • In the right pane, you'll see a list of items that correspond to the user accounts that exist on the computer but are not shown on the logon screen. You'll probably be surprised at how many there are.

  • Right click an empty space in the right pane, select NEW and DWORD value.
    Right click the new value and rename it to the exact name of the user account you want to hide.

  • Close the registry editor.

Now the account name won't show up on the logon screen. You can unhide the account at any time by deleting the registry key you created. Your nephew can still log onto the account while it's hidden. Just press CTRL+ALT+DEL twice in a row at the logon screen and you'll get the logon dialog box that allows you to type in the username.

Note: This tip works for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The SpecialAccounts key may not exist by default, but if you create it as specified above it works a treat!

Additional Note: I've discovered this tip does not work in Windows Vista because Microsoft removed the "Classic Logon" functionality from this OS. You can still hide the account, but you won't be able to logon as this hidden account by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del twice. You can, however still switch to this account using user account switching.

Thanks to Deb Shinder for the tip!

12:25 PM