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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hide user accounts from the Windows XP Welcome screen

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The Windows XP Welcome screen. Pretty pictures for each user account. What a nice thought on Microsoft's part. The only trouble is - I want to create an administrator account, and not have others tempted to try getting into it while they are on my computer.

When windows XP is not joined to a domain, it displays a welcome screen when it first boots:



The welcome screen displays all of the local users on the system, except the built-in administrator account that was created during setup. If we want to hide a specific user from the list, we need to create a special value under this registry key:

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



Under this key you simply create a new DWORD value - the name matches the users name exactly, and the value is one of the following (Decimal format)

0 - Hides the user just from the welcome screen
1 - The user is shown

To hide the users I want, I browse to the registry key on my system:

Create a New>Dword Value with name xyz, where xyz is the name of the user you want to hide and give its value as 0. Now I want to hide all of the accounts except Jennifer, so I add each of the accounts shown on the welcome screen, and give them a value of zero.

that's all we need to do. I log off, and now I only see Jennifer's account:



Here's the big question. How do you log on as a hidden user? If you are running windows XP Professional you simply need to press CTRL-ALT-DEL twice, and the standard logon screen will be displayed. This has one pitfall - it will fail to work if a user is still currently logged in. If you are having trouble getting it to show, then reboot and press it twice before any users have logged in. Secondly, if you are running Windows XP Home, you will need to boot in safe mode to use the hidden account. The CTRL-ALT-DEL trick does not work for XP Home.



I recently encountered some problems with my admin account and found the above solution here at intelliadmin. Just thought it would be nice to share it with all of you. Be careful while editing the registry, and Happy tweaking!




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