Configure the login and Welcome Screen in Vista

The Welcome Screen is enabled by default and is shown at startup, where one can choose one of the available user-accounts (Just like in WinXP). The old classic logon screen is no longer available.

Secure login screen with CTRL + ALT + DEL before login
  1. Press the Start-button and run this command:

    control userpasswords2

  2. Change to the Advanced-tab and enable Require users to press CTRL+ALT+DEL

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows NT \CurrentVersion \Winlogon]
    DisableCAD = 0

    This change should also match the following Local Security Policy (secpol.msc) -> Local Policies -> Security Options -> “Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL”.

Note after pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL then the normal Welcome Screen will show with all the pretty user account icons.

Only display the user name and password prompt at login
  1. Open Control Panel and select System and Maintenance
  2. Select Administrative Tools and double-click Local Security Policy (secpol.msc)
  3. Expand Local Policies to Security Options
  4. Enable Interactive logon: Do not display last user name

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \System]
    DontDisplayLastUserName = 1

Now it will only display the input fields for username and password, and it will no longer display all the available accounts with their user names and icons.

Hide a single user account from the Welcome Screen

By adding the username of the account to a special list in the registry, then it will no longer appear on the Welcome Screen. Just create DWORD registry value at the following location:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows NT \CurrentVersion \Winlogon \SpecialAccounts \UserList]
NameOfTheUser = 0 (1 = Show, 0 = Hide)

More Info MS KB942956

Note in Vista the Administrator account is disabled by default and when activated, then it will be displayed on the Welcome Screen automatically. More Info MS KB926183

Customize the picture shown on the Welcome screen

To change the picture shown on the logon screen for a user:

  1. Open Control Panel and select User Accounts-
  2. Click Change Your Picture and select the picture you want.

Note the available user account pictures are located in the following directory:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures

Note the default user account picture is located here (Can be replaced with another 128x128 pixel bmp image):

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\guest.bmp

Note the picture currently selected by the user is located here:


Prevent users from changing their logon picture

This can be useful is wanting all users to use the company logo as user logon picture.

  1. Start and Run…


  2. Expand to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Control Panel -> User Accounts
  3. Double-click Apply the default user logon picture to all users and change to Enabled

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    UseDefaultTile = 1

Note the picture shown on the Start-menu will be replaced with an empty frame, when enabling this policy.

Note to change the default picture, just overwrite this bitmap file with another picture-file (128x128 pixel bmp image). If this bitmap-file doesn’t exist then it will show an empty frame on the Welcome Screen.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp

Disable the Welcome Screen by enabling automatic login

Automatic Login can be enabled, which will bypass the need to logon (turns off the Welcome Screen). This is done with the following steps:

  1. Run this this command to open the advanced user management:

    control userpasswords2

  2. Uncheck “Users must enter a username and password to use this computer” and provide the username and password for the account to use by default.

Credits Rob Farley