Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 : Automating Client Logons

10/24/2012 1:12:44 AM
Many people run their home networks with at least one computer that doesn’t use a password—that is, they have a computer that contains no personal or confidential data, just common documents (such as media files) and web access. Anyone in the family can use that PC just by starting it up. Because there’s no password, Windows boots right to the desktop without prompting for a logon. That’s convenient, but if you have Windows Home Server configured to use the Normal or Complex password policy, you’ve got a problem because these policies require accounts to have nonblank passwords.

How do you maintain the convenience of a no-logon startup and still get Windows Home Server connectivity? One solution would be to configure Windows Home Server to use the Simple password policy, which allows blank passwords. However, that won’t work if the user account is configured for remote access, which requires a strong password. The best workaround I know is to set up the client machine with a password that Windows Home Server is happy with and then configure the client with an automatic logon.

After you add a password to the client machine’s user account, use these steps to automate the logon:

Press Windows Logo+R (or select Start, Run) to open the Run dialog box.

Type control userpasswords2, and then click OK. (If the client is running Windows Vista, enter your UAC credentials.) Windows opens the User Account dialog box.

If multiple accounts are on the computer, click the account you want to use for the automatic logon.

Click to deactivate the Users Must Enter a User Name and Password to Use This Computer check box.

Click OK. Windows displays the Automatically Log On dialog box, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Use this dialog box to set up an automatic logon for a client computer.

Type the account’s password in the Password and Confirm Password text boxes.

Click OK. Windows configures the automatic logon.


You can temporarily bypass the automatic logon and display the Windows logon screen by holding down the Shift key while Windows boots.


If the version of Windows 7 or Windows Vista running on the client doesn’t support the User Accounts dialog box, you can still set up an automatic logon by hand using the Registry. Open the Registry Editor and head for the following Registry key:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\

Double-click the AutoAdminLogon setting and change its value to 1. Double-click the DefaultUserName setting and change its value to the username you want to log on automatically. Finally, create a String setting named DefaultPassword and change its value to the password of the default user.

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