Windows 7 : Add the Built-in Administrator Account to the Login Screen, Stop Entering Password on Lockout, Using Credential Manager

9/15/2012 3:10:42 AM

1. Add the Built-in Administrator Account to the Login Screen

The built-in Administrator account is intentionally hidden to keep out users who don't have sufficient knowledge to understand the risks involved in using such an account. Typically, the only way to get to it is by starting the computer in Safe Mode. If you're an advanced user and want to be able to get to that account from the login page, you just have to enable the account. Here's how:

  1. Log in to an account that has administrative privileges.

  2. Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and choose Manage.

  3. In the left column of the Computer Management tool that opens, click Local Users and Groups.

  4. In the center column, double-click the Users folder.

  5. Right-click the Administrator account and choose Properties.

  6. Clear the check mark beside Account is Disabled and click OK.

  7. Close the Computer Management window.

When you log out of your current account, you'll see the Administrator account on the login page. It will also appear there each time you start the computer.

2. Stop Entering Password on Lockout

If you leave the computer for a few minutes without logging out, you're taken to a lockout screen that shows your user account information. If your user account is password-protected, you need to enter your password to get back to the desktop. This is to prevent other people from using your computer while you're away. But it makes sense only in a work environment. In a home environment, it may be overkill. You can reconfigure 7 so that you don't have to reenter your password to get back to your desktop. Here are the steps:

  1. Click the Start button, type pow, and click Power Options.

  2. In the left column, click Require a Password on Wakeup.

  3. If the options under Password Protection on Wakeup are disabled, click Change Settings that Are Currently Unavailable. Then elevate your privileges by clicking Continue or by entering the password for an administrative account.

  4. Choose Don't Require a Password.

  5. Click Save Changes.

3. About Windows CardSpace

Windows CardSpace lets you store user account information for online services that support the CardSpace feature. It's a means of creating a digital identity that can be used instead of a username and password to log in to online accounts that support the CardSpace feature.

CardSpace adds security to Web relationships by encrypting data in your card before sending the information to a Web site. You can also review cards from Web sites that use them to get more information about a site before signing up for an account.

CardSpace is still relatively new, with a limited number of Web sites supporting it. The idea of CardSpace is fairly simple, however. You can create one or more digital cards, each with whatever information you want to provide to Web sites with which you do business. For example, you might want cards that include only your name and no further identifying information. Other cards might include your street address and phone number.

When you set up an account with an online site that supports CardSpace, you can send your card rather than fill in blanks on that site's user form. After you've established an account, you can submit your card whenever you need to log in to the site.

You can choose from two kinds of cards to use:

  • Personal cards: These you create yourself and provide to online Web services as you see fit.

  • Managed cards: These are like membership cards provided to you by organizations and businesses that support the CardSpace identity system.

Use one of the following methods to access Windows CardSpace:

  • Click the Start button and choose Control Panel => User Accounts and Family Safety => Windows CardSpace.

  • Tap , type card and click Windows CardSpace.

If you're taken to a welcome page, click OK to proceed. To create a personal card, click Add a Card in the right column. Click Personal Card and fill in whatever blanks you're comfortable with. You might want to start by creating a basic card that contains your name, e-mail address, and perhaps a picture or logo. You can create other cards with more information, if necessary, for sites that you trust with that information.

You don't create managed cards yourself. Instead, you set up an account with a service that uses managed cards. When you receive such a card, you'll likely get instructions on its use. But the basic procedure is to go into CardSpace, click Add a Card, click Install a Managed Card, and then import the card that the online service has sent you.

If the CardSpace technology catches on, you'll be able to access your cards right from your Web browser. When you go to log in to a site, you'll see an option to log in the traditional way through a user account and password, or by using CardSpace (or an InfoCard). Click the option to use CardSpace, click the card you want to use, and you're logged in.

4. Using Credential Manager

Credential Manager (Figure 1) enables you to manage your usernames and their associated passwords (collectively called credentials) for servers, Web sites, and programs. These credentials are stored in an electronic virtual vault. When you access a server, site, or program that requests a password, Credential Manager can submit the credentials for you so that you don't have to type them yourself. If your password cache has dozens of sets of credentials in it, as mine does, you'll be more than happy to put Credential Manager to work for you.

Figure 1. Store usernames and passwords in Credential Manager.

Figure 2. Windows prompts for credentials.


Credential Manager can't interact with every Web site that requests credentials. For example, when you log in to your online banking site, the site probably displays a form in which you enter your credentials. Credential Manager can't store this type of forms-based credentials, but you can have Internet Explorer remember the credentials for you.

Although you can add credentials to your vault directly, you don't need to do so in most cases. Instead, you can let Windows do it for you. To do so, navigate to a server or other computer on your network, or to a Web server that prompts you for credentials, as shown in Figure 2. Enter the username and password in the Windows Security dialog box, select Remember My Credentials, and click OK. Windows stores the credentials in Credential Manager (Figure 3).

You can add credentials to your vault yourself if you want to. For example, if you have lots of credentials you use with multiple servers or sites, you might want to prepopulate your credential vault so that you don't have to enter them the next time you visit that resource.

To add credentials, open the User Accounts and Family Safety item in the Control Panel and then click Credential Manager. Click Add a Windows Credential and in the resulting form, enter the following:

Figure 3. Credentials are stored in Credential Manager.

  • Internet or Network Address: Type the path to the resource. For example, enter \\fileserver\Docs to specify the Docs share on a server on the network named fileserver. Or, enter portal.mycompany.tld if your company intranet portal is located at https://portal.mycompany.tld.

  • Username: Enter the username you want to use to log on to the specified service.

  • Password: Enter the password associated with the username.

You can also add a certificate resource, which associates a network resource with a certificate that is already installed in the Personal certificate store on your computer. In this case, verify that you have already installed the certificate, click Add a Certificate-Based Credential, type the resource URL, and click Select Certificate to select the certificate. You can also choose to use a smart card certificate (a certificate installed on a smart card that you insert in your computer).

The third type of credential you can add is a generic credential, which are credentials used by applications that perform authentication themselves rather than rely on Windows to perform the authentication. As with a Windows credential, you specify the URL, username, and password for a generic credential.

You can specify a port number in the resource path, if needed. For example, if an application is connecting to a SQL Server at sql.mydomain.tld on port 1433, you would specify sql.mydomain.tld:1433 in the Internet or Network Address field in Credential Manager.

Figure 4. The Environment Variables dialog box.

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