Microsoft

Enable automatic logons and power downs in Windows NT

With a couple of quick registry tweaks, you can configure a Windows NT machine to both log on and power down automatically. Find out how to do both in this Windows NT tip.

With a couple of quick registry tweaks, you can configure a Windows NT machine to both log on and power down automatically.

Automatic logons

Enabling a machine for automatic logons may seem to contradict basic security rules. However, in some situations, you might need to set up a Windows NT machine to log on automatically, completely bypassing the standard logon sequence.

For example, this might be necessary for a remote print server or another specialized application server. You can make this change with a registry edit.

Follow these steps:

  1. To open the Registry Editor, go to Start | Run, enter regedt32 in the Open text box, and click OK.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  3. Choose a user account to use for the automatic logon, and change the value of DefaultUserName to the user account name.
  4. Add a new value, and name it AutoAdminLogon.
  5. Set the value's data type to REG_SZ, and set its value to 1.
  6. Add another new value, and name it DefaultPassword.
  7. Set this value's data type to REG_SZ, and set its value to the password of the user account.
  8. Exit the Registry Editor, and restart the system.

Whenever anyone logs off this computer, NT automatically logs on the default user again, as specified in Step 3. To revert to requiring a normal logon, change the value of AutoAdminLogon to 0.

Automatic power downs

You can also make a quick registry tweak to enable automatic power downs in Windows NT—a nice feature Microsoft included in Windows 9x and other editions but not in NT. You're probably already familiar with this feature, which you can recognize by Windows' message, "It is now safe to turn off your computer."

Although you can't make that message appear in NT, you can still create the same result. By making a quick registry edit, you can configure an NT system to automatically shut down when the user exits.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor, and navigate to the same registry key as before.
  2. Double-click the PowerdownAfterShutdown entry, and change the value to 1.
  3. Exit the Registry Editor, and restart the system.

(Successful implementation of this tip requires the installation of Service Pack 4, and you must have applied all flash BIOS updates. In addition, some versions of the AwardBIOS don't support this registry edit.)

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.

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