Microsoft

Pro tip: Automatically sign in to Windows 8.1

Greg Shultz explains how you can configure Windows 8.1 to automatically sign you in when you start your system.

After last week's article was published, I received a couple of questions from readers who were wondering if they could somehow use the information in the Credential Manager to automatically sign in to Windows 8.1. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. Even though Credential Manager stores usernames and passwords, there's no way to use that information — other than the way that the tool was designed. However, there is a way that you can configure Windows 8.1 to automatically sign you in when you start your system.

Keep in mind that this will leave your system wide open to anyone who wants access to your computer. As such, it should only be used in situations where the computer is in a secure environment, like a computer in your home that doesn't contain any confidential information and never leaves the premises.

Access the Command Prompt

To access the user interface that you'll use to set up the automatic sign in, you'll need to start with an administrative Command Prompt. To begin, right-click on the Start button and select the Command Prompt (Admin) command (Figure A). You can also begin by pressing [Windows]+[X].

Figure A

Figure A

Select the Command Prompt (Admin) command from the menu.

When you see the Command Prompt window, type the command Control userpasswords2 (Figure B), and press [Enter]. (In addition to using this command, you can also use the command netplwiz.)

Figure B

Figure B

At the Command Prompt, enter the command Control userpasswords2.

User Accounts

As soon as you press [Enter], you'll see the User Accounts dialog box. You can then close the Command Prompt window. Now, select your user name and clear the check box next to Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Select you user name and clear the check box.

Click OK to display the Automatically sign in dialog box (Figure D), type your password in both the Password and Confirm Password text boxes, and click OK.

Figure D

Figure D

You'll type your password twice.

When you restart your computer, you won't be prompted to sign in.

Reinstate the password

At a later date, if you decide that you want to reinstate your password, simply return to the User Accounts dialog box by repeating the steps above. Then, select your user name and mark the check box next to Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.

Alternate access

Incidentally, you can access Credential Manager from the User Accounts dialog box. To do so, select the Advanced tab (Figure E). Then, select the Manage Passwords button.

Figure E

Figure E

You can access Credential Manager from the User Accounts dialog box.

What's your take?

What other tasks would you like to be able to accomplish in Windows 8.1? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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