How to log on automatically on Windows 8 using a Microsoft Account
Windows 8 users have options to log on to the system using a local account or a Microsoft Account. Both options have their advantages. The local account does not communicate with Microsoft during logon, while the second enables the synchronization of select personalization features of the operating system on each system the user logs on.
If you are using a Microsoft Account to log on to Windows 8, you have probably noticed that you have to enter the user account password each time you are doing so while the username is filled out automatically by the operating system.
If you are the only user on the system you may want to speed up the logon process by enabling automatic logons on the system.
Note: While that is very comfortable to do, it also means that anyone who gets access to the system will benefit from the same thing. It is therefore only suggested if you protect your system by other means, for instance by fully encrypting all of its storage devices. This is for instance possible using TrueCrypt, or the equally excellent DiskCryptor.
Configuring automatic Microsoft Account logons on Windows 8
If you want to configure automatic log ons on a Windows 8 PC, you need to do the following to do so:
- Tap on the Windows-key to go to the start screen. If you are already there, skip the step.
- Type regedit and select the result to open the Windows Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the following Registry key using the structure on the left: HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon
- The first preference that you need to locate is AutoAdminLogon. It is set to 0 by default, which means that it is not enabled. Double-click the value and change it to 1.
- Locate DefaultUserName and make sure it is your Microsoft Account username. It should start with MicrosoftAccount\ followed by the email address.
- Try to find DefaultPassword. If it does not exist, right-click and select New > String and name it exactly like that.
- Double-click the value and enter your password here. Notice that it is displayed in clear text here.
- Once done, restart Windows.
If everything turned out alright, you should be logged in automatically without any user interaction or display of the lockscreen.
If things did not turn out right, go back to the Registry Editor and make sure everything is set up correctly.
Unless you run full disk encryption on your Windows 8 PC, it is usually not a good idea from a security point of view to configure automatic sign in to the system, as the password is exposed to all users who know where to look for it.