Q&A Monday: Domain Auto-Logon


We are currently building a test lab, in which we can test proposed changes to the network, and have a test domain in place.  We have a domain controller and a handful of workstations to test the changes out on.  The problem is, that every time we power on the domain we need to log in all the workstations, and that can be a hassle.  I looked online for answers, but I can only find auto-logins solutions for computers not in a domain, do you know of a way that this can be done?  It’s not really a problem, just something that would save us time from having to continually manually login computers.

Karen Grantham
Salt Lake City, UT


I’m glad you mentioned this, I hate spending time logging into computers in a test domain, when I don’t have to.  There is a way to make the computers auto-logon when they are started and attached to a domain.  unfortunately it’s not as simple as the methods for computers not joined, but it isn’t difficult.  It just takes some careful changes to the registry.

  1. Click the Start Button and Browse to Run (or Windows Key + R)
  2. Type regedit
  3. Once the registry program opens goto: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE ->SOFTWARE->Microsoft->Windows NT->CurrentVersion->Winlogon
  4. Make sure the key:  DefaultUserName is the username you want it to login as
  5. Set the AutoAdminLogon key to 1 (or create if it doesn’t exsist)
  6. Set the DefaultPassword key to the password of the account (or create if it doesn’t exsist)
  7. I also recommend setting the DefaultDomainName to your domain name (so there isn’t a problem if someone changes it)

Then reboot the computer and when it comes back online, you shouldn’t have to do anything and it should logon for you.  I included a Registry import file attached to this entry for anyone looking to quickly do it.  It just needs to be edited in your txt editor of choice with your domain and user information.

Edit file before use

NOTE: As with every time you make changes to the registry, I recommend you make a backup of the registry prior to making the change. Failure to do so may cause problem with the registry and cause your computer to no longer work.

If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at
me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and during the rest of the week for other technical insights.

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