How to bypass the Windows 8 log-in screen

Users who don't need the security of a lock screen and a log-in screen can bypass both through a few simple steps.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows 8 runs a tight ship by throwing up a lock screen and a log-in screen before you can dive in. But you can easily bypass those screens so you don't have to type your password every time. Here's how:

  1. From the Start screen, type netplwiz. The command for netplwiz, aka the User Accounts Control Panel, appears in the search results in the left pane. Click that command.
  2. In the User Accounts Control Panel, select the account you wish to use to log in automatically.
  3. Click off the check-box above the account that says "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." Click OK.
  4. Enter your password once and then a second time to confirm it. Click OK.
  5. Restart Windows. Windows now bypasses the lock screen and the log-in screen to automatically take you to the Start screen.
  6. Change your mind? To re-enable the log-in screen, simply return to the User Accounts Control Panel using the steps above and click on the check-box for the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" option.

Running the netplwiz command to bypass the log-in process also works in previous versions of Windows. But it's especially helpful in Windows 8, where the Lock screen and log-in screens are enabled by default.

Those of you trying out the Windows 8 Release Preview in a crowded office may want to keep the log-in screen turned on. But for anyone who doesn't need the tight security, this process can shave off a couple of steps each time you want to launch Windows 8.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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