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Friday, December 08, 2006

How to change the default Vista Logon Screen?

The style of the log on screen in Vista is just another example of an area overhauled in comparison with prior versions of the Windows operating system. But what happens if you are found of the logon screen in Windows XP and Windows 2000 to such an extent that this affinity cannot be cured by the Vista logon screen. What happens if you just want to go back. Can you?

Well, the answer is yes. But it is a partial yes, and you will understand this as we go along. But first take a deep breath and make peace with the old logon screen as it is gone for good. But, with Vista, Microsoft does permit a classic style logon screen.

This is possible via the Windows Local Security Policy Editor, or “secpol” tool. To launch the Local Security Policy Editor click start, Control Panel, System Maintenance, Administrative Tools, local Security Policy. Click “Continue” to the prompt presented by the User Account Control. If you are not presented with one, it's fine, just move on.

In the Local Security Policy editor you will see two panes, one on the left with tree-view navigation and one on the right which will have the actual definitions and items to edit. On the left hand side, expand (either by clicking on the arrow or double clicking) the "Local Policies" section, and then click on "Security Options". On the right hand side, scroll down until you see "Interactive logon: Do not display last user name". Double click on this entry and you will be presented with a dialog box that has two options - "Enabled" and "Disabled", with Disabled being selected as default. Change this setting to "Enabled", and then click on the OK button.

After double clicking “Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL” select the Disable option and hit OK. Next, close the Local Security Policy editor, as you are done. Log off. When you are prompted by a request to press CTRL-ALT-DEL do so, and you will get the classic style logon screen you have been labored so hard to achieve. I trust that you can return to the default Vista style logon screen by yourselves. What do you say folks!!


  1. Anonymous said,

    Just want I was looking for. Thanks

    on 1/21/2007 1:13 AM

  2. Anonymous said,

    Thanks for the post/answer. No offence pls, but your article is just too wordy...

    on 3/18/2007 1:34 PM

  3. Jason S said,


    Yes you are right.
    Nowadays, my article's have become better I guess ;)

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Jason S

    on 3/18/2007 2:24 PM

  4. Anonymous said,

    Exactly describes what I was looking for. I wish MS would make it easier for us to disable all the eyecandy. They should put this into the forthcoming TweakUI.

    on 3/27/2007 4:38 PM

  5. Jason S said,

    That's really Nice to know :)

    on 3/27/2007 7:37 PM

  6. Anonymous said,

    thanks man, this article helps!

    on 5/01/2007 6:48 PM

  7. k3n85 said,

    Yeah, works like a charm, is there a way to change the CTRL/ALT/DEL type to a logo or have a default picture for where you logon? so it's not just a blank square?

    on 5/16/2007 9:33 PM

  8. Anonymous said,

    Many thanks - just the information I was seeking. :)

    on 5/26/2007 2:25 AM

  9. yacoblassey said,

    hi i can get up to the administrative tools step put i can not find "local security policy" i am running vista home premium. thanks in advance, jacob

    on 6/10/2007 3:13 PM

  10. Anonymous said,

    I've been looking for a way to do this. Thanks for the post!

    on 6/27/2007 8:29 PM

  11. Chris Agpaoa said,

    well done! thank you so much!

    on 6/29/2007 7:52 AM

  12. Chris Agpaoa said,

    Just what I needed! Thanks!

    on 6/29/2007 7:52 AM

  13. Jason S said,

    Nice to know that the information posted here helped.


    on 6/29/2007 12:36 PM

  14. Anonymous said,

    Very Handy!!!! Thank you!!!

    on 7/16/2007 9:09 AM

  15. Anonymous said,

    About the "too wordy" -comment: maybe the article is too wordy, if you already know what the Local Security Configuration is all about, that´s true. But if you don´t, you cling to every word trying to understand and get it right. And since the article is probably written for everyone, not just "the experts", that´s exactly how it should be.

    Keep up the good work, and don´t let the experts reduce your use of words if you think a beginner might need them! :)

    on 11/12/2007 6:44 PM

  16. Anonymous said,

    There are registry entries that you should post for those that are stuck with any version other than Ultimate or Business.

    In addition what I find interesting is that even though you get to press ctrl+alt+delete & enter the user name & password, it's still the Welcome Screen. Even though you can hide the Switch User menu item, Fast User Switching is still being used. Personally I've never liked the Welcome Screen & Fast User Switching because it always seemed to take a bit performance hit on the machine. Once again Microsoft know's best and there's no way out it in Vista.

    on 2/05/2008 12:05 AM

  17. Anonymous said,

    I'm running VISTA Home Premium and do not see Local Security Policy or even secpol.msc on my system. In XP secpol.msc is under \system32 but the search in VISTA doesn't find it.

    on 3/02/2008 1:34 AM

  18. Anonymous said,

    Same as the above.

    on 4/02/2008 2:30 AM

  19. Anonymous said,

    For those using Windows Versions other than Ultimate/Business, follow these steps:

    CTRL+ALT+DEL Login:

    1) Open the Start Menu, type in "cmd", then press enter.

    2) When the command prompt opens, type "control userpasswords2"

    3) It will ask if you want to run the program (if UAC is on). Click "Continue."

    4) In the "Advanced" tab on the bottom "Secure Logon" Box, check the "Require Users to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete" box.

    5) You're all set! To undo this, repeat steps 1-3, then uncheck that same box in the "Advanced" tab.

    Now for hiding your user account, you will need a quick registry modification. This can easily be reversed, so have no fear. As opposed to having a nice, simple check box, they make us change it ourselves.

    1) Click Start, then type "regedit" and hit enter.

    2) If UAC is on, allow Registry Editor to run.

    3) Navigate to:

    "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \System"

    4) Once there, look for the name "dontdisplaylastusername" and double click it.

    5) Change the value from "0" to "1"

    6) That's it! Logout, and see if it works. To undo this, simply follow steps 1-4 and change the value back to "0"

    on 7/10/2008 11:26 AM

  20. Jason S said,

    Thanks a lot Chris!!


    on 7/10/2008 11:41 AM

  21. Anonymous said,

    I did not see "local Security Policy" in the Administrative tools menu. Is the work around you posted for a particular version of Windows Vista?
    My computer has Window Vista Home Premium installed.

    on 9/08/2008 4:14 AM

  22. Anonymous said,

    I just read the whole article, and see my question was answered.

    Please disregrarde my question about not being able to find "local Security Policy" in the Administrative tools menu.

    on 9/08/2008 4:18 AM

  23. Anonymous said,

    use simpler words please.

    on 9/18/2008 11:21 AM

  24. Anonymous said,

    Chris, thanks for your answer, but with these 2 things you don't get the little logon window you could get in XP. Still getting the whole screen wasty logon.

    on 10/21/2008 7:23 PM

  25. Unknown said,

    YOU ROCK! I needed to reconfigure a bunck of VM's and I was really hating that screen Thanks so much!

    on 12/15/2008 9:42 PM

  26. Anonymous said,

    These instructions do NOT bring up the "Classic" (NT Style) logon dialog.

    We are experimenting with Vista Ultimate, and these settings do not open the NT Style boxed logon dialog. These just change the Vista Style logon dialog.

    We need the old NT Style box logon dialog.

    on 12/04/2009 12:23 AM

  27. Anonymous said,

    Great job dude...I have got what I was looking for..Thanks a tone..

    on 7/14/2010 12:12 PM