Waiting for your computer to start and Windows to load is a time consuming yet necessary evil. Or is it? While there's no way to instantly go from a cold boot to signed in and ready to go (though having an SSD definitely helps), there is a simple method to configure Windows 8.1 to automatically sign in while still maintaining your account's password security. Sound impossible? Well it's not! All you need to do is enable automatic sign in and tell Windows to automatically lock after signing in. Once configured, you can start your computer, walk away for a minute or two to pour a cup of coffee or go to the bathroom, and when you come back Windows will be signed in and ready to go. Just type your account password into the lock screen to get on with your day!
Works in Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
Part 1: Set Windows to Sign In Automatically
- Right-click the Start button and select Run to open the Run tool. Alternatively, press the Windows + R hotkey combination on your keyboard.
- Type netplwiz into the Open field and click OK.
- Click to select your user account and uncheck the Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox. Click Apply.
- Type your password into the Password and Confirm Password fields. Click OK twice to save the setting.
Windows is now set to automatically sign in to your user account every time you start your computer.
Part 2: Set Windows to Lock Automatically After Automatic Sign In
- Right-click a blank area of your desktop and select New > Shortcut.
- Type rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation into the location field and click Next.
- Type a name for the lock shortcut into the name field, such as Lock.
- Optionally, you can change the icon for the lock shortcut. To do so, right-click the shortcut and select Properties.
- Click Change Icon.
- Type C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll into the Look for icons in this file field and press Enter. Scroll over to the lock icon and click it to select it. Click OK twice to save the shortcut icon.
- Open the Run tool again.
- Type %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup into the Open field and click OK to open the Windows Startup folder. Any shortcut or program placed in this folder runs automatically when Windows starts.
- Click and drag your lock shortcut into the Startup folder. Restart your computer to watch it sign in and lock automatically!