I’ve written a few of these instructional videos and posts, and one in particular – How To Set Up TeamViewer For Wake On Lan – raised some questions about machines being rebooted remotely and then becoming inaccessible to the remote user. For my article How To Set Up TeamViewer to Allow Remote Control Even With No User Signed In to Windows, some argue that they are unable to log on through TeamViewer, which prompted the questions: is TeamViewer configured to run as a windows service? Does the user know how to configure the TeamViewer installation to allow logging on to a remote machine when there is no logged in user?
For many of us, the extra step of logging on to a windows PC is a drag. Especially when we have a desktop computer and we never go mobile with it. A laptop, on the other hand, should never be configured for automatic logon! That would be security suicide. Laptops should require a password when starting up, when coming out of sleep mode or hibernation, and whenever the screen saver has been running. Laptops should have a 4 digit PIN set up at the BIOS level as well. And to make it even more secure, Laptops should have BitLocker or some kind of hard drive encryption software configured and running so that even if a thief got hold of the machine and couldn’t log in, they would not be able to remove the hard drive and view the contents.
One could say the same for desktops, but in all actuality the level and frequency of authentication for desktops really depends on who uses it and what it’s being used for. If you only have a single desktop computer then it might be just fine to turn on the BIOS PIN feature so NO ONE can start your computer without it, and set it up so you need a password for startup, and everything else. For me, I need access to my work PC from home and my home PC from work, and I’m never in both places and many times no one is there to help if I can’t do something. So I have my desktop PC’s configured to never ask for a password except during startup. The only thing I have on these PC’s that would be of interest to a crook is my accounting file, which is password protected, and my password vault, which is encrypted and password protected. I really don’t care if they get ahold of my Visual Studio project files. Not really. My software is dull and boring – hardly amazing enough for someone to want to steal.
So, you know, all things being equal, I wouldn’t mind if all – or at least some – of my PC’s automatically logged on after a reboot. Case in point: the PC I use on my big screen TV in the living room. It has relatively nothing on it except a few programs, My Pictures, and My Videos. There is nothing sensitive on it. It would be nice to run a Windows Update, and reboot the PC, then swith over to my TiVo and not worry about having to switch back just to log in. I think this is a good little Windows tidbit to share, so here goes:
How To: Configure a User Account to Log On Automatically
This is so simple, but it’s not easy to figure out without doing a little Googling to try and find some instructions. Once you know what to do, it’s a pretty simple matter to configure a user account to log on automatically to a windows 7 or 8 machine. FYI – this may work in Vista and even Windows XP, but I’ve never tried it.
- Click Start, type netplwiz, and then press Enter.
- In the User Accounts dialog box, slect the account you want to automatically log on to. Clear the Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer check box.
- Click OK.
- In the Automatically Log On dialog box, enter the user’s password twice and click OK.
The next time you restart your computer, it will automatically sign in with the user account and password you set up with these instructions, but BEWARE: The user name and password are stored in plain text in the registry, so it is possible that somebody with the technical knowledge of where to look could find your password. Use caution if you configure a user account to log on automatically to Windows.
Have an AWESOME Day!!!
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