Only show user and password text boxes on Windows 7 Logon Screen (hide usernames)

The default (and most user-friendly) behavior Windows 7 enforces for its logon screen is to show clickable icons for each user that has been created on a particular computer; this typically includes at least a PC Administrator and a "Guest Account" (although you can disable the guest account). The downside of this approach is of course that you are giving away 50% of the information needed to get into the computer, since a hacker (or ill-intentioned roommate!) only has to guess the password. But, as you'll learn in this tutorial, Windows 7 includes a security feature that allows you to show a blank username and password text boxes on the welcome screen you see after restarting or waking up your computer: this means that one needs to know or guess both the username and the password to gain access to the machine.

Tip: see this next tutorial to control how many times Windows 7 lets you enter a wrong password before locking out that particular user account.


Disable clickable username icons on the welcome screen

Follow these simple steps to hide usernames on the logon screen; note that you need Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise edition to use this easier approach (what version of Windows do I have?). Otherwise, we explain below how to hide usernames on logon screen using the registry.

From this point on, when your PC starts, you'll have to supply both username and password to access a profile. Make sure to tell others to memorize their exact user name before you actually enable this new security policy! (Memento: Windows usernames are not case-sensitive, but passwords are.)

Hide usernames on logon screen using the registry

If you have Windows 7 Home Premium / Basic or Windows 7 starter, here's how to enable the same setting using the registry. Type "regedit" in the start menu's search field, and click on the first result. Once the registry editor has opened, go to the following node (double-click on each to expand it).

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies > System

Edit the "DontDisplayLastUserName" DWORD (create it if needed), and change its value to "1" to enable the feature, or "0" to disable it. The new setting also takes effect right away.
Disable usernames on Windows 7 welcome screen through registry

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