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How to hide user accounts from the log-on screen in Windows 7

Log on with both user name and password for added security

Not every user account is meant to be seen by other people. When password-protection just doesn't cut it and you want that extra bit of discretion, you should hide your accounts from the log-in screen altogether. Here's how.

It's not always the best idea to use the same user account for every task. Variety is the spice of life, and having multiple log-ins can help you keep yourself organized. It's often beneficial to separate the different areas of your digital activities cleanly, such as financial transactions from private conversations. However, these extra accounts don't have to be seen by everyone. We'll show you how you can make them invisible by having Windows ask all users to enter both their user name and password instead of just selecting their user symbol. See also: How to customize the Windows 7 logon screen

There are two main methods to do this: Either by going through the registry or by going through the “Local Security Policies” of Windows. Keep in mind that the latter of which will only work on Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, however.

Method 1: Modifying the registry

To hide your accounts, you will first need to enter your registry. As always, many ways eventually lead to Rome, but the fastest can usually be found in pressing the Windows-key + R to bring up the Run window and entering "regedit". Make sure that your PC asks you to confirm administrator rights, though, as you will need them to apply any changes to the system. If that isn't the case, try looking for "regedit" in the search field of Windows 7, right-click the corresponding entry and select "Run as Administrator".

Once that is done, turn your attention towards the left panel and navigate along the path of "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies > System“. You should be able to find the entry “dontdisplaylastusername” on the right side. Rick-click it, select “modify” and change its value from 0 to 1.

Tip: In order to roll back your changes and make your account visible again, head back into the registry to previous entry and change its value back to 0.

This might also interest you: Does the Windows logon screen protect your data?

Method 2: Modifying the “Local Security Policies”

Alternatively, you may also achieve the same result by going through the slightly more user-friendly “Local Security Policies” of Windows. Hold down the Windows-key + R at the same time and enter “secpol.msc”. This should bring up the “Local Security Policy” window. On the left side, click on “Local Policies” followed by “Security Options” and search for “Interactive logon: Do not display last user name” on the right panel. Right-click it, select "Properties" and switch the status from "Disbabled" to “Enabled.” Click “OK” or “Apply” and close the window.

To take a look at your new and more secure log-in screen, simply log yourself out. Obviously, make sure to remember the exact spelling of your user name before doing so, as you won't be able to log in again otherwise.

Tip: You can add an additional layer of security by making Windows request holding "Strg + Alt + Del" before logging in. To activate this feature, press Windows-key + R, enter "netplwiz", switch to the "Advanced-Tab" in the "User Accounts" window and activate the box "Require users to press CTRL+Alt+Delete before loggin on".

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