Stump the Geeks

Tips for bypassing the login page

Staff WriterNovember 24, 2008 

Editor's note: After hearing from several frustrated readers, Stump the Geeks columnist Anne Krishnan revised her recent column on how to bypass the login page on Windows to include more detailed instructions. In particular, please note the importance of selecting the correct user account and password.

Q: Whenever I update my system on "update Tuesday," I have to reboot every time. I also reboot on my own from time to time. When I reboot, I like to go do something else for a few minutes but I can't, because I have to click OK to get by the Windows login page. I have no login password on my system. What can I do to bypass the login page and have the system be at the desktop when I get back to continue with my work?

G.F., High Point

A: The process is very similar for both Windows XP and Vista, said Priscilla Alden with UNC-Chapel Hill's Information Technology Services.

First, click on the "Start" button in the lower left corner of the screen. In XP, select "Run," type "control userpasswords2" in the box and press "Enter." For Vista, type "control userpasswords2" in the "Search" box and press "Enter." From here, both XP and Vista are the same.

Make sure that the box for "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" is checked. Select which user account you would like to log in automatically. If you skip this step, the administrator will automatically be selected and this could make trouble for you later. Now uncheck the box for "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer."

Click OK and you will be prompted to enter the user account password. Double-check here that the correct user has been selected; if not, type in the correct account. Type your password in the boxes; if you have no password, leave this blank.

Click OK again and enjoy your coffee break.

Q: My computer is running extremely slowly; it takes several minutes to boot up and agonizingly long to respond to any command. I believe there may be programs running that I can't see, but don't know how to find out which ones I might be able to eliminate from start up or how to do it. Can you help?

V.S.

A: "A 'slow computer' makes up about half of our business," Alden said.

She suggests going back to the "Start" menu and the "Run" box. Type "msconfig" and choose the "Startup" tab to see which programs are set to run when your computer starts. You can disable any that are unnecessary.

Alden cautions against removing programs indiscriminately. If you don't know what a program does, try searching the Web first or just leave it alone, she said.

If this doesn't help, you may need to add more RAM to your computer or go to the extreme measure of reloading the operating system and software.

Internet addiction

Do you use the Internet for more than six hours a day? Spend time wishing you were online? Hide your Web surfing from friends and family?

According to Chinese researchers, you may be addicted to the Internet.

China's health ministry is expected to officially define Internet addiction next year and register the condition with the World Health Organization. It would be the first country to do so.

Send your technology questions to stumpthegeeks@newsobserver.com. Please include your name, city and a daytime phone number. Sorry, we can't answer every question. And given the tricky nature of many tech problems, we can't guarantee our answers will work for every situation.

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