Hide user account in Windows Vista

I built a new computer recently, pretty close to top of the line and decided to go with Windows Vista for the operating system to learn it's quirks, and move forward (also I wanted the pretty). So far, I am pleased with the setup, everything is working just fine, and I have not had that much difficulty in setting things up similar to how I had them setup in Windows XP.

One thing I did want to do a few times was use the runas command at a command prompt in order to run a certain command, such as ipconfig, as the Administrator account. By default the Administrator account is marked as disabled, which prevents you from using it as a target account in a runas. Also, even though my regular account was a member of the Administrator group, certain actions still could not be performed. Maybe I just needed to put myself in other groups, but rather than mess with that, I simply wanted to be able to use runas /user:Administrator "command here", enter the password, and be on my way. Easy to enable, just enable the Administrator account and it works.

As a result of enabling the administrator account though, it would now show up on my welcome screen along with my regular account. This is a side effect I did NOT want. Searched around a bit on google for how to hide accounts in Vista, but mostly only came up with stuff on how to do this in XP. One person on one of these pages said that in Vista they keys used for XP were removed or moved somewhere, so some other solution was needed. Well, I went looking for these keys and sure enough, they did not exist where they were said to be.

What people (in the results I found anyway) failed to mention though, was all you had to do was add these keys in yourself and everything worked just fine. These keys are still supported, and still do the same thing they did in XP. The only difference I guess is they do not exist by default, you have to create them yourself. So, if you want to hide a user account from the Windows Vista Welcome / Logon screen here is what you do:

  1. Click the start logo.
  2. Open the Registry editor. You can do this by simply typing regedit in the search box in the start menu, or clicking Run and typing it into the Run dialog.
  3. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  4. Right-click the Winlogon key in the left-hand pane and select New -> Key. Name this new key SpecialAccounts.
  5. Right-click the new SpecialAccounts key in the left-hand pane and select New -> Key. Name this new key UserList. Select this key after it is created.
  6. With the UserList key selected, right-click in the Right-hand pane and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  7. Name the new DWORD value the same as the account you want hidden. In my case, the name of the value was Administrator
  8. Make sure the value of this new DWord is set to zero (0) to hide the account. You could also set it to 1 to show the account if you so desired.

That is it. Next time you see the welcome screen any accounts you have listed there and set to 0 will not appear, but you can still login to them using runas, or any other login method. Enjoy!

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