Over the past few years, many technology vendors have put their focus more on security. Microsoft is no exception as is evident with numerous security enhancements in Windows Vista. However, in some cases, Vista security options may be overkill, especially if you are the only one who uses the computer. User Account Control, also known as UAC, nags you to determine whether you really meant to take action. Windows also forces you to login to your computer with a username and password by default, even if you are the only person who ever uses the computer.

If you do not share your computer with any other users and no one else has access to it, you can configure Windows Vista to logon automatically. Using auto logon to Windows makes sense for a desktop computer in your house where no one else is likely to come in and access your files. The big risk in not requiring a username and password is the computer is wide open to any other person walking up, sitting down, and accessing your files and Internet passwords. If your computer is in your home and doesn’t ever travel, this is typically a fairly low risk proposition.

To switch Windows from the default of requiring a password to using auto logon, click Start and type netplwiz in the Search field and then press Enter. Click Continue when the User Account Control window appears.

Windows Vista Auto Logon

From the User Accounts window that appears, verify that your own user account is selected. Clear the checkbox next to Users must enter a username and password to use this computer option (see the screenshot above) and click OK. Provide the password for your user account when prompted. Before the Windows automatic login takes effect, you will need to restart your computer. Vista will automatically logon with your user account when the reboot completes.

Just open the same user account window if you want to re-enable the passwords on your account.