21 October, 2011

Employing Windows XP Logon Screen in Windows 7

The welcome screen in Windows 7 beta, which is...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I spent some 2 hours at our End User Support area, and one of the things that our main guy, the one doing all the OS installation and setup of individual and production PCs and laptops, was the user acceptability of Windows 7 for the general user group.

Mainly, the big difference between Windows 7 and Windows XP is right from the start: the Logon screen.

In Windows XP, users are so used to seeing 3 boxes:
In Windows 7, you don't see the boxes, but you either see the name of the last logged user, and a box for the password, or you get 2 choices: the last logged user, and 'switch user'. Now, laying aside all questions of intelligence and common sense, an average user (and sometimes even a geek) would never try to guess and attempt clicking on the 'switch user' icon. Especially if that is their orientation, don't play-play.

So now you get the picture - will Windows 7 be accepted easily? It is like saying, go into that new house, there are better things there - and the average tenant can't even figure out how to open the gate...

Keystroke Logger and Computer Monitoring Software

Is there a workaround?

I told him I didn't knew about this problem, since in out team, we are on 99.9% single-user PC/laptop usage ratio. But things are different in the production line. And I said I would look it up in the web.
I did find some very simple solutions, applicable to both Windows Vista and Windows 7, and while the approach may be different between the flavors of Windows 7, the effect is the same.

Here goes:
  1. Click on Windows 7 pearl (hey, it isn't a button anymore).
  2. Type secpol.msc and hit [Enter] (that's for Security Policy).
  3. At the left side, click on Local Policies, then on Security Options.
  4. Then at the right side, click any item, then press "i". That brings you to the list of items beginning with "I".
  5. The main item to Enable is: "Interactive logon: Do not display last user name".
  6. Enabling this is optional: "Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL + ALT + DEL". Enabling this means users will immediately see 2 boxes at the logon screen: username and password.
  7. Close window, and we are done.


I managed to apply these to 2 desktop PCs, and my laptop. I'm just happy that with this simple solution, the objective can be met.

As for the laptop, it isn't exactly the same screen, because there is an additional option for logging in: biometrics sensor.

Hopefully, we are helping to get Windows 7 less resisted but more accepted in the line.
Till then!