How to remove the boot-up password in Windows

Question: Every time I boot up, the “Welcome to Windows” box comes up and wants a password. I don’t use a password, so it slows down the boot. How can I get rid of this? –A.L.

Answer: Let me explain how the Windows Desktop works because, if I just tell you how to remove the password, your Desktop will suddenly change, for reasons that will become apparent. Then you’ll be mad at me and I’d make myself go stand in the corner. That would be bad because that’s time-consuming and I have a full calendar.

This solution applies to both Windows 95 and 98. So here goes.

The Desktop is the place where you work when Windows boots up. It’s where all your shortcuts exist. It’s where you can put files that are easily accessible. It’s also where you put Windows wallpaper when you’re bored. If more than one person accesses a computer, they can all use the same Desktop.

Think about how everyone uses the same living room at home. It’s usually fine, but change the position of the TV — or, on the computer, a file on the Desktop — and everyone is affected. Personal space is also possible on a computer, just like at home, where everyone has their own bedroom that they can decorate without affecting others.

To add to the analogy, think of the log-in and password as a door. The living room doesn’t have a door. Bedrooms do.

So on your Windows machine, do you have a bedroom configuration or living room setup? Here’s how you tell.

If you are prompted for a user name and password when your computer boots up, then you’re in bedroom mode. You have a living room configuration if your computer boots straight into Windows. So here’s how to go from bedroom mode to living room mode on your computer.

There are three things you need to do.

  • Copy your existing desktop to the generic desktop so you don’t lose the files on the desktop.
  • Remove the personalized settings.
  • Set the computer to single user mode.

First, use Windows Explorer to find your personalized desktop settings. They are kept in c:windowsprofilesuserdesktop where user is the name of the personalized desktop. It’s also the user login on boot-up. This is important, because if you switch from the bedroom method to the living room method, as A.L. is requesting, the location of the Desktop changes on the hard drive.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Let’s say A.L.’s user log-in name is binky.
  2. Go to c:windowsprofilesbinkydesktop and copy everything in that folder to the folder called c:windowsdesktop.
  3. Then go back into Control Panel and click on the Users applet. Select binky in the user list.
  4. Then click Remove. POOF! Binky is gone. The system will then delete all his settings.
  5. Now go into the Passwords applet and select All users of this PC use the same Preferences and Desktop settings.
  6. Now reboot your machine. There will be no more bothersome prompts for user names and passwords.

Here’s a final word on settings.

If you have ever downloaded a file from the Internet and told it to save the file to the “Desktop”, and later couldn’t find the file, remember that there are two folders to check. If your Windows is set up like a “living room”, your Desktop is at c:windowsdesktop. If it’s set up like a bedroom, it’s at c:windowsprofiles”your user name”desktop.