If you’re not concerned about someone using your computer without your permission, you can save some time when you restart or wake your Surface by setting it to auto logon to Windows.
This way, you can bypass the lock screen and the need to enter a password or a PIN to start using your Surface. If you are frequently waking or restarting your Surface, this can save you quite a bit of time. Also, if you’re setting up Surface tablets (or any other Windows 8.1 computers) for use in a classroom or library or work, it could be handy to configure them to logon to Windows automatically. It might also be good for a child’s tablet.
Be aware that there are some very significant security risks to automatically logging onto Windows. Especially for a highly-portable tablet computer like a Surface because you may be more likely to leave it laying around where someone may find it.
For starters, it means anyone can pickup your Surface and go through your files or use your web browser. If you have email configured, they will probably be able to see it too.
However, if you decide to do this after knowing the risks, I would recommend that you follow this advice…
- Make sure the account you have auto logon has guest or user permissions but NEVER administrator rights
- Use a local account so that there’s no SkyDrive files associated with it
- Do not set up email on the account that’s logging in automatically. If you need email set up on it use Outlook where you can set it to prompt for a password
So, keep the security issues in mind if you decide to setup auto logon to Windows on your Surface. You’re a smart person, you can make the call on your own.
OK, now let’s get to how to do it….
Auto Logon to Windows 8.1 on your Surface: Step By Step
- Make sure your Surface is NOT a member of an Active Directory domain. These steps probably won’t work for you if it is.
- From the Search Charm, search for “netplwiz”
- When the User Settings Window appears, un-check the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” box and tap Apply
- The Automatically sign in window will appear
- Enter the information for the account you want to logon to your Surface automatically with and tap OK.
- Restart your Surface
That’s it. Now every time you start or wake your Surface, it will auto logon to Windows and not ask for a password or PIN. If you decide that you don’t like this setup then just do the steps again but make sure you check the box.
Auto Logon to Windows 8.1 on your Surface: If You Have Trouble
If your Surface has been joined to an Active Directory domain, you probably won’t be able to setup auto logon to Windows on your Surface. It’s because most domains are configured to disallow it due to security concerns (see security warning at the top of this page).
Assuming that’s not the case, I’ve seen times where the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” box is missing.
Usually, this is because you’ve logged into a computer in an Active Directory domain (likely at work) while using your Microsoft account and some settings followed you back to your Surface. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix.
- Go to the Control Panel
- Select User Accounts
- Tap Reset Security Policies at the left of the windows
- Now you should be able to successfully set your Surface to auto logon.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you decide to try this, just make sure you keep track of your Surface. The extra convenience might not be worth the risk. However, like I said before, you’re a smart person and you can make this call yourself. I just want to make sure you’re making it while informed of the risks.
As usual, if you have questions, please let me know.