The user accounts that are created in Windows will by default show up in the logon screen. This behavior provides a convenience for the users to login by clicking on their user account and typing their password to login to Windows. However, there are times when you want to hide the user accounts from showing up in the login screen as an additional security especially when you are sharing a computer. Fortunately Microsoft has provided a way to hide specific users accounts from being listed at the welcome screen for Windows XP and the login screen in Windows Vista/7. This involves editing the registry, adding the username that you want to hide and giving it a value data of 0. The easiest way to do it is by using a portable and free tool called XP User Hide. Although the name of this program seems to target only Windows XP, we’ve tested it on Windows 7 and it works perfectly except you need to run it as administrator (Right Click > Run as Administrator). Simply check the user(s) that you don’t want to show at the login screen and click OK. To unhide the account, simply run the XP User Hide program again and untick the checkbox for the user account.
When the user account is hidden from the login screen, have you thought about how can you login to the user account that is hidden? In Windows XP, the solution is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del twice and the classic log on to Windows dialog box will appear so you can type in the username and password. If for some reason you cannot get the login box to display after pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del twice, you can also get the classic log on to Windows diaglog box to appear by booting into Safe Mode.
As for Windows 7, the classic log on to Windows dialog box has been removed and pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del key twice will not work either. It doesn’t really make any sense for Microsoft to allow hiding user accounts in Windows 7 when there is no way to login to the hidden account other than using the account for scheduled tasks and services. You can however enable the classic logon prompt where no user accounts will be displayed at the login screen and it shows two empty boxes for you to type in the user name and password.
To do the above, click the Start button, type regedit at the search bar and press Enter. Navigate to the following registry path:
Look for dontdisplaylastusername at the right pane and double click on it. Change the value data from 0 to 1. Alternatively, just download this registry file and run it on your computer to save you all the trouble of manually editing the Windows registry.
If you’ve accidentally hidden all user accounts in Windows 7 and is not able to login to Windows, what you can do is follow the instructions on this article on how to edit the registry without booting in to Windows, and enable the dontdisplaylastusername in registry so you can log in back and unhide the hidden user accounts.