Windows 7 – Creating A Hidden Account

For file sharing purposes I have always had at least one hidden account on my computer.  Currently I have one that I use to connect my Linux box to my Windows 7 box, and a second for allowing friends to copy MP3s and Movies off my drive when I go to lan parties.  Unfortunately, when you create an account for sharing purposes Windows will automatically add it to the login screen. Since this not only causes clutter on our login screen, but a security threat as well, I will show you how to remove this user from the list.

The process for hiding an account has not changed since Windows XP.  This involves tweaking the registry so I do not recommend proceding if you are not comfortable doing so.  To access the registry editor, select Start->Run or hold down your Windows key and hit R.  In the next prompt, enter regedit and hit enter.

Navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon and create a sub-key named SpecialAccounts if it does not already exist.  Inside of that key you will create another called UserList.  Make sure UserList is selected and on the right hand side right click and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Give this new value the same name as the user account that you would like to hide.

Regedit

To confirm that it worked hold down your Windows key and hit L which will lock the computer. If you see the user in your list then lock back into your admin user and double check your configuration. If not, then you have successfully hidden it.

To make this process a little more simple, you can create a text file will the following contents and save it with a .reg extension. This is very handy if you need to do it on serveral computers or if like myself you have many registry tweaks you need to apply each time you reinstall Windows.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList
"lan"=dword:00000000

In this example I use lan as the username, you can of course use whichever username you like just make sure to update the value in the DWORD value. After saving this file you can simply double-click the registry file and it will automatically apply it for you.

In the event that you would like to log into this user you can activate the old Pre-XP login screen by hitting CTRL+Alt+Del at the login screen. You will be prompted for a username and password, enter the appropriate values and hit ok. Keep in mind this will create a desktop profile for the user the first time you log into it, so the first time you do this it may take a bit longer.


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16 Responses to “Windows 7 – Creating A Hidden Account”

  1. dougb says:

    Not required – hidden NSA account already included.

  2. fettesps says:

    Never heard of it, and when I Googled it I didn’t find anything about it. Care to elaborate?

  3. dougb says:

    Search registry for NSAkey.

  4. ajehals says:

    Firstly, if it is a security threat, hiding it is at best security through obscurity, if it is just about hiding which user appears in the login screen to remove clutter, well then surely there should be a better way than editing the registry…

  5. biggame says:

    Such as… ?

  6. ajehals says:

    A preference setting? Maybe one of those wizard things Windows is so keen on? Editing the registry is the single most insane way of dealing with the configuration of an OS I have ever come across, especially when the keys are nonsensical (and one of the reasons that Gnomes emulation of the registry by way of gconf-editor seems such a piss poor move).

  7. INIT_6 says:

    That is fucking retarded. Why create a `Hidden` account. It wont help protect you in the courts. When they make a 1:1 copy of your drive and then analyze it. They will find everything. It’s not like you are creating a secret account and encrypting it so no one can get in.

  8. kanez says:

    I think you missed the point about why it’s being hidden. It has nothing to do with protecting yourself in court.

  9. INIT_6 says:

    Must have, I thought he was talking about him doing that to protect him self some how. “but a security threat as well” This has nothing to do with security.

    I re-read the article and I guess it’s just to help with clutter. what is cool I guess.

  10. Farscape says:

    The ‘use ctl-alt-del to get to a login prompt’ bit at the end doesn’t work. I suspect that most people reading this thread are looking for a way to log into hidden accounts– the XP method of pressing ctl-alt-del twice to get a login prompt has been disabled in Win 7.

    Bad move, Microsoft. Organizations with public PCs don’t want to put a login entry for their administrator account on their opening screen– it’s a blatant, stupid security issue.

  11. crakdit says:

    “you can activate the old Pre-XP login screen by hitting CTRL+Alt+Del at the login screen”

    The windows 7 machine I’m working with doesn’t bring up the login box when hitting CTRL+Alt+Del ?? Nothing happens. I know on XP you had to hit it twice in a row but I can’t get it to work here.

  12. Carroll B. Merriman says:

    Your RSS feed not work in my browser (google chrome) how can I sort it?

  13. Edgar says:

    I needed to create that so i can have an account to log in over vpn and create backups.
    It is too ugly to leave that as interactive login.
    This post was helpful in getting that resolved.

    Thank you.

  14. Nishkarsh says:

    thnx, same reason as Edgar above.
    YaY!

  15. CB says:

    I use it on my kids’ computers. Since they have admin rights and could easily delete my account thinking they’ve outsmarted the “old man”(oh, it was an accident). They never know it’s there.

    It’s where I hide the parental control software. I see it as an asset should I need to gain access.

  16. Linus says:

    Very handy if you are a kid that likes hacking and cracking and like to plrank your friends and also great when my dad makes his account hidden he thinks i am not smart enough

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