Hiding user accounts – fast user switching – security concerns

Okay so here is the deal:  I recently setup a series of new computers.  They “had” to be set to the easiest possible way of logging on.  The choice was made to go with the “fast user switching” option (this is what it was called in XP).  In Windows 7 the option still exists but it is now moved to local security policies

To enable the icons for users instead of usernames here is what you need to do

Logon to the PC with an admin account.  In the search/run box type: “Local Security Policy” and click the corresponding entry in the menu.

Local security

Once this opens navigate to “Local Policies”->”Security Options” and scroll through the list of entries until you locate “Interactive Logon: Do not display last username”

local security no history interactive logon

This entry does not seem very intuitive.  “Interactive Logon” is when you are sitting at the keyboard (as opposed to remote sessions).  The second part  means that the last username will not remain on screen.  This can be a bit of a security risk.  If someone wants to compromise your system you really don’t want them to have a place to start: giving them the usernames would do just that.  Luckily for me, in this case, it was not an issue so this setting was the only one needing to be changed.  Change from “Not Defined” to “Enabled” and you will be greeted with a list of icons next time you logon

Simple right 😉