Let’s take a look at a little trick to login Windows with a local user account instead of a domain account. By default, when the user enters username on the Welcome Screen of a domain-joined machine, and there is also a local account with the same name, the domain account will take precedence. We keep coming across people that don’t know this little trick, so we thought it would be worthwhile sharing.
Logging Into Local Accounts on Windows
After the computer is joined to the Active Directory domain, you can sign in under the domain or local user account. On the login screen in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, there is a drop-down list “Log on to“. Here you can choose whether you want to log in under the domain account or using a local user (select “this computer”).
However, in newer versions of Windows, this drop-down menu no longer exists. Instead of this, a user is facing with a small button How to log on to another domain which appears near on the domain-joined computers Welcome Screen. If you click this button, the following tip will appear:
Type domain namedomain user name to sign in to another domain.
Type NY-FS01\local user name to sign in to this PC only (not a domain)
As you can see, the message contains the name of your computer/server (NY-FS01 in our case). If you want to login with a local account, for example, Administrator, type in NY-FS01\Administrator in the User name field and type the password. Of course, if your computer name is quite long, the input can be a real challenge!
Fortunately, there is a simple trick that allows you to log in under a local account.
Login Windows with Local Account without Typing Computer Name
Windows uses the dot as the alias symbol for the local computer:
- In the username field simply enter .\. The domain below will disappear, and switch to your local computer name without typing it;
- Then specify your local username after the .\. It will use the local account with that username.
You can also type the computer name followed by a backslash and the username, and it will do the same thing.
This way you can logon to a local account on a domain-joined computer on all Windows versions. This applies versions from Windows Vista to Windows 10/Windows Server 2016.
Tip. You can use the same trick when you need to use the local user credential to access the shared folder over the network (using SMB protocol).
How to Login to Windows 10 under the Local Account Instead of Microsoft Account?
In the latest Windows 10 builds, Microsoft recommends using Microsoft accounts instead of local Windows accounts. On Windows 10 1909 you can’t even create a local account when installing Windows if you have an Internet connection available. If you do not want to use the Microsoft account on Windows 10, you can switch to a traditional local account.
- Open the menu Settings > Accounts > Your info;
- Click on the button Sign in with a local account instead;
- Enter your current Microsoft account password;
- Specify a username, password, and a password hint for your new local Windows account;
- Press the Sign out and finish button;
- Now you can log in to Windows 10 under local account. Your Windows 10 account will disconnect from your Microsoft account.
Once you completed these steps, your Windows 10 account will be disconnected from your Microsoft account. It will switch to the traditional local account style.
Show All Local Accounts on Welcome Screen in Windows 10
On Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019, you can list all enabled local user accounts on the Logon Screen. To show all local users on Windows 10 Welcome Screen:
- Open the local group policy editor – gpedit.msc;
- Expand the following GPO section: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Logon;
- Enable the policy “Enumerate local users on domain-joined computers”;
- Update local policy setting on your computer using gpupdate command;
- Logoff, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your Windows 10 Welcome Screen, and check the local account list.
As a result, you do not need to type the user name manually, but simply select it from the local account list.
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