Let’s take a look on a little trick to login Windows with a local user account instead of a domain account. By default, when a username is entered 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. In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, on the login screen 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 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 list on the domain-joined computers Welcome Screen. If you click this button, the following tip will appear:
Type domain name\domain 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, its 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 .\ and the domain below will disappear and switch to your local computer name without typing it.
Then just specify your local username after the .\ and 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 accomplish the same thing.
This way you can logon to a local account on a domain-joined computer on all Windows versions starting from Windows Vista an ending with Windows 10/Windows Server 2016.
Tip. The same trick can be used when you need to use the local user credential when accessing the shared folder over the network (using SMB protocol).
How to Login Windows 10 under the Local Account Instead of Microsoft Account?
In the latest Windows 10 builds, Microsoft recommends to use 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 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 hit for your new local Windows account;
- Press the Sign out and finish button
- Now you can login Windows 10 under local account (your Windows 10 account will be disconnected from your Microsoft account)
Once you completed these steps, your Windows 10 account will be disconnected from your Microsoft account, and 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.