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I get this wrong every single time I install Windows XP (which is embarrassingly often). Somewhere during the install, it will ask you for your name, and whatever you give it will end up being the default user's login.

I want that login to look like "joe.smith" and require a password. It seems like this should be easy to do, but I've never once pulled it off.

Usually what ends up happening is that I get a user called "Joe Smith", for whom I can't set a password or change the username. So I end up making a second account called "joe.smith" and giving a password to that account. Thus, leaving TWO entries in the startup screen, one of which will let people on without asking for a password.

I'll be doing a reinstall on a fresh machine a couple weeks from now, and I'm reasonably certain I'll screw it up again. Since this can't possibly be hard to do, would somebody please be kind enough to walk me through it?


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his is the process to do it within XP using the default user login. Go to control panel and find the "user accounts" applet. Run it and follow the steps shown below in the pictures to rename the account. "Set a password for this account" will be one of the options. Not sure on the wording as all my accounts already have passwords assigned. The process is intuitive once you get into the right section of the user account applet.

Select Account

Account Options

Change Username

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