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On my computer, I am running Windows XP Home Edition SP2 with only one user account. I prefer the newer Windows XP login screen (where you click the user to get in) rather than typing in the user name – and I have a password for the single account.

Up until recently, while at this login screen, I would not be required to click on my profile in order to activate the blinking character for password entry. If I wanted to log in, I simply turned on the computer and when it was ready, I would simply enter the password because the box would be active.

Now however, my computer has decided that I have to move the mouse over to my profile space and click on it to activate. I know it's not a big deal to have to move the mouse, but I tend to use only keyboard commands to navigate myself around Windows due to its speed advantages.

I don't know why this has happened, and I would love if I could restore this setting if possible.

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I think your problem might be the so-called 'Welcome Screen'. You can disable it by

  1. Click Start,Settings, Control Panel
  2. Open User Accounts
  3. Click "Change the way users log on or off"
  4. Uncheck "Use the Welcome Screen"
  5. Click "Apply"
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Ok, as I understand it:

  • You like the screen that lists the available (one) user(s) (the "Welcome Screen")
  • You want it to automatically prompt you for the password of that one user account that is visible
  • It did do so in the past, but does not any longer
  • You prefer to use the keyboard only when logging in

First, I have to ask if you changed anything at all recently, no matter how trivial it seems, including installing programs.

Now, my 'answer' is more of an alternative suggestion. It's been a while since I used XP, and certainly not with only one user, but if you hit an arrow key (especially /), or if you hit enter, does it prompt you for the password? Maybe if you press tab? That's not a fix, but it is a keyboard only alternative.

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