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I have the following problem

Windows 8.1 is installed on laptop and added to company domain A.

User went to other company who put him on their domain B. Afterwards they removed him from domain and added him to a workgroup C.

Problem is now when I restart the machine it only shows the last logged in user which was the domain user. It doesn't allow me to switch user. It has no sign out option. No sign into anotehr account. However the machine is not on the domain so that last logged in user cannot log in to the domain since the machine is on workgroup.

The switch user option is not there in the log in screen. I assume it has been disabled in the group policy editor.

I have tried everything to see if I can log in as a different user:

  1. Tried logging in as safe mode. Still gives me the same log in screen without being able to enter username or have switch user option.

  2. Tried connecting laptop back on domain B network that was set before the domain was changed to workgroup. It says password invalid when connected to that physical domain.

So I'm in the situation where I cant log into the machine although I have the local Administrator password because simply it is impossible for me to switch user.

PS. The machine has some backdoor admin setting when I click in the logon screen on the Ease of Access icon in the bottom left corner of the sign-in screen. It allows me to browse the disk and run command prompt by browsing to cmd.exe. Unfortunately it doesn't allow me to run gpedit.msc (says I don't have rights when I run it from the command prompt) however I can run regedit.

  1. I tried to enable fast switching in the registry but it is ignored when restarting the machine

  2. net userjust gives me local users and I can change their passwords. However the last logged in user that is displayed in the sign in screen is not a local user so it doesn't show on this list.

3

That's an unusual situation.

If the machine is no longer on the domain

You can clear the last logged on user by editing the Registry. Danger! I have not personally tested this, but I have heard that it works. It's always a good idea to backup the affected portions before modifying the Registry.

Run regedit (from your command line) and navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI. Clear the data of LastLoggedOnUser (but don't delete it). Reboot the computer. You'll get blank text fields for the username and password.

If clearing that value didn't work, you might try clearing the other LastLoggedOn-prefixed values.

If the machine is still on the domain

The easiest way out is probably to unjoin the computer from the domain. This can be done from a command prompt running as local admin:

netdom remove COMPUTER_NAME /Force

Example: netdom remove mach21 /Force

The /Force parameter makes the computer not try to contact a domain controller; therefore, you'll need to clean up the machine account in Active Directory manually.

If the above command fails asking for credentials, supply authentication information with /UserO:LOCALUSER /PasswordO:*. (The * makes it prompt for the password instead of taking one on the command line.)

There's also /UserD and /PasswordD that supply credentials used to talk to the domain controller, but they shouldn't be necessary if you're using /Force.

Note that netdom might not exist on your computer if you don't have the Remote Server Administration Tools. You can copy netdom.exe from the System32 of a computer (that has RSAT installed and activated in Windows Features) with the same OS version and CPU architecture.

Further reading: netdom remove, PowerShell's Remove-Computer

  • Problem is the computer is not on the domain. So I can't remove it from the domain. Last user is domain user and it doesn't allow me to switch to another user e.g. local user hence my problem. I will try see if I can use netdom to add it to the domain – dfmetro Jan 8 '16 at 5:28
  • netdom isn't on that machines system3 or SysWow64 folder unfortunately. The 3rd party software that is installed in WindowsGate 1.1 – dfmetro Jan 8 '16 at 7:46
  • @devc2 Ah, I misunderstood the question. I've edited my answer to add a Registry tweak to clear the last logged-on user. – Ben N Jan 8 '16 at 14:17
  • LastLoggedOnUser wasn't in the registry at that location.Thanks for your help. After not getting anywhere I just decided to reinstall windows. – dfmetro Jan 8 '16 at 14:24

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