You want to automatically log a user onto a Windows 2003 Server after it has booted up. My first piece of advice would be… don’t do it! It’s a significant security issue to leave an account logged into the server console unattended, or indeed any PC!
In the scenario I faced today though, using Auto Logon it was unavoidable. The server in question also hosted some CCTV monitoring software (Geovision) that needed to be running 24/7 to allow constant monitoring. I tried to set the software up to run as a service – but it crashed every time. Getting in touch with Geovision Support in the UK and Taiwan saw the same response come back – running the software as a service is only supported under Windows XP. Drat.
Migrating the software to another PC would now have been the best option, but one that wasn’t available to me so it was a case of biting the bullet and setting the server to auto-logon.
Fortunately, digging around in the registry to set the right options for Auto Logon is no longer required. Thanks to the guys at Sysinternals (now owned by Microsoft) a simple executable that sets everything up for you is available for download here.
Sometimes as an SMB IT Consultant your choices are limited by budget or circumstance and so you are forced to “make do” – I guess this would be one of those times!