Customizing Windows XP Logon and Authentication Settings

When it comes to configuring or customizing an XP system, one of the last things that users consider is making changes to authentication-related settings. Truth be told, authentication is one of the most important security-related features included with XP, and should be looked at as more than simply providing a valid username and password at the logon screen. Since so many of XP’s security features are tied to successfully validating a user, it’s important to become more familiar with some of the tweaks and changes that you can apply in this area.

Not all of the changes outlined in this mini-series are applicable to all users. For example, while many home users may not care whether their system includes a banner prior to the logon process, this feature is commonly implemented on office systems as a way to display a legal message prior to allowing access to the logon screen. However, other changes, such as the ability to control whether users can change their passwords, can be very useful on any multi-user system. In this mini-series we take a look at some of the most common authentication-related settings that you can change, including how to tweak them and why you may want to consider implementing them.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.