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I work in public a lot – cafés, trains, saunas – and have no real desire to share my name with everyone around me. However, Microsoft does. Every time I log in, even if I do so using Windows Hello, it blasts out my name and inside leg measurement (26in since you ask). Here’s how to hide your name from the Windows login screen.
Weirdly, it isn’t easy to do so. One way is to create a false name for your Windows account (see later in this article for instructions) but the other is to head into the Windows Registry using a tool called regedit. I realise that some readers will already be familiar with this powerful tool, but if not then two instructions:
- Type “regedit.exe” in the Cortana bar to launch it
- Be very, very careful
The reason I emphasise this is because, when you’re messing with the Registry, you’re messing with how Windows loads. Get it wrong and it may refuse to load at all.
How to hide your name from the lock screen using the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe)
Now that you’re in the Registry Editor, you’ll see a window like the above. Not very friendly. You now have to navigate through the branch structure (similar to how folders work in Windows) to find the right setting.
Click on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE first, then scroll down to Software, then Microsoft – actually, this could get tedious. You need to follow this route:
(Note you can shorten things by copying the above and pasting into the address bar, just below the menu.)
You’ll know you’ve got to the right place when you see this screen:
Find the entry called dontdisplaylastusername. Double-click it and you’ll see it has a value of 0. Change that to 1, thus:
We aren’t finished yet.
Right-click on an empty area of the window and click New. Select “DWORD (32-bit) Value” from the mini menu that pops up.
You need to call this value “DontDisplayLockedUserID”. Once named, double-click it and change its value to 3.
Press OK, close the Registry Editor, and now restart Windows.
Lo and behold, you’ll see a screen like this.
Congratulations! People need never know your name in public again, even if that is the sauna. I won’t judge you.
How to change your name in your Windows account
The other way to get around this is to stop using your real name for your Windows account.
Click the Start menu, then click your photo (just above the Settings icon). Three options pop up: you want to “Change account settings”.
This will take you to your Windows account online, where you can click on “Edit your name” and change it to whatever you like. For example, “Stop looking at my PC”.
Unlike the Registry edit above, this won’t take immediate effect. Microsoft says it could be 48 hours before you see the changes.
Read this next: Why should I pin people to the Windows taskbar?