How to prevent the Windows XP welcome screen from appearing after installing the .NET Framework 1.1

Some of you have noticed an installation issue with the .NET Framework 1.1.  If you have a Windows XP-based OS (Home, Professional, Media Center, Tablet PC) that is configured with a single user account so that it will boot directly to the desktop when it is restarted, installing the .NET Framework 1.1 will cause the Windows welcome screen to appear and will prevent the system from booting directly to the desktop without user intervention.  There is a bug in .NET Framework 1.1 setup that causes this - the setup creates a hidden user account named ASPNET (which is used by the ASP.NET worker process), but that account does not have the correct attributes set on it to cause Windows to ignore it when deciding whether or not to show the welcome screen.  Whenever Windows sees more than one user account on the system, it prevents the system from directly booting to the desktop.  A knowledge base article has been published with a relatively simple workaround for this issue - install the .NET Framework 1.1 SP1.

I heard from a customer this week who found that installing SP1 did not help in the case where he installed the .NET Framework 2.0, then the .NET Framework 1.1, then the .NET Framework 1.1 SP1.  I haven't had a chance yet to figure out exactly what order of installation causes issues or what the root cause is, but in the meantime, there is a registry value that you can add to your system to prevent this issue from affecting you.  You can use the following steps:

  1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and click OK

  2. Type reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList" /v ASPNET /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

After adding this registry value, you should find that if your system previously booted directly to the desktop, it should start doing so again.


Comments (8)
  1. Opuntia says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve be wondering what that ASPNET was for. I was always afraid to delete that account.

  2. cigarette says:

    Thanks!I’ve been searching info regarding this behaviour for quite a time…

    so please,excuse me in advance if this is not the approriate place,

    but I have some more questions regarding this matter…

    The aformentioned KB article states:

    "This behavior occurs although you have created only one local user account that does not have a password."

    This is pretty much the case here:

    there exists only a local user,not password-protected.

    In my experience,after installing .NET v1.1,

    when I logout/reboot I get the "Welcome" screen,

    which not only it’s states that noe there is a new "limited" ASP.NET account,

    but it is also…password-protected!?

    That ‘s not only obscure…but I would dare say,frightening:

    when did I password-protect an account,

    that I didn’t even knew it would…be created?

    1)Is there a default password associated with this ASP.NET account,

    that I should change as an extra security precaution?

    2)If yes,what kind of risks come up,

    if password protection of this ASP.NET account is removed?

    3)A quick Google search for "ASP.NET account" reveals as first result the following MVPS article:

    And as far as I know,ASP.NET is needed for running latest versions of IIS,SQL and stuff like that…

    but in "common users’" like me that don’t require this kind of functionality,

    (and they are not developers or something),

    can this account be completely removed/disabled without any "ill" side-effects,

    say breaking apps or something?

    Again,sorry if these seem to be a lot of questions,

    but there really aren’t much of articles out there to "demystify" ASP.NET for "daily" users,

    most of them are targeted either towards developers or network administrators…

  3. Hi Cigarette – The ASPNET account is a hidden, system account that is only used by the worker process for ASP.NET applications that are hosted on your system.  It is password-protected for security reasons, and it is not possible to log in with that account.  The password is randomly generated and is a strong password to help protect against people figuring it out.  If you will not be hosting ASP.NET applications on your system, it is safe to remove this account, but there is also not any harm in leaving it there either.

  4. cigarette says:

    "…it is not possible to log in with that account-the password is randomly generated…"

    This is pretty much what I wanted to learn/hear 😉

    I had read that it’s actually more safe to not password-protect an account in XP,

    (if you don’t need remote login features),

    since this way no-one else also has the ability to attempt remotely to login/bruteforce this account:

    that’s why I was scared out of hell with this password-protected ASP.NET account…

    I’m not very familiar with administration stuff and that…

    I work in the video editing/3d graphics area,

    in office we use both machines with XP installed,

    and a few really expensive Unix workstations,

    that come as hardware-software solutions,

    you surely can’t have one of these at home…

    Anyway,most of the account’s stuff and this type of work is handled by our network administrator.

    But we had to update in the summer most of the XP-installed boxes,

    in order to use a few video compositing tools that were re-written in the .NET Framework.

    Eventually,I had to do the same at home,

    to be able to work on back-up projects.

    I asked our admin about the existence of this new ASP.NET account,but he didn’t really knew what to answer me…

    guess it’s time for him to go re-new his MS Certification or something… 😉

    Once again,thanks for your reply,

    your answers were more than a big relief for me…

  5. TakeNote... says:

    XP Welcome Screen/Login Problem From Today’s Computers 2K7 Show

  6. ivankaaaa says:

    Thank you soooooooo much!!! You saved me.

    Your solution works just fine 🙂

  7. checksum says:

    Thanks! It's working..

  8. reirox BRZL says:

    thanks a lot, this work, ,,in the site of mcsft the help not help, sht

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content