Logging In to Windows 7
In Chapter 3, "The First Hour," we briefly showed you how to log on, and gave you a quick tour of the OS. We'll cover the logon process and the Welcome screen in more detail in this section.
When Windows 7 starts up, you need to log on before you can start to work. There are three ways that this logon process can occur, depending on how your computer was set up:
- In most cases, you will see the Welcome screen, which displays a list of user account names and pictures. Locate and click your account name. If asked for a password, type in your password, then press Enter.
- If your computer is a member of a domain network (as is usually the case in a corporate setting), the screen may instruct you to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to log on. Hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys, and then press the Del key. Then, when prompted, enter your logon information, as provided by your network administrator. This will include a username, password, and location, which is the network's domain name. To use a local account instead of a domain account—that is, a user account that is defined only in your computer—enter the name of your computer as the location.
- If your computer's bootup process takes you right to the Windows desktop, it's been set up to log on to an account automatically. You can leave it like this, if you want, and still use the Log Off or Switch Users feature to log on with other user accounts. Alternatively, you can disable the automatic logon feature and have Windows display the Welcome screen at startup.
By the way, it's likely that shortly after installing Windows, or upon booting the first time and logging in, you'll see a "balloon" notification at the bottom of your screen, warning you that your computer might be at risk because you do not have antivirus protection. Clicking the balloon brings up the Windows Action Center (which replaces the Windows Security Center that you have come to know and love in previous versions of Windows). The Action Center can also be accessed by opening the Control Panel and choosing the System and Security section.
Logging On from the Welcome Screen
On most systems, you'll see the Welcome screen every time Windows starts up. You may also see it when another user has logged off, when someone has disconnected from Windows using Switch User, when the system has been locked, or after the screen saver has kicked in.
If you see the Welcome screen, just click on your user account to log on. The Welcome screen presents a list of available user accounts that can be used to access this system. If a password is associated with a selected account, you are prompted to provide it.
If you have forgotten your password, click the question mark. (Note: The question mark appears only if you have previously defined a password hint in the Users section of the Control Panel.) If there was a hint defined for your account, Windows will display the hint so that you might remember the password.
If you forget your password, and you previously created a password reset disk, you can use the reset disk to gain access to your account. If you don't have a password reset disk, you'll have to have another user log on using a Computer Administrator account and reset your account's password for you. This process could make you lose access to some information in your account, including website passwords that Windows remembered for you, and if you were using the Encrypted Files feature on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate edition, you could lose your encrypted files too. So, we strongly urge you to create a password reset disk for your account.
After you've logged in, it's time to explore the user interface—or, as Microsoft likes to call it, the user experience.