Hackers are getting more and more creative, but one method of compromising a Windows account has been around for many years. Attackers with physical or remote access to your PC can replace the sign-in screen with a fake one, capturing your password and potentially compromising your entire Microsoft account. A feature called Secure Sign-in is designed to stop this, typically accessed with Ctrl + Alt + Del in Windows 10. Today, we're going to show you how to turn it on or off to suit your preferences.
What is Secure Sign-in with Ctrl + Alt + Del?
To prevent attackers from capturing your password, Secure Sign-in asks the user to perform a physical action that activates the sign-in screen. In some cases, this is a dedicated “Windows Security” button, but the most common case in Windows 10 is the Ctrl+Alt Del hotkey.
As Ctrl+Alt+Del can't be captured by any application, it's very difficult for an attacker to present their fake login screen instead once the key combination is pressed. However, those who are confident in their security may just resent the extra step to log in, and in those cases, it's relatively safe to turn it off. Let's jump into how to do both via netplwiz, Local Security Policy, and the registry.
How to Turn Secure Sign-in with Ctrl+Alt+Del On or Off via netplwiz
Use of netplwiz is the fastest and most universal way to turn Windows secure logon on or off.
- Open netplwiz
Press “Windows + R” to open the Run dialog and type “netplwiz”. Press “OK”.
- Open the advanced tab and tick “Require users to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete”
You can then press “OK” to enable Secure sign-in for users.
How to Enable Secure Sign-in with a Local Security Policy
A local security policy may be the best option for admins and professionals, but it's only available on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise.
- Open the Local Security Policy app
Press “Windows” or click the search bar and type “local security policy”. Click the app in ‘Best match' results to start it.
- Open the Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL policy
You can find the policy under “Local Policies > Security Options”. Double-click it.
- Enable or Disable Secure Sign-in with Ctrl+Alt+Del
In the “Local Security Setting tab”, change “Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL” to “Enabled” or “Disabled” and press “OK”.
Turn Windows Secure Logon On or Off via the Registry
If you don't have access to the Local Security policy editor you can modify the same policy via the registry instead. Just be sure to read our safe registry editing guide first.
- Open regedit
Press the “Windows” key and type “registry editor” clicking the first result under ‘Best match'.
- Modify the DisableCad DWORD to enable or disable Secure sign-in
You can find the DWORD under the key
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Double-click it and modify the “Value data” to one of the following:
0 = Enable
1 = Disable
Once you're done, press “OK” and close the registry editor.