Win9x/ME - Remove password prompt at startup
So, there is just one default user profile on your computer, and somehow you are now getting the prompt to Logon to Windows with a username and password just before the Windows 95/98/ME Desktop appears at startup. This has probably happened either because someone somewhere along the line has entered a password for the default username (and yes, clicking cancel gets you into windows), or someone has been in control panel and changed the settings to allow multiple user profiles. Of course, if you are using multiple user profiles then the logon prompt is necessary and you wouldn't want to disable it. Windows networking components can also cause a password logon at startup, namely if Client for Microsoft Networks is the Primary Network Logon.
Primary Network Logon
If you are just using Dial Up Networking and are not on a LAN Network of any type, then you can change the Primary Network Logon. If you are on a LAN, I would not mess with this. Consult someone who is in the know about your network configuration. Go to Control Panel and double click the Network Icon. You will see a drop list under Primary Network Logon. Choose Windows Logon for this.
As you can see, I don't have many networking components installed, only what I need. I am using Windows Family Logon, it is the default when you install Windows 98, and the only network adapter is the dialup adapter. I do not have a password prompt problem at startup though. In Windows 95 you may have Client for Microsoft Networks installed and it could be the source of the password prompt if it's the Primary Network Logon.
If the above doesn't apply to you, the next step is to go to Control Panel and double click the Passwords Icon. Click the User Profiles tab and ensure that it is set to "all users use same preferences" (it may already be set to that in which case proceed to the next step below). Here is what you should see:
Delete Password List Files
The next step here is to delete any password list files. These have the extension .pwl and can be found in the Windows directory. The easiest way to deal with this, since you may not know the actual filename of the pwl file, is to use the Find utility and search for all files with that extension. To do this, click the Start Button, and choose Find and choose Files or Folders. Enter *.pwl in the search field and click Find Now and let it search your hard drive. The asterisk is a wild card that tells it to search for any file with the .pwl file extension.
Note that if you're using the Search in WinME, you'll have to click Advanced and ensure that it's set to look for hidden and system files.
When it is finished, it will display all .pwl files. Right click on each of them (may be only one) and choose delete. After they have been removed, the next step is to reboot the computer. When the Password Prompt appears, enter a username but NO password. Leave the password field blank, don't even click your mouse in it. Click OK and click OK again to what comes next. That should be it, windows should no longer prompt you to logon at startup. Windows will, however, create a new .pwl file (but won't prompt you). Reboot again to verify that you were successful in alleviating this irritation.
1) If you know the password for the windows logon, you are better off to go to Control Panel and set the password to blank and then just click OK next time you log in. Deleting the user's PWL file, also erases saved Dialup Networking passwords. (a minor inconvenience... you'll have to enter it again)
2) If you're using Microsoft Networking, and File and Printer Sharing you will need to log on to Windows with Client for Microsoft Networks. Unfortunately, this always prompts for password. If you set the password as blank, you'll just have to click OK though.