[Fix] Duplicate User Accounts Appear on Windows 10 Login Screen

When you start your Windows 10 computer, the following error appears. Also, duplicate user accounts may appear on the login screen.

The user name or password is incorrect. Try again.

two user accounts (duplicate) appear at lock screen

After you click the OK button, you’re prompted to enter the correct password. Also, you’ll notice that a duplicate user account of the same name appears in the lower-left corner.

two user accounts (duplicate) appear at lock screen

Cause

This issue is seen in computers that have automatic login enabled. On the computers where auto-login credentials are stored, the error The user name or password is incorrect. Try again and the duplicate user account may appear on the login screen due to one of the following reasons:

  • You have changed the computer name recently. (or)
  • You have changed the user account password recently.

When you enable automatic login by saving your credentials (via netplwiz.exe), Windows stores the user name, password, and the computer (domain) name in the Winlogon registry key below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

For instance, after changing the computer name from DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q TO OPTIPLEX-9020, the DefaultDomainName (which represents the local computer name for standalone computers) registry value under the Winlogon registry key still refers to the old computer name.

two user accounts (duplicate) appear at lock screen

Likewise, the user account password for automatic login is stored under the following registry key which is highly protected and encrypted:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY\Policy\Secrets\DefaultPassword

So, if you’ve changed the account password or the computer name after configuring automatic login, the system fails to auto-login to your account and shows a duplicate user account icon.

Solution

To prevent the duplicate user account from appearing and also the error “The user name or password is incorrect” at startup, clear the automatic login credentials, and then configure it again.

  1. Right-click Start, and click Run.
  2. Type netplwiz.exe or control userpasswords2 and click OK. This opens the User Accounts dialog.
    two user accounts (duplicate) appear at lock screen
  3. Enable the User must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox.
  4. Click Apply.
  5. Uncheck the User must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. Now, type in the username and password to save the credentials for automatic login.
You may also use Windows SysInternals’ Autologon tool to reconfigure the automatic login credentials.



sysinternals autologon configure

The current user name and the domain (computer name) is filled up automatically. Type in the password, and click on the Enable button.

sysinternals autologon configure

Restart Windows to check if the issue is resolved now.

Alternate fix

If you have changed the computer name (and not the account password) recently, you can fix this duplicate user accounts issue using the Registry Editor.

two user accounts (duplicate) appear at lock screen

All you need to do is change the DefaultDomainName registry value, mentioning the new computer name.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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