Q: My new Windows 10 desktop PC requires me to enter a password (or, in my case, a PIN or personal identification number) each time it starts up — even though I set it up not to require a PIN or password. Every time the PC starts, I get a nature scene with a login box instead of going directly to my desktop screen. How can I get rid of these unnecessary steps during startup?

Rachel Ramadhyani, Minneapolis


A: You can get rid of the requirement to log in to Windows 10 but can’t bypass the startup photo.

How you rid yourself of the PC password requirement will depend on whether you use a “local” user account, or an online Microsoft account.

If it’s not an online account, eliminating the PC password is fairly easy. Go to “Start,” and in the search box type “netplwiz.” When that name shows up in a list of programs, click on it. You’ll get a menu called “user accounts.” Uncheck the box in front of “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.” Click “OK.” In the next box, type your PIN number (or password) and click “OK.” When you reboot the PC, you won’t be asked for a password or PIN.

If you signed up for a Microsoft online account (the fact that you have a PIN number suggests that you have), you will have to make some other changes before following the instructions above.

When you sign up for a Microsoft online account, the setup process linked the online user account and the local one. So you must log on to your PC using your online password (typically your Microsoft e-mail password) or a PIN. You must sever this link before you can eliminate the need for a password.

To do that, go to Start, and click the “settings” icon (it looks like a gear wheel.) On the resulting menu, click “accounts.” On the next screen, click “sign in with a local account instead” and follow the directions.

Once your Microsoft and local PC logins aren’t linked, you can follow the previous directions to eliminate the use of a PC password. You will still need to use a password to access your online account. (For more about local vs. online passwords, see tinyurl.com/y9pothmd).


Q: I switched from using an HP Photosmart printer to using an HP Envy printer, then deleted the old printer from my PC’s settings. Despite that, I keep getting an error message that Windows can’t find the old printer. Then I tried using the “print management” menu to remove the driver software for the old printer. But Windows wouldn’t allow it because that software driver is somehow still being used. What can I do?

Lisa Tilsner, Plymouth


A: Because both printers are from HP, the new one may be using the driver software for the old one. That apparently works well enough for the new printer to function, but leaves Windows searching for the old printer that more precisely matches the driver software.

I suggest that you uninstall your new printer, then try using the “print management” menu (see tinyurl.com/ybdyr8rk) to remove the driver software for your old printer. Once that’s done, your PC should stop fruitlessly searching for the old printer. You can then reinstall the new printer on the PC; that process should also install the correct software driver for the new printer.


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