Workstation has a feature (which it offers to you when you build a Windows OS virtual machine) called Autologin. You can access it manually via the VM, Settings, Option dialog
It basically remembers your login and password for you. Great if you restart the machine a lot, I guess :)
I made a machine, allowed autologin, and later moved it to an ESXi host in my lab. For some reason I thought the autologin was some feature of VMware Workstation. It's not - the VM continued doing the autologin. I then thought it may be in the VM advanced options but I couldn't find anything.
I searched Google but didn't find anything related to VMware Workstation or ESXi auto logon. The trick is that this is a Windows feature, not a VMware feature o.O
Check this KB - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/324737 - it explains how Autologon works.
The easy way of disabling it is to open regedit, navigate to
And change the value of the key from 1 (true) to 0 (false).
However, you should also clear any information in the other keys mentioned in the article, like Domain, username, and if you find the password key.
It's not a good idea to enable it other than for testing purposes, but at least now I learned that VMware Workstation just does a registry key and this is a Windows feature. In case you run into the same thing on your lab, now you know how to fix it easily :D
There was a gotcha in there (because I just didn't know and assumed) and that's what this blog is about.