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Windows 8 Tip: Disable the Lock Screen

With Windows 8, Microsoft is bringing a number of technologies and user experiences from the mobile world into its desktop OS for the first time, a blending of the old and then new that will confuse some users. But while some of the new mobile-based experiences in Windows 8 will make sense on traditional desktop and portable computers, some will not. And the Windows Phone-like Lock screen can rightfully be seen as an unnecessary extra step at boot time. Let’s get rid of it.

If you’re not familiar with the Windows 8 Lock screen, you can find out more in my article, Windows 8 Feature Focus: Lock Screen. It’s essentially an upsized version of the Lock screen that Microsoft debuted in Windows Phone two years ago, offering nice photograph imagery, the time and date, and a number of app notifications.

Lock screen: Pretty, but pointless on a traditional PC

Those notifications are very useful on a smart phone, and I imagine they’ll be somewhat useful on a tablet computer of the future, like Microsoft’s Surface. But on a traditional desktop or laptop/Ultrabook PC, the Lock screen is a pretty but pointless interloper, an extra step you must deal with between booting the computer and actually using.

Fortunately, disabling the Lock screen is simple.

First, run the Local Policy Editor. The simplest way is to type WINKEY + R, gpedit.msc, and then tap ENTER.


Then, in this control panel, navigate to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Control Panel, and then Personalization. You’ll see three entries on the right side of the window. Double-click the entry titled “Do not display the lock screen.”


Then, select Enabled in the window that appears. Click OK to close that window, and then close the Local Group Policy Editor.

The change will take effect immediately. To test this, type WINKEY + L to lock the computer. Normally, this would display the Lock screen. But it will now display the Sign In screen instead.

You can further test this by rebooting the computer: Now you’ll go directly to the Sign In screen instead of stopping at the Lock screen.

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