In last week's blog post, Make the Windows 8 Start Screen work like the Start Menu, I showed you how to get rid of all the tiles on the Start Screen and populate it with application shortcut icons so that you can essentially use the Start Screen as a replacement for the Start Menu. What I didn't tell you was that I had initially begun my search for reviving the Start menu in the Local Group Policy Editor. Alas, there is no setting for disabling the Start Screen or enabling the Start menu.
However, I did find a setting that will allow you to do away with another possibly annoying feature designed for touch screen tablets and not necessarily for desktops - the Lock screen.
The Lock screen, as shown in Figure A, appears when Windows boots up and displays the date as well as notifications. While this screen is useful on a tablet, it just adds one more step to the process of getting to work on a desktop. You have to click the screen, before you can get to the Login screen. While this may not sound like a big deal, many users just want to log in without messing with another Metro doodad. Fortunately, you can disable the Lock screen from the in the Local Group Policy Editor.
The Lock screen may be more appropriate on a tablet.
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Getting to the Local Group Policy EditorGetting to the Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8 is pretty easy. Just press [Windows]+R to bring up the run dialog box. Then, type gpedit.msc in the Open text box and click OK. In a moment, the Local Group Policy Editor window will appear on the screen (Figure B), just like it did in Windows 7 and earlier Windows versions.
You can launch Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8 using the Run dialog box.
Now, before I show you how to disable the Lock screen from the in the Local Group Policy Editor, let me take a moment to show you a little trick.
There are quite a few new settings for Windows 8 in the Local Group Policy Editor that you might be interested in learning about, but finding them can be time consuming due to the fact that there are still a lot of settings in Local Group Policy Editor that are designed only for previous versions of the operating system. You can narrow down the number of settings to only those that work in Windows 8 by using Filters. Keep in mind that this filtering feature will include settings that were designed for earlier operating system but still work in Windows 8.Once Local Group Policy Editor is up and running, pull down the Actions menu and select the Filter Options command. When you see the Filter Options dialog box, select the Enable Requirements Filters check box, and then select the Windows 8 operating systems check box, as shown in Figure C.
Enabling Requirements Filters will narrow down the number of settings.Now navigate down the Local Computer Policy tree to the All Settings folder in either the User Configuration branch or the Computer Configuration branch and you see that the number of settings has been filtered down. For example, in Figure D, you can see that Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | All Settings folder is now displaying 1297 out of 1841 settings. In other words, there are 544 settings that do not specifically apply to Windows 8.
With the Filter enabled, the All Settings folder is now displaying 1297 out of 1841 settings.
Disabling the lock screenTo disable the lock screen in Windows 8, navigate down the Local Computer Policy tree to the Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Control Panel | Personalization folder and there you'll find the Do not display the lock screen setting, as shown in Figure E. Notice the Requirements section lists this setting as being for Windows 8 as well as for Windows Server 2012 RC and Windows RT.
You'll find the Do not display the lock screen setting in the Personalization folder.After you double click the setting you'll see the configuration page and will need to select the Enabled radio button, as shown in Figure F, then click OK and close the Local Group Policy Editor.
Select the Enabled radio button to disable the lock screen.Now when you start Windows 8, you'll immediately see the Windows 8 Login screen, like the one shown in Figure G, instead of the Lock screen.
Instead of the Lock screen, you'll now see the Login screen.
What's your take?
Using this method, you can remove yet another annoying feature designed for touch screen tablets and not necessarily desktops - the Lock screen. What's your take? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.