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How to rid yourself of the Windows 8 lock screen

Did you know that, back in the Windows 3, 95, and 98 days, you could simply type in your password to log into your computer?

It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true. Since Windows XP, the process has become steadily more convoluted – picking your avatar from a list, or hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del before being allowed to log in (this was actually a security feature, believe it or not).

Windows 8 is the worst offender yet, positively spitting in the face of keyboard users – but fortunately, it’s quite easy to disable the new Windows 8 lock screen.

In essence, the new Windows 8 lock/login screen is meant to act as a dashboard, flashing up notifications for new email, instant messages, and so on.

On a tablet, where you swipe the lock screen away and then begin typing, this makes perfect sense. On a desktop PC, though, the lock screen is clunky (you might say this is a bit of a recurring theme in Windows 8).

Yes, theoretically you only have to tap a key and it slides away, but for some reason Microsoft introduced a delay so that you can’t immediately type your password. As a result, you often end up losing the first few letters of your password – then you have to wait for Windows to tell you that your password is incorrect, and type your password in again, this time correctly.

How to bypass the Windows 8 lock screen

To remove the lock screen entirely, so that locking is just a plain password prompt – and booting up goes straight to the same password prompt – just follow these very simple steps.

1. Hit the Start key, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter. This will open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalisation.

3. Double click “Do not display the lock screen,” and select Enabled from the dialog that pops up. Click OK.

The change is immediate. Go ahead and press Win+L to admire your new, minimal lock screen.

In addition, if you’re feeling really sassy, you can also tweak your computer to boot straight to Desktop, either with Windows 8′s built-in Task Scheduler, or by using a third-party Start menu replacement, most of which include this functionality as a configurable option. This way, the Desktop will be the second screen you see, instead of the fourth. Pretty neat, eh?