There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who like to password-protect their computers. And then there are the rest of us.
When I first switched to Windows 8, one big annoyance (after wondering where my start button went) was the lock screen at startup. It appears while you are waiting for your computer to power on each day, then it just sits there and stares at you until you finally realize it wants you to do something. It will go away when you click the screen, but, as soon as you do, then you are faced with the password prompt.
This is a good security step for public usage, but when you are wanting to open your computer quickly and without a fuss, it’s an unnecessary step.
Disable Windows 8.1 Startup Password Prompt
When you disable the password prompt, the lock screen will go with it. There are different ways to do this, but the easiest is to change your user settings.
- Hold down your Windows key (it looks like the Windows logo, usually on the bottom left of your keyboard), then click the letter R key at the same time. This brings up your Run box. Type in netplwiz and click OK.
- Highlight your account by clicking on it once, then uncheck the box at the top that states, “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.”
- Click OK, then type in your password twice and click OK again.
From now on, when you turn on your computer, you won’t be asked to sign in with a password.
Turn Off Windows 8.1 Password Prompt When Waking Computer
If you use your PC a lot throughout the day, you might close your laptop or have your computer set to go to sleep after sitting idle for so many minutes. In this case, you have the option to either keep the password prompt when you wake it from sleep mode, or scrap it altogether if you don’t want to be asked for it every time you wake your computer.
- From the Windows 8 Start Screen (the one with the app icons), run your mouse along the right side of the screen until the slide-out menu appears. Click on the magnifying glass to do a search.
- Type account in the search box, then select “Your account settings.”
- In the left-hand column, click “Sign-in options.” On the right side of the screen, look for Password policy toward the bottom. If it says, “Password required when waking this PC from sleep,” then it needs a password to wake up. Click Change twice to switch to “Password is not required when waking this PC from sleep.” Or vice versa. Click Change again to switch it back.
If you prefer, you can also bring up the lock screen manually by holding down your Windows key, then clicking the L key together. Click the screen to go on to the password prompt.
Disable Lock Screen, but Keep Password Prompts
Windows 8 or 8.1 Pro: You can change the settings in your Local Policy Group Editor to disable the lock screen, but still be able to log in with your password.
(Skip to next instructions for other versions of Windows 8.)
- From the Windows 8 Start Screen, as before, run your mouse along the right side of the screen until the slide-out menu appears. Click on the magnifying glass to do a search.
- Type gpedit.msc in the search box and click Enter on your keyboard.
- Double-click on Administrative Templates, then double-click on Control Panel and Personalization.
- On the right side, double-click on “Do not display the lock screen.”
- In the box that comes up, click Enabled, then click OK.
- You might need to restart your computer to see the changes.
- Go back to the original setting by repeating these steps, then changing Enabled to Not Configured.
Other Windows 8 and 8.1 Users: If you receive a warning that “Windows cannot find gpedit.msc,” try the fix below to get rid of the lock screen. This will make changes to your computer’s Registry Editor, so follow the instructions carefully step-by-step. To be on the safe side, watch your capital and non-capital letters as well. You don’t want to make mistakes when tweaking your registry.
- Hold down your Windows Key and click the R key on your keyboard. Type in regedit in the box and click OK.
- In the box that pops up, on the left side, double-click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Beneath that, in the folders that show up, double-click on SOFTWARE. Double-click on Policies. Double-click on Microsoft. Then click only one time on Windows (not Windows NT) to highlight it.
- When you have the Windows folder highlighted, right-click on it, then scroll to New and select Key.
- Type Personalization as the name of this key and click Enter on your keyboard.
- Right-click on your new Personalization key, scroll to New and select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Type NoLockScreen as the name and click Enter on your keyboard.
- Double-click on NoLockScreen, then replace 0 with 1 in the Value data box.
- Click OK, then exit.
- Restart your computer.
As you can see, you have a few different choices for the lock screen and password prompts. Whatever your preference, hopefully, something in the instructions above will help you.
Now…about that start button.