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10 Windows 8 tips, tricks and hacks

Preston Gralla | Feb. 1, 2013
Starting to get comfortable with Windows 8? Don't stop now: From invoking 'God Mode' to hacking the lock screen, here are 10 ways to make Windows 8 act the way you want.

A security window appears asking if you want to allow the Registry Editor to make changes to your PC. Click Yes, and the Registry Editor launches.

Now navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

See if there's a key called Personalization there. If the key already exists, don't create another one. Instead, follow the instructions in the next paragraph. If the key doesn't exist, you'll have to create it. To do so, click Edit --> New --> Key. That creates a new key, but it will have a name like "New Key #1." You have to rename it. Right-click it, select Rename, and rename it Personalization.

Now that the Personalization key is there, create a new DWORD value under it called NoChangingLockScreen. To do that, right-click the Personalization key and select New --> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the DWORD value NoChangingLockScreen. Double click-it and change its value from 0 to 1. Now exit the Registry Editor.

Setting the NoChangingLockScreen DWORD value to 1 prevents the lock screen image from being changed. Click to view larger image.

Log out of Windows or restart it, then log back in. The lock screen background shouldn't be changeable -- consider it locked. If you want to allow the background to be changed in the future, use the Registry Editor to change the value of NoChangingLockScreen from 1 to 0.

6. Kill the lock screen altogether

Not a fan of the lock screen? There are plenty of people who don't find it useful and would prefer to bypass it so they can just sign into Windows and get straight to work. You won't find a setting to do it. Instead, you'll have to use the Registry Editor.

All the caveats about using the Registry Editor outlined in the previous tip apply here, so keep in mind it could be dangerous to use it. However, if you're comfortable using the Registry Editor, follow the instructions in "Lock the lock screen image" above to launch the Registry Editor, and, if you haven't already done so, to create a Registry key called Personalization in

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

Create a new DWORD value under the Personalization key by right-clicking it and selecting New --> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the DWORD value NoScreenLock. Double click-it and change its value from 0 to 1. Now exit the Registry Editor.

The new setting should take effect immediately. The next time you reboot or wake your PC, you won't see the lock screen. Instead, you'll go straight to the Windows sign-in screen.

7. Bend File Explorer to your will

Windows 8's File Explorer file manager is different from the old Windows Explorer in more than just name. It's gotten a complete makeover, notably by the addition of a Ribbon interface that puts many tasks, features and views in easy reach. Following are my favorite ways to get more out of it.

 

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