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How to Disable the Lock Screen on Windows 8 Without Using Group Policy

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Windows 8’s lock screen is at home on a tablet, but it just adds an additional key press to the login process on a desktop or laptop.  You can disable the lock screen with a quick registry hack.

We have previously given instructions for disabling the lock screen, but these required the group policy editor.  Once you have made this tweak, Windows will always go straight to the password prompt, skipping the new lock screen.

Quickly Disable the Lock Screen

If you do not want to edit the registry by hand, we have done the work for you.  Just click here and download the .zip file to your computer:

Download DisableLockScreen.zip

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Open the downloaded file and double-click the DisableLockScreen.reg file to disable the lock screen on your computer.  (If you are curious what a .reg file will do, you can right-click it and select Edit to examine it before importing.)

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Once you have imported the file, you are done – you do not even have to restart your computer.  If you want the lock screen back later, just double-click the EnableLockScreen.reg file.

Manually Editing the Registry

If you would rather edit the registry manually, follow the instructions below:

Open the registry editor by pressing the Windows key, typing regedit, and pressing Enter.

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Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Personalization

If you do not see the Personalization key, right-click the Windows key above it, point to New, and create a key named Personalization.

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Right-click in the right pane and create a new DWORD value named NoLockScreen.

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Double-click the NoLockScreen value and enter a value of 1.

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Close the registry editor and you are done – you do not even have to restart your computer.

To re-enable the lock screen in the future, either delete the NoLockScreen value from your registry or set it to 0.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 01/22/13

Comments (14)

  1. Erwin

    I think it is better to use the group policy, much easier to disable and re enable,

  2. Cory

    Does this disable the main lock screen or the personal lock screen? On multi-user computers there is the main (non-personal) lock screen that is different and not (easily) configurable. I assume since this is a Machine-wide key it’s for the main one.

  3. NSDCars5

    The God-send! :P Thanks for the tip :)

  4. Kyle

    Erwin, this tip is actually pretty useful for people with the basic (non-Pro) version of Windows 8, because Microsoft doesn’t include the Group Policy Editor in that version. It definitely is easier using the editor though!

  5. Dum Dum

    Thanks for the tip there Master 8er!

    I think I’ll stick with Windows 7 until I am forced over to Apple or Linux.

  6. pbug56

    This is a great example of what I despise about Windoze 8 MUTRO. We had an easy to use GUI in 7 and earlier versions. It’s not just that MS thinks it is being clever with this garbage, the only way to get back to something usable is to use things like registry hacks or 3rd party products that try to undo the mess that MS created.

  7. James

    pbug56 is right on the nail. For desktop machines, Windows 8 is a downgrade, and it makes no sense to install it. I have better things to do than spend half a day installing a raft of 3rd party applications and tweaks + a load of hacks, just to get back something like the functionality I had with Windows 7 or even Vista. I’d rather stay with XP (still an excellent O/S) than this mess.

  8. Not a Noob

    Honestly this is the SAME thing as using group policy. All GP does is set this registry value for you… Actually 99% of all GP options are just registry values located under various Policy keys. The purpose of the article is still the same, and the comment about this being good on lower versions of Windows that don’t include a GP editor is also valid. But you need to think about how you present information. Explaining that the GP Editor is just an easy interface to remembering all those reg values, then showing the corresponding value for this option would have been a better choice. Now you run the risk of perpetuating ignorance. People reading this will think using the registry editor and GP are two different things. They are not. Accuracy = Good Writing. Please ensure you have a firm grip on the subject matter and present it accurately in the future.

  9. Alex Brito

    I try using regedit and nothing. So I downloaled the zip file.
    The value change, buta anytime I boot the notebook it ask for the password.

  10. gold and silver buyers

    Terrific post however , I was wondering if you could
    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

  11. Kathleen

    to Alex Brito
    the lock screen is the screen before the sign-on screen
    you really should have a password on a portable computer but you can by-pass that, too using the built-in app “netplwiz” and uncheck the box on the user tab about passwords being required, apply and reboot.
    Note – the app is just a shortcut to the advanced user account settings in Windows 8 Pro

  12. steelew

    …or do this http://www.ghacks.net/2011/09/16/windows-8-how-to-automatically-log-on/
    This is the most elegant way IMO

  13. Rog

    Are you aware that your HTML in these articles doesn’t adjust to column width in an RSS reader?
    It’s a bugger to read when you have to horizontally scroll each line and many times I don’t bother.
    Just thought you would want to know!

  14. Mar

    This didn’t do anything for my lock screen, all it did was lock my picture screen so I can’t change my picture on startup. Now I can’t got the lock screen to unlock

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