Windows 8’s lock screen is very at home on a tablet, but it can also be used on laptops and desktops. The lock screen is not just a background image – it contains widgets that display quick notifications.
These widgets, known as lock screen apps, allow you to view information – such as new emails, weather, calendar appointments, instant messages or social updates – without even unlocking your PC.
Disable the Lock Screen
If you do not like the lock screen, you do not have to use it. Unfortunately, Microsoft has buried the “disable lock screen” option. Luckily, disabling it is simple:
- How to Disable the Lock Screen Using the Registry – This process works on all editions of Windows 8. We’ve even provided a .reg file you can easily download and double-click to make this change.
- How to Disable the Lock Screen Using Group Policy – If you have the Professional edition of Windows 8, you can use the group policy editor to disable the lock screen.
Once you’ve made this change, Windows will always display the password prompt, saving you a key-press during the login process.
Select a Lock Screen Background
Lock screen settings are located in the PC setting application on Windows 8. To access it, open the Settings charm (press Windows Key + I to quickly open the Settings charm from anywhere in Windows) and select Change PC settings.
Select the Personalize category and select Lock screen. Click (or tap) one of the provided background images or use the Browse button and select any image from your computer, Bing, SkyDrive, or even your camera.
If you want more features, try using the Chameleon app located in the Windows Store. It can watch “photo of the day”-type services and automatically change your lock screen background on a schedule, a feature not included with Windows 8.
Configure Lock Screen Apps
Lock screen widgets – known as “lock screen apps” in Windows 8 – allow you to view information at a glance. Apps added to the lock screen are allowed to run in the background when your PC is locked so they can fetch new, updated information and display it on the lock screen.
You can configure the list of lock screen apps from the Lock screen apps section below the lock screen background chooser. Click (or tap) an icon and select the app you want in that location. You can get more widgets by installing more Windows Store apps – apps can choose to include lock screen integration. If you do not want any lock screen apps – or just want a few – you can select the Don’t show quick status here option.
You can also choose an app to show a more detailed status. For example, when you choose to display a detailed weather status, you will see the weather displayed in text on your lock screen.
That’s it for customizing the lock screen – it’s all about background images and lock screen apps. However, with custom backgrounds and apps, each person’s lock screen could look different.
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 01/26/13