How to Turn Off the Start Screen in Windows 8.1

Windows 8’s new Start Screen marked the first time that Microsoft completely revamped the way users open applications in recent years. Prior to its introduction, users needed to click the Start Button, or press the Windows key, to access a small menu containing all of their recently used programs, along with a list of every program they installed on their PC. Naturally, users grew accustomed to it. While users can’t fully add the functionality back without third-party tools, Microsoft is allowing users to bypass the Start Screen in Windows 8.1. Here’s how to disable the Start Screen in Windows 8.1 and boot directly into the desktop.

Go to the Start Screen.

How to Disable the Start Screen in Windows 8 (1)

Open the Desktop by clicking the Desktop Live Tile or by typing ‘Desktop’ with the Start Screen open.

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Right click on an empty section of the Windows Taskbar from in Desktop. It’s the translucent bar along the bottom of the Desktop that displays the current time and any Desktop applications you have open.

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Click Properties.

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From the Properties menu, click Navigation. It’s the tab second from the left inside of the Taskbar and Navigation Properties window.

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Under the Start Screen options in the Navigation menu, click the check box next to “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”.

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Users who prefer to not use the Charms, the icons for Search, Devices and Sharing the pop-up when you place your cursor in the top right-hand corner of your screen, can disable those too. Uncheck the “When I point to the upper-right corner, show the charms” option under the Corner Navigation menu.

Uncheck the option that automatically pulls up recently used apps when you click on the top-left corner of the display.

Click the check box next to the option for show “Show Apps view automatically when I got to Start.” This will hide all the Start Menu’s Live Tiles and applications. Instead, going to Start will only show you a list of programs.

Click the check box next to “List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by category.” With this option, your desktop applications will be the first thing you see in the Start Screen, bringing its functionality in line with the old Start Menu.

Click Ok.

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Now, when you boot your Windows 8.1 PC, it’ll automatically open the desktop, and hide the new Start Screen dependent Metro-style applications. You also won’t see the Charms buttons on the right of your screen, or accidentally open applications you don’t want to use by clicking in the left hand corner.

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The result is a user experience that’s as close to Windows 7 as users can get without having to install third-party tools. Windows 8.1 is a free update that is available to all Windows 8 users, following it’s October 18th launch.