How to Enable Boot to Desktop in Windows 8.1

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One of the most highly-touted features of Windows 8.1 is its "boot to desktop" option, which lets you go straight into the classic desktop mode from the moment you power on your PC. Like Windows 8, Microsoft's new operating system boots up to the Start Screen by default. However, enabling boot to desktop in Windows 8.1  is as easy as clicking through to a submenu and checking a box. 

Here's how you do it.

1. Right click on the taskbar and select Properties in desktop mode.

select properties

2. Click on the Navigation tab.

Click navigation tab

3. Check "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in."

check go to desktop

4. Check "Show my desktop background on Start" also if you want the Start Screen to have the same wallpaper as the desktop.

MORE: Windows 8.1 Preview Tested

Click navigation tab

5. Click Ok. 

The next time you boot your computer and log in, Windows 8.1 will take you straight to desktop mode. If you checked off "Show my desktop background on Start," the Start screen will now look more like the desktop because it will have the same background image.

Shared desktop wallpaper

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • Brian Says:

    Thank you for the tip, but my Taskbar > Properties has only three tabs, not four, and the Navigation tab is nowhere to be found. There is no Navigation in Control Panel > Appearance & Personalization, either. I know when I've been punked by M$, but I'm still using Windows because that'a what I know.


    Brian E.

  • papasmurf Says:

    I wanted to save this page, so I could read it at my leisure, along with some other stuff on winshit 8. However, like that crap (I'm stuck with it) I can't save the page. Thanks for the help.

  • Alfred Says:

    Interesting, but would be even better if was indicated how to go to this desktop mode where we can right-clic and access properties. Seems to be a prerequisite to this trick. I guess I'll have t find out by myself once I get my Windows 8.1 machine.

  • Bill Hezlep Says:

    Nice, useful article for people like me, not stupid but not all that technical either. Question; when I try to use the Picture Viewer to compress photos for e-mail, it tells me that "There is no e-mail program installed." Yahoo and Windows Live work fine, I use them everyday. Second question; is there anyway to get the Photo Editor fro Windows 7 to work in Windows 8.1? Maybe you could answer in a future piece?

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