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10 Windows 8 tips, tricks and hacks

January 31, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Just below the image on the Lock screen settings screen is the "Lock screen apps" section. Here you'll find icons for the apps that automatically display notifications and updates on your lock screen.

changing lock screen apps
Click a plus sign and choose an app to display alerts and notifications on the lock screen.

Over to the right of them are several plus signs. Click a plus sign and you'll see a list of apps that can display notifications and updates. Pick one and it will display alerts and other information on the lock screen.

Note that when you click a plus sign, you'll see both the apps that are already displaying notifications and alerts on your lock screen as well as those that aren't currently doing so. If you choose one that already displays its notifications on the Start screen, nothing new happens -- the app still displays notifications, with no change. To stop an app from displaying notifications, click it and then click "Don't show quick status here."

Underneath that section is one that's a little more baffling: "Choose an app to display detailed status." The app in this section displays more information on the lock screen than other apps.

lock screen with detailed calendar info
Here's the Lock screen showing detailed information from the Calendar app.

Only the Calendar app and the Weather app can show this kind of detailed information, and only one at a time. To change from one to the other, click the icon that's there and select the other icon. From then on, that app will show its detailed status.

If you want neither app to show detailed status, click the icon and select "Don't show detailed status on the lock screen." Neither app shows detailed information, and the icon changes to a plus sign. If you want to reinstate detailed weather or calendar information, click the plus sign and select either app.

5. Lock the lock screen image

If you share a Windows 8 PC with others and don't want them messing with the lock screen image, you can lock it so that it can't be changed. To do it, though, you're going to have to get down and dirty by editing the Registry.

Caution: Keep in mind before trying this that you can do damage to your system if you use the Registry incorrectly, so if you don't feel comfortable with Registry editing, stop right now. (See our story "The tweaker's guide to the Windows Registry" for more information about Registry editing. And be very sure to read the instructions for backing up the Registry before you attempt any Registry edits whatsoever.)

For those who do feel comfortable, when you're on the Start screen, type regedit, click Apps on the right-hand side of the screen, then click the regedit.exe icon that appears on the left side of the screen.

launching the Registry Editor
Launching the Registry Editor.

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.

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.



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