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How to enable “Boot To Desktop” feature in Windows 8.1 (or windows 8)

It is simple. When you are at desktop screen, right click on the task bar, switch to navigation tab, and you will find the option (“Go to desktop instead of Start menu when I sign in”). Just check that box and click on OK.

It is very simple when you want to do it on a single computer. But how to deploy it to multiple workstations?. How to deploy it to all windows 8.1 computers in your office?

Any change in user environment is a change to file or registry. So, when you enable this option via task bar, the following registry value is set to ‘0’

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartPage\OpenAtLogon

(Courtesy:  www.grouppolicy.biz)

So, being a system administrator, you have to decide what is the best way to deploy this setting to all users. You can use group policy preferences, scheduled tasks or any other custom mechanisms that you use in your organization. My preference is Group policy preferences as it is very easy to configure.

I don’t want to explain how to configure GPP as someone already did that. See http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2013/06/how-to-configure-a-boot-to-desktop-group-policy-for-windows-8-1/ for detailed instructions.

I also came across an article from same which is explaining how to enable “Boot to Desktop” on Windows 8 computers as well. Basically they are using SendKeys functionality in Windows Forms to trigger the desktop access from Start Menu. They are doing it through powershell script configured as a logon script for users. See http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2013/05/how-to-enable-boot-to-desktop-group-policy-for-windows-8/ details.

Hope this helps and happy learning.

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