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John Paul Cook

Windows 8.1 Boot into Desktop Mode

If you primarily work in desktop mode, you can easily reconfigure Windows 8 to start in desktop mode when booting up. Once in desktop mode, go to the Taskbar, right-click and then select Properties to change the Navigation on your machine.


Figure 1. Right-click on the Taskbar select Properties.

On the Navigation tab, check When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start to enable booting into desktop mode.


Figure 2. Check Show my desktop background on Start, Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start, and List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by Category.

There are other things you might want to enable. If you check Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start, you’ll see your applications instead of the tiled view when you switch back to the Modern UI. Since I prefer the category view, I also checked List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by Category. Notice that the desktop background appears because Show my desktop background on Start is enabled.


Figure 3. The Modern UI with Show my desktop background on Start, Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start, and List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by Category all checked.

Published Saturday, June 14, 2014 6:12 PM by John Paul Cook

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john doh said:

Thanks but windows 8 is still absolute crap. So arrogant of Microsoft to push that garbage on us.

June 14, 2014 11:19 PM

Haron said:

100% agree with John.

June 15, 2014 12:29 AM

eyad said:

100% agree with John

June 15, 2014 2:45 AM

Audi_TT said:

Also agree with john.  It'll be quite a while before I leave Win7.

June 15, 2014 7:50 AM

J.C. said:

I don't agree with that. It's just different. I have w7 at work and w8.1 at home, and it's just a matter of getting used to something different to what you're used to.

However, it's true that is kind of a hybrid. If you don't like it, set i to start to desktop mode, where the change is not so obvious.

But I don't believe it's always a mistake when you make release something new. When some companies release version after version with only minor upgrades, sometimes you think 'what is new then?'.

What I really don't agree is on taking w7 out of the picture. What of users that don't want to change from what they commonly use? Why forcing an upgrade?

June 16, 2014 2:51 AM

pmbAustin said:

If you installed Windows 8.1 Update 1, it should have made this configuration change for you.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is very nice to use.  Fast, secure, stable, and perfectly usable and more functional and efficient than Windows 7, imho.

I almost can't stand going back to Windows 7 any more, because it seems so primitive, and so much is missing.

Windows-X for the "power-users menu" is amazingly useful (same as right-clicking on the start button).

Windows-S for searching for anything (without having to jump to the start screen).

And most people who hate the start screen just haven't made any effort to customize it.  Unpin everything you don't use.  Pin your MOST used programs to the Task Bar, and the others you need less frequently to the Start Screen.  Arrange, group, name, and organize to suite you.  Use Search for everything else.

The Search in Windows 8.1.1 is also fantastic.  If you're not sure of what to do, you can just type the question, and it'll basically show you how to do what you want.... and get you right there.

I think most people Bashing Windows 8 right now are doing so either because they're just parroting what they heard, or they're just echoing out-of-date impressions from a bad experience with Windows 8.0.

I use Windows 8.1.1 every day on a desktop computer with mouse and keyboard.  I almost NEVER see anything "metro".  And I have better multi-monitor support, better file manager & file management, a vastly improved task manager, improved "File history" backups, syncing of settings to my laptop, integrated OneDrive, and of course the amazing new search abilities.

One other hint is simply to turn off the upper "hot corners" via the same dialog mentioned above.

June 16, 2014 11:34 AM

John Paul Cook said:

The Windows 8.1 update to boot to desktop is for non-touch devices. On my non-touch device, it ended up not being enabled after all. Additionally, some people may want touch devices to boot to desktop. That's why I published this post.

June 16, 2014 12:14 PM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Technology Solutions Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at clinics that treat low income patients. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Opinions expressed in John's blog are strictly his own and do not represent Microsoft in any way.

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