Tweaking Windows 8.1

So if you've installed Windows 8.1 you'll probably notice that well...nothing much has changed except that there's a Windows button on the toolbar in the "classic" UI (user interface).

The problem is that clicking on it will only take you back to the Modern UI which isn't all that useful for desktop PC users.

Luckily with Windows 8.1 Microsoft has finally introduced some options to minimise some of the more annoying UI aspects introduced in Windows 8.

Here's how.

Start me up

Windows 8 and 8.1 by default always gets you into a secure login screen, which is great if you use a shared computer, but if it's your home computer and you're the only one using it, it only delays your startup time.

Have Windows automatically sign you in and skip the login screen -- go into the Modern UI Start screen (by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard), then typing "netplwiz" (without quotation marks) and unchecking "users must enter a user name and password to use this computer."

You'll be asked to enter your Windows password one more time and when you apply these settings, the next time you start up your PC, you won't have to enter your password again.

Say no to the Modern UI

While the Modern UI generally works well on touchscreen tablets, it's really next to useless on desktop PCs, especially for power users who want to get right to the Classic UI desktop.

With Windows 8.1 you can set it up so that you don't have to see the Modern UI unless absolutely necessary. First, go to the Modern UI Start screen, then type "taskbar and navigation" and press Enter.

From there, click on the Navigation tab and here there are a number of options for you to check or uncheck.

The relevant one is the option, "when I sign in or close all applications, go to the desktop instead of Start" -- check this and Windows 8.1 will default to the Classic UI when you start up your PC.

There is also another option there that you may or may not want to check -- "show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start" -- this option will always open up your Apps view, i.e. It will show all the applications installed on your PC, a bit like how the Start menu used to work on Windows 7.

While it isn't like the original Start menu of Windows 7, at least it does show all your applications in one place.

Oh yes, there is one last option you might like to enable, namely "Show my desktop background on Start" - this will turn off the ugly default backgrounds provided by Windows 8/8.1 and instead use whatever desktop wallpaper you currently have on your Classic UI desktop and apply it to the Modern UI background.