Yesterday at Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, they released a public preview of Windows 8.1. With this update to Windows 8, you can now choose to boot Windows directly to the desktop, just like you did with Windows 7. While there’s a whole lot of other goodies in this release, this feature, along with the return of the Start button on the desktop, are ones the consumer and media complained about the most.
If you’re looking to enable this feature, here’s all that you need to do: From the Start screen, tap or click on Desktop. When the desktop appears, right click on the task bar and select Properties from the list. Be careful to right click on a clear part of the taskbar and not on an existing application icon. You should now be looking at the “Taskbar and Navigation properties” window. From here, select the Navigation tab. On the bottom half of this window, you will see a section that relates to the Start screen. Click the box next to “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”. Be sure to click on OK or Apply to save your changes, and the next time you log in, you will go directly to the desktop.
There’s a few other cool settings in that list, and they’re worth checking out. Personally, I really like the “Show my desktop background on Start” and “Always show Start on my main display when I press the Windows logo key”. I also don’t care for the boot to desktop, so I’ve kept my devices booting to the Start screen.