08 Aug 2012

Microsoft has made it known that attempts to bypass the Metro (or whatever new name they choose to give it) interface, will not work in Windows 8 RTM.  But there is a way to get around this behavior and have Windows 8 boot straight to the desktop.

There are probably other ways of doing this, but this way involves no additional software, just a few settings and tweaks.  The following assumes you don't mind booting your computer and having an account auto log in as it starts up.  Just doing a trigger for any user after log in (without the netplwiz portion) does not work by itself in my current tests using the RTM 9200 build.  However, despite these tricks, it is really not that horrid to boot to the Start Screen.  After all, after a simple press of the Windows Key you are in the desktop.  There are also a few good reasons to see your tiles before the desktop, such as in the case of tiles that auto update with useful information.

Method 1:  Auto Login and Task Manager Approach to Booting to Desktop

  • First thing is to hit the Windows Key + R to open a run command.
  • Type "Netplwiz" and a window like below appears:

  • Select the user account that you normally log in with, such as in this case you would click "adminuser" and then un-check "users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" and hit OK.
  • Do the Windows Key + r to open a run prompt again.
  • Type "control" and hit OK
  • Select "small icons" in the View by: Category area of control panel.
  • Double click Administrative Tools and then double click on Task Scheduler.
  • Click Task Scheduler Library and click Action, "Create Task..." from the menu  (Note that you could just do Windows Key + R and use this command to bring up task scheduler as well: %windir%\system32\taskschd.msc /s )
  • Give it a name, like launch to desktop
  • Click the button "Run whether user is logged on or not"

  • Click Actions and click "New..."
  • Be sure action "Start a Program is selected" and in the box under "Program/Script" type "C:\windows\explorer.exe" and click OK.  Note, we could use any app that takes you to the desktop, but here I chose to do this one.

  • Next go to the "Triggers" tab and select "Specific User" and select the user that you set to automatically log into windows on startup using the Netplwiz command previously and click OK.


  • Click OK on the task and reboot the computer.
  • After reboot, the account you chose as the auto log in account will log in and explorer.exe will launch taking you directly to the desktop.

Method 2:  Task Scheduler via a Script

This one is like the first method, but we write a little script to get the job done.

  • First in the Start Screen type notepad and hit enter.
  • Type the following text in the document:



  • Now click "Save as" and click the Save as Type pull down and select "*.*, then for File name give it a name like "Desktop.scf" (without quotes) and save somewhere such as the desktop.
  • Press Windows Key + r to open a run prompt

  • Type "control" and hit OK

  • Select "small icons" in the View by: Category area of control panel.

  • Double click Administrative Tools and then double click on Task Scheduler.
  • Click the Task Scheduler Library on the left side
  • In the menu choose Actions.. "Create New Task".
  • Give the task a name such as "launch desktop"
  • Click Triggers tab and click New and choose "At log on" and click OK
  • In the Actions Tab, choose "Start a Program" and browse to the Desktop.scf file from above and click OK.
  • Go to the conditions tab and un-check the "Start the task only if the computer is on AC power" (in case you are running on a laptop) and click OK.
  • Now restart and then log in and it should go directly to the desktop.

Method 3:  The Desktop Tile + Enter Trick (no auto log in needed)

  • This one is fairly simple.  Just move the Desktop square to be the very first tile on the Start Screen.

  • Next time you go to log in to your Windows 8 machine (assuming it doesn't already auto-log in) just type your password and keep holding enter until you see the desktop.


Use this QR code in a QR reader application on mobile to open quickly on a mobile device

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