5 Awesome Ways to Tweak Windows 8

We’ve already discussed on and on about Windows 8’s features and some of the possible outcomes in the final build of the operating system. However, we haven’t really touched base with many of the possible tweaks that could be done to improve the functionality of the system, particularly when you want Windows 8 to run a bit faster or turn into a more convenient OS for you. Some of the tweaks we discuss today might work in Windows 7, but all of them certainly pertain more to Windows 8, its desktop, and its features. Let’s have a look!

1. Use a 4-Digit PIN to Log In to Windows Instead of a Password

While Windows 8 might still integrate the logon capabilities of its predecessors, it also adds a bit of a twist: You can log in to Windows 8 using a 4-digit PIN code. Since several applications in the banking and telecommunications industries use PIN codes, it might be simpler to log in with a PIN code for those who are used to this kind of authentication. However, the Windows 8 PIN authentication method was chiefly designed to make the authentication process simpler for those with touchscreens, who would take upwards of 30 seconds to type in a complex alphanumeric password.

If you would like to use a 4-digit PIN, click the “Control Panel” tile in the Metro UI once you’ve logged in.


Within the control panel’s “Users” section, search for a button that says “create a PIN.”


A screen will show up asking you to authenticate using your current long and boring password. Do that and click OK. Now, you’ll be able to enter your PIN and configure everything to your desire. Enjoy!

2. Log In With a Picture

Although this might be a bit less safe of an authentication method, you can use Windows 8 to log you in using a photograph. The software lets you use any picture you want and apply gestures around the picture. Let’s say you put a picture of your kid as the logon picture. You can configure the computer to authenticate you by circling your finger or mouse cursor around your kid’s eyes and poking his/her nose. This authentication method is much faster than conventional alphanumeric authentication, almost at the same level as the PIN authentication mentioned earlier. Let’s configure your picture!

Just use the same method as the previous section, except that you’ll be clicking “Create a picture password” instead of “Create a PIN.” Just walk through the steps and you’ll have this authentication configured in no time!

In the below example, someone configures a picture in a way that he pokes the woman on the left’s nose, draws a circle around the head of the man in the middle, and draws a line between the noses of the two ladies on the right:


3. Remove Visual Effects for Better Performance

Every version of Windows since XP has had visual effects designed to give the user a more “fluid” experience. The only problem with this is that, if you do not have a high-performance computer, your computer is going to freeze slightly while minimizing or maximizing windows. This is also true for Windows 8, an operating system jam-packed with visual effects.

While it’s not necessary to remove visual effects seen in Windows 8, you must do this if you experience slight skipping when modifying a window. This kind of thing is visible chiefly in computers that have low amounts of physical memory, graphical memory, and slow CPUs.

To configure this, search for “SystemPropertiesPerformance” and press “Enter.” Once you’re in, click the “Visual Effects” tab and configure the visual effects, enabling and disabling what you want.

4. Configure OpenDNS to Browse Faster

If you haven’t heard of it already, OpenDNS is a very fast DNS server that is more reliable than what some ISPs have to offer. If you notice that you’re taking a long time to connect to a web page (right before the page starts loading), then you probably have a weak DNS server on your ISP. Many service providers have heavy DNS resolution traffic, making it difficult to hold their own. Give your ISP a break and configure OpenDNS on Windows 8 to make your experience more magical!

To configure OpenDNS on your computer, first make a search for “ncpa.cpl“. Once in your network interface window, right-click the network interface you use to connect to the Internet and click “Properties.” Select “Internet Protocol Version 4” and click “Properties.” Select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and configure the following two addresses: and

5. Configure Metro App Links to Open in Your Desktop

Windows 8 introduces the Metro UI, an interface that runs above the desktop, allowing you to have full-screen applications that operate on cloud storage and include tons of other features that give you a very unique experience. While you might like to use some of the apps in Metro, you might not like them opening a full-screen version of Internet Explorer every time you click a link. Fortunately, you can configure Metro to open the desktop version of Internet Explorer instead.

To configure Metro applications to open the desktop version of IE, you must first go to your Internet options. Do this by opening the “Search” charm and searching for “inetcpl.cpl“.


Select the “Programs” tab and, under “Choose how you open links,” select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.” Once you click “OK,” you’ll see links open up in the desktop instead.

Bonus! Tweak Your Desktop to Make it More Accessible for Touchscreens!

Here’s one thing that drives people nuts: Accidentally touching something you shouldn’t on your screen. This happens often on Windows’ desktop. All that said, let’s hop straight to modifying your desktop!

Touch your desktop background and hold it down until a small context menu appears. Once there, touch “Screen Resolution.” Inside the screen resolution window, touch “Make text and other items larger or smaller.” Make them huge, click “Apply,” and restart the system!

Now, get back to that context menu we told you to go to in the previous paragraph. Touch “View,” and touch “Large icons.” That’s much better, isn’t it?

We’re not done yet! Get to your “C” drive and select “Large icons” near the top of the window. Now, we’re going to help you configure all icons on every folder of the computer to look like this!

Hit “File” and go to “Change folder and search options.” Once there, get to the “View” tab. Hit “Apply to Folders,” and then click “Yes” to confirm your action. Once you click “OK,” you’ve got yourself a touchscreen-friendly desktop!

Any More Thoughts?

If you’ve got some tweaks you’d like to talk about, hit us up in the comments section. Please let us know if something is not working or if you can’t follow the steps. We usually respond rather quickly to inquiries. Have a great day!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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