5 Tips to Improve the Windows 8.1 Startup Experience

There are lots of things to love and hate about Windows, but if you’re going to have the best possible experience, it’s important that things get off to a good start. Getting off on the wrong foot with a slow or irritating startup is going to taint your computing time. Here are five of the best tips that will help you to iron out niggles, eliminate bottlenecks and generally improve the startup process of Windows 8.1.

1. Boot straight to the desktop

This is something that has annoyed Windows 8 users ever since the operating system was released – booting to the Start screen rather than the desktop. With the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft saw fit to address users’ concerns and introduced the option to boot straight to the desktop. You’d be forgiven for not having notice the option immediately as it’s not blatantly obvious.

Access the desktop, right click an empty section of the taskbar and select “Properties”. Click the “Navigation” tab and then tick the box labelled “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in” and then click “OK”.


If you are still using Windows 8, it’s still possible to skip the Start screen with a little trickery.

2. Jump straight to Apps on the Start screen

Despite Microsoft’s push of Modern apps, most of us are sticking with regular desktop apps. The fact that the Start screen lists tiles and Modern apps first can be annoying and may mean that it takes longer to launch the program you’re looking for.

If you’d rather see a more familiar list of apps, call up the “Taskbar and Navigation properties” dialog and move to the “Navigation” tab as in the previous step. You should then tick the box labelled “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start” and click “Apply”.


3. Eliminate launch delay for startup apps

You probably have a number of applications that are configured to start automatically with Windows. Windows 8 tries to be helpful by staggering the launch of your startup programs to try to avoid bottlenecks building up. In reality, you may well find that it just takes longer for the apps you need to reach a usable state. By editing the registry, it is possible to completely eliminate this delay so that all startup apps will be launched as soon as possible.

Press “Windows key + r”, and type “regedit“. When the Registry Editor loads, navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows \CurrentVersion\Explorer

Beneath this, you may find a key called Serialize. If not, you can create it by right clicking the “Explorer” key and select “New -> Key”. Type “Serialize” before pressing “Enter”.

With this key selected, right click in the right hand pane of the Registry Editor and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value”. Enter “StartupDelayInMSec“. Next, double clicking on this the newly created key and set the value to “0“.


4. Automatically log into your user account

Having to enter a password just to use your own computer can be a pain. There are certainly security benefits to it, but if you are the only person who has access to your computer, you may want to be able to get straight down to work. We’ve previously looked at how you can skip the Welcome Screen in Windows 7. The same technique can be used in Windows 8.1 as well.

Press “Windows key + r” and type “netplwiz“. Select your user account from the list that is shown – or whichever account you would like to have load automatically – and then untick the box labelled “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer”. Click the “Apply” button.


Enter and confirm your password before clicking “OK”, and you’ll now be able to boot straight to Windows without having to enter your password again.

5. Make use of Sleep or hibernation modes

Whatever you do to help speed up your computer, the boot process always seems to take a little too long. It’s easy to forget, but Windows can be put into Sleep mode in which the current state of the computer is saved to memory so it can be very quickly restored – resuming from Sleep is much, much faster than cold booting.

But the process of putting your computer to sleep (just as with shutting down or restarting) means having to navigate through various menus. A quicker option is to create your own shortcuts so you can enter sleep mode with a quick click.

Right click an empty section of the desktop and select “New -> Shortcut”. Type the following into the text field:

rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0

Click “Next”, type a suitable name for the shortcut and click “Finish”. You can then drag and drop the newly created shortcut into the taskbar so a quick click is all it takes to put your computer to sleep in future.


If you have any other time-saving, speed-enhancing tips, share them below.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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