Although it’s not obvious how to do it, there is a way to pin documents to the Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 - yet another logoIf you have documents that you need to access often – such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint files, or pdf files – you may want to access them directly from a “tile” on the Start Menu. Yes, I know that a shortcut can be added to the desktop, but the problem with desktop shortcuts is that Windows has an irritating habit of “re-organizing” them such that you can’t find anything quickly.

Well, there is a way to create Start Menu tiles of documents. It involves three steps:

  • Create a desktop shortcut to the document
  • Add that shortcut to the folder that contains the Start Menu items
  • Create a Start Menu tile from the new entry in the Start Menu list of “All Apps”

To create a desktop shortcut to the document:

  • Open File Explorer and find the document
  • Right-click on the document
  • Left-click on “Send to”
  • Left-click on “Desktop (create shortcut)”

File Explorer Address Bar

To add that shortcut to the folder that contains the Start Menu items:

  • Open a “File Explorer” window
  • Type the text on the next line into the address bar in the File Explorer window, and hit the Enter key:

    %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    If you want the shortcut to appear on the Start Menu of all other users on this computer as well as your own then, instead of the line above, type the line below into the File Explorer window, and hit the Enter key:

    %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

  • Drag the File Explorer window around the desktop until you can see the shortcut to the document that you created in the first step
  • Drag the shortcut from the desktop into the File Explorer window you opened above

Start Menu Display Options

To create a Start Menu tile from the new entry in the Start Menu list of “All Apps”

  • Open the Start Menu
  • Select the “All Apps” view on the Start Menu (see illustration)
  • Find the entry for the new item, right-click on it, and left-click on “Pin to Start”
  • Display the tiles by clicking on the “Pinned Tiles” icon (see illustration)

That’s it. You now have a “tile” of your document on the Start Menu. It’s very much faster to open a document this way than to open its associated program and then open the document from within the program.Unlike desktop icons, this tile will stay in the same place.

I haven’t found a way of changing the image of the tile to use, for instance, a jpg. The image that the live tile adopts is the icon of the desktop shortcut from which it was created. Normally, this will be the default icon associated with the file type, but you can change the icon of desktop shortcuts as follows:

  • Right-click on the shortcut
  • Left-click on the “Shortcut” tab
  • Left-click on “Change Icon”

Live Tiles of Documents

Live tiles of a pdf file, a spreadsheet file (with changed icon), and an Access database

Also, you can change the wording on the Start Menu tile by renaming the desktop shortcut before dragging it into the “Start Menu\Programs” folder. Rename the desktop shortcut by right-clicking on it and left-clicking on “Rename”. You can rename the shortcut to anything you like (removing the word “shortcut” and the “.pdf”, for instance).

Windows 10 now has enhanced touchpad capabilities built into it

Windows 10 logo and pointing fingerIf you regularly use the touchpad of your laptop rather than a mouse, then you will undoubtedly know that some things are a bit awkward. Take scrolling down a webpage quickly, for instance. This involves:

1) Moving the cursor (using the touchpad) up to the scrolling “slider”
2) Clicking on the lefthand side of the touchpad and then simultaneously dragging a finger from the top towards the bottom of the touchpad.

And, yes, it’s as awkward to carry out that procedure as it is to explain it. Maybe that’s why I see many of my IT Support clients scrolling down a web page by moving the cursor to the “up” or “down” controls at the top and bottom of scrolling bars and then just depressing on one of these controls until the scrolling has (eventually) taken the view to the right place (yawn).

2-fingered touchpad gesturePrior to Windows 10, there was no universal way of doing any better than this. It’s true that different touchpads had different techniques for streamlining actions such as this, but the controls were buried quite deep in the Windows Control Panel (usually as sub-options of the Mouse Configuration) and the controls varied between touchpads. This made it messy to get to grips with and everything could change if you got your hands on a different machine. I, for one, never bothered learning the gestures as I would undoubtedly get confused when moving between different machines. I also judged that most of my IT Support clients would likewise prefer to keep things simple.

With Windows 10, we now have common touchpad gestures built into the operating system itself that should work on any Windows 10 laptop. So, I think it’s far more likely than before that a small time investment will be repaid in increased productivity. I think this is is especially true as we use smartphones and tablets more and more, so we are becoming much more familiar with the idea of “multi touch gestures”.

So, to whet your appetite, here’s just three of the multi-touch gestures built into Windows 10 that I think are definitely worth learning:

Vertical scrolling – move two fingers simultaneously up and down the touchpad from anywhere within the window you wish to scroll.

Right-click – tap with two fingers simultaneously to produce the mouse equivalent of right-clicking (ie invoking a “context menu”).

Pinch to zoom (eg in web browsers – this won’t work in most other programs).

I will no doubt find the three and four fingered gestures very useful as well, but it takes a bit of determination to keep checking what does what and then remembering to use the options. To see the entire range of configuration items for the touchpad and all the gestures available:

  • Click on the “Start” button
  • Type the word “touchpad” (without the quotes)
  • Click on any of the options that are listed

Touchpad - 4-finger gestures

There are several gestures available that involve three or four fingers

You can easily scroll up and down between the options to see all configuration items for the touchpad (including the ability to turn it off completely or turn down its sensitivity if your cursor jumps around when you are typing). Features can be turned on or off by clicking on the tick (or empty box) that precedes the item.

Although we can configure gestures to some extent, it would be nice if we could define our own. For instance, I would like to be able to minimise the current window with a simple touchpad gesture. Maybe such an option will appear as if by magic in one of the forthcoming (and interminable) Windows updates.

Is Windows 10 making it hard for you to change your default browser?

Your “browser” is the program you use to connect to websites and receive their contents. The most popular browsers are Internet Eplorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge. Click this link for my blog posts that have previously covered browsers – browsers mentioned in David Leonard blog posts.

A “default” program is the program that will be opened to handle a particular kind of file if the program is not specified in a particular instance. So, for instance, if I double-click on a spreadsheet file then Windows knows that my default program for handling spreadsheet files is Microsoft Excel. Therefore, it opens the Excel program and then opens my spreadsheet inside that program. Likewise, if you click on a link to a website in an email, then your default browser will open to display that website.

Now, it’s well known that Microsoft have been chucking their weight around with Windows 10. One respect in which this has been happening is with the setting of default programs. The different browsers mentioned above were created by different organisations:

  • Internet Explorer – Microsoft
  • Edge – Microsoft
  • Chrome – Google
  • Safari – Apple
  • Firefox – Mozilla

You and I might think it perfectly reasonable that if we wish to nominate, say, Chrome, as our default browser, then Windows should allow that to happen and that MICROSOFT SHOULD RESPECT THAT DECISION.

But, no, Windows 10 will quite often switch default programs back to defaults that suit Microsoft’s agenda better than our own wishes (ie by reverting defaults to their own programs). This can happen with lots of type of programs (which program should handle your images, which your music, which your pdf files and so on). But let’s use the internet browser as an example.

Setting Default Programs - 1

Figure 1) Click on “Start” button and then just start typing

The nomal way to set your preferences for default programs is as follows:

  • Click on the “Start” button
  • Start typing the word “default” (without the quotes)
  • When “Default Programs” appears above where you are typing, left-click on it
  • In the window that pops up, look down the list until you reach “Web browser”
  • The program listed under “Web browser” is the current default, so, if it’s not the program you want as your default then click on it

What is supposed to happen next is that Window should list all the programs that are currently installed on the computer that could become your default. You should simply have to click on your preference and then close the window.

Setting Default Programs - 2

Figure 2) Click on the current default. You should then see a list of other potential defaults (as above)

However, several of my own IT Support clients have told me that if they try this they are offered just one browser – Windows Edge! Ho hum, what is going on here? I don’t know. No doubt Microsoft would tell us it’s just a glitch. Strange, though, that it’s always Edge (Microsoft’s own latest browser) that’s offered if there’s only one.

Setting Default Programs - 3

Figure 3) Click here if the only potential default previously offered was Edge

The solution that seems always to work (as far as I know) is to look a bit further down the screen to the link entitled “Choose default apps by file type”. If you click on this, a new windows opens that lists all the different file types down the left hand side (they all begin with a dot). Scroll down the list until you find the file type “.htm”. Click on the name of the browser that is listed to the right of this file type and – with a bit of luck and a following wind – all of your installed browsers should appear. Simply click on the desired one. Then move down a row until you are on the file type “.html” and do the same again. Then close the poup window.

Setting Default Programs - 4

Figure 4) Find the appropriate file type and then click on the current default. You will then be able to choose a different default.

One of the most likely times for Windows to reset default programs is after installation of a Windows Update. It’s really annoying that you should have to do it, but the above processes should let you put things back the way you want them.

By the way, the Chrome browser will often suggest to you that you click on a button in the browser to set Chrome as your default browser in Windows 10. This seems to not work – at least not always.

Back in 2012, I discovered Windows Sticky Notes

Your computer screen doesn't have to look like this

Your computer screen doesn’t have to look like this

I’ve been using it ever since, despite the fact that its simplicity borders on the simplistic. I did find a way of overcoming one of its limitations (not being to find the data file so as to be able to copy it or share it between devices), but this proved more complicated than it was worth.

Fast forward to one of the recent Windows 10 upgrades, and my Sticky Notes decided not to work at all. A quick Google led me to this Microsoft Technical site and it seems I wasn’t alone. There were suggestions for trying things but, oh dear, this is getting too complicated: the game isn’t worth the candle.

So, I decided to try to find an alternative.

After a few disappointments and false starts (a fact of life when researching software), I came across Simple Sticky Notes. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and found it simple (but much better featured than the Windows equivalent) and completely reliable. Some of its features include:

  • Attach an alarm to a note
  • Print notes
  • Include hyperlinks in notes
  • Configure the appearance of notes – colour of note, font, size, bold, italic, underscore
  • Create bulleted or numbered lists
  • Change text alignment
  • Change a note’s title
  • Change the location of the data file – eg put it in Dropbox
  • Lock a note to prevent accidental overwriting or deletion
  • Change the “opacity” of notes so that the screen beneath can show through (which I have found more useful than you might imagine – seeing where desktop shortcuts are hiding, for instance)

You can even download different sounds for the alarms and different note backgrounds (called, rather grandly, “themes”).

Simple Sticky Notes

The one thing I couldn’t get to work is emailing a sticky note. No big deal: just copy the text of the note and paste it into a new email message. I haven’t tested “sharing” a note to Facebook or Twitter but the options are there and, if they don’t work, the copy/paste method probably will.

Sticky Notes MessageThis is a lot of functionality for a free program and I can’t find any catch. There’s no adware or spyware downloaded with the program, no ads or anything built into the program itself, and no morally-challenged pre-ticked “choices”. I’ve run Malwarebytes several times since installing Simple Sticky Notes and I’ve had no suggestion of anything undesirable on my system.

When you think of the vast resources available to Microsoft and the probable resources available to a company like Simnet Software, you can’t help but wonder why Microsoft can’t make a better fist of the “utilities” in Windows.

A week or two after I’d started using Simple Sticky Notes, I was playing around in windows 10 Settings and found that you can repair Windows 10 Sticky Notes (or, “reset” it, as they euphemistically call it):

  • Click on the Start Menu
  • Click on the Settings cog wheel
  • Click on System
  • Click on Apps & Features
  • Click on Sticky Notes
  • Click on Advanced options
  • Click on Reset
  • Click the “x” to close

And, guess what, it worked. It mended my broken Sticky Notes. Too late. That ship has long since sailed. I can’t see me going back from Simple Sticky Notes now.

Pity the “uninstall” option doesn’t work.

PDFs are great. They make digital life easier

Adobe logoWhat are PDFs? PDF stands for “Portable Document Format”. PDFs are files that anyone can open – in any operating system and on any device. Hence the name. The format was created by Adobe and they marketed it in a clever way. They made it possible for anyone at all to be able to view PDF files using their free software – Adobe Reader. The way that Adobe made their money was by charging (quite a lot, actually) for the software that created the files that were then free to view. This software was called Adobe Acrobat.

When is a PDF useful? Here’s an example. I wrote my client database using Microsoft’s Access software. One of my database’s functions is to produce client invoices. If I created an invoice in the native Access format then almost no-one would be able to open it and I would have starved by now. So, for many years I have been using Adobe Acrobat to create my invoices in PDF format that I can easily email to my clients. It seems to work: I haven’t starved yet.

Adobe Acrobat IconThings have moved on since it was necessary to have Adobe Acrobat to create PDF files. For a long time, for instance, it has been possible to create PDF files from within Microsoft Office modules – from within Word and Excel, for instance. With the introduction of Windows 10, the ability to create PDFs of more-or-less any printable file has been built right into the operating system. You can use it from within applications (such as your browser) or you can use it from File Explorer.

Let’s just clear up a possible confusion.
If you wish to create a PDF from within an application, then you might (quite reasonably) assume that you will need to “save” the file as a PDF file. This is not how it works. Instead, you have to think in terms of “printing” the file. Let us suppose you already have a printer called “HP” and another printer called “Canon”. You would select which printer you wanted to use at the time of printing the file. Creating a PDF file is just an extension of that. If you start to choose your printer, you will now see that you not only have “Canon” and “HP” to choose from, but that you will also have the option of “Microsoft Print to PDF”. Select this “printer” and you will then have the opportunity to name your PDF file and decide where to save it.

The other way of creating PDF files is from File Explorer. Simply right-click on the file, and then choose the option to “Print”. A dialog box will come up inviting you to change the name and location of the saved file. Alternatively, you can accept the defaults. A PDF version of the file will then be saved, leaving the original file intact.

Adobe-Windows10You can use the ability to “print to a pdf file” to save web pages. This can be very handy as web pages do, of course, change and even disappear over time. Saving a web page as a PDF file means that you have a permanent copy of it and you don’t need an internet connection to retrieve it. It is a fact, though, that a lot of web pages won’t be completely, accurately, rendered to a PDF file. This is nothing new. It has always been the case that printing web pages to a real printer involves bits missing, blank sections, and so on. Printing a web page to a PDF file doesn’t seem to be any less successful than printing a web page to a real printer.

It’s nice to say something positive about Windows 10 for a change, after all the negativity brought about by Microsoft’s heavy-handed tactics in getting us to upgrade. For what it’s worth, my own experience of Windows 10 (on three of my machines) has been pretty positive and printing to a PDF file is a welcome enhancement.

Is Microsoft’s bullying about to end?

Hammer and Keyboard

Microsoft has lost an appeal case and must pay $10,000 for forcing Windows 10 onto a user

A Californian travel agent has been awarded $10,000 compensation by a court after successfully arguing that an unauthorised upgrade to Windows 10 damaged her business by rendering her machine almost unusable.

Teri Goldstein said that she hadn’t deliberately installed the operating system. Indeed, she hadn’t even heard of it. The upgrade failed several times, but when it did eventually complete, it left the machine limping and crashing.

Ms Goldstein didn’t simply go straight for Microsoft’s throat by taking legal action. She tried to resolve the issue with Microsoft’s support but didn’t get anywhere. Eventually she took them to court claiming for lost wages and for the cost of a new computer. She runs her own business and claimed that she had to buy the new computer because the mess that her old one was in was costing her business.

Microsoft Bully

Will Microsoft’s bullying stop now?

Surprisingly, and maybe even rather insultingly, Microsoft didn’t send a single one of their legal bods to argue the case in court. Instead, they apparently just sent someone from a local Microsoft store. This strikes me as extraordinary. Or maybe the legal idea of a “precedent” doesn’t carry the same weight in the USA as it does over here. I would have thought that this case could potentially clear the way for any number of upset Windows users to get some retribution after falling for Microsoft’s tricks and bullying in upgrading their machines to Windows 10 against their will. It surprises me that Microsoft seem not to be at all bothered by this possibility.

While thinking about writing this blog post, I have been musing on all those ads we see everywhere from the ambulance chasers – “Are you entitled to compensation for the mis-selling of PPI?” Just imagine the irony if a whole new industry were to spring up based around suing Microsoft for forcing Windows 10 onto us all. The irony that I am thinking of is that it is now becoming an accepted fact that Microsoft will be introducing more and more advertising into Windows 10 itself. What if a sizable chunk of that advertising market turned out to be from legal firms punting for business from dis-satisfied Windows 10 customers? I suppose that Microsoft would just refuse to carry the ads.

On the subject of Microsoft tricking us into installing Windows 10, what do you know? Just weeks before the free update to Windows 10 expires (at the end of July), Microsoft have finally agreed to include a button in their upgrade offer that says “No, I do not want Windows 10. Please go away and boil your head. If I want Windows 10 I will ask for it, but, in the meantime, stop trying to trick or force me into having it”.

OK, it doesn’t quite say that. According to Terry Myerson (Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group Executive VP), “The new experience has clearer options to upgrade now, choose a time, or decline the free offer”. I think that the cynicism of this move, just weeks before their “free offer” closes anyway, is absolutely breathtaking.

I can’t think of anything else to say.

Windows 10 Decline Free Offer

Microsoft has finally included the option to “Decline free offer”

My previous blogs on Microsoft’s tactics over the introduction of Windows 10 can be found at:

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Offer Will End on 29th July 2016 (supposedly)
Windows 10 Free Upgrade Offer in its last 3 months
Windows 10 – Like It or Lump It

Sources for this blog post include:

The Register
Seattle Times
Ars Technica


So, Microsoft will start charging for Windows 10 with effect from the end of July

Yet another Windows 10 logoThis was announced on the Windows blog on May 5th. The UK price for Windows 10 Home will be £99.99 (including VAT). The US price will be $119. With the US$ currently worth about £0.68, I’d say they’re overcharging us, even allowing some margin for currency fluctuations. Despite the announcement, I still wouldn’t bet against Microsoft introducing some kind of “extended offer due to public demand” between now and the end of July.

It remains to be seen what tactics they are going to use after July to persuade recalcitrant Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade, but I can tell you that they are certainly stepping up the pressure in this period when upgrading is still free. As long ago as last autumn, we learned that Microsoft intended to “re-style” Windows 10 from being a completely new product to being a “recommended update”. I wrote about this in my blog of November 14th – “Windows 10 – like it or lump it“.

The upshot of this clever bit of legerdemain is that they are able to install Windows 10 without your needing to give them any new permission. If you already allow Windows to install its own updates automatically then you might wake up any day now to find that you’ve been upgraded. This happened to a client of mine last week and I saw him a few days ago to help him get over the culture shock of the new product. And last week I was doing some routine maintenance on another client’s machine and saw a screen come up that included the text “Your free Windows 10 upgrade is scheduled for ….”. Luckily, there was a cancel button (I know the client didn’t want Windows 10), so I was able (I hope!) to avert the problem.

I nicked the screengrab below from a PC World blog (the magazine, not the shop) that investigates the traps and supposed get-outs that Microsoft are laying all over the place at the moment. If you think you might already have seen a warning that Windows 10 is about to be installed on your machine and you want to stop it, then I suggest that you read this PC World blog. Do it very soon but read it slowly and carefully!

Windows 10 - Upgrade Scheduled

I have read in more than one place that it’s possible to reserve your free upgrade to Windows 10 some time between now and the end of July, but to install it at a later time to suit your own convenience. I don’t actually recommend this because I can imagine there’d be tears before bedtime if attempting it. Nevertheless, if the idea appeals to you, here is How-To Geek’s article on reserving your free upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft BootI have also read somewhere that Microsoft have promised to stop hassling people to upgrade after the free upgrade period ends, but I can’t find the reference again and, quite frankly, I’m not sure I believe it anyway. Is it just my own world-weariness and cynicism, or is it really an absolute disgrace that Microsoft are bullying, manipulating, and even deceiving us in their monomaniacal mission to get everyone in the Milky Way using Windows 10? No, it’s not just me. One of my computer support clients emailed me just yesterday about this subject and asked “Is this one of Microsoft’s most sneaky, unethical and immoral acts so far?”. I’d say it is.

So, should you upgrade to Windows 10 now? Well, if you’ve managed to dodge the bullets so far, and really don’t want it, then I think I would advise trying to hold out until the end of July to see if the bullying, cajoling, and trickery really do stop. And good luck with that.

“Good thing, too” you may say, “who wants it?”

Windows 10 - yet another logoMicrosoft’s offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 for existing Windows 7 and 8 users is due to end on July 29th – just three months away.

So what will happen after that? Well, there appear to be only three possibilities:

The offer will be ended

In view of the aggression that Microsoft have shown in getting qualifying systems owners to upgrade, it might seem a bit odd if they were to just give up now – “that’s it, you’ve had your chance. You wanted to stay with Windows 7/8 so have it your way. Stick with your old, reliable version. See if we care”. That seems a bit unlikely.


The offer will be extended

This would seem to be the easiest thing for them to do. It would mean that their Windows 10 juggernaut could continue rolling across the globe without any special effort on their part. I can already imagine the rather lame PR language “… so many of you have praised Windows 10 as the best thing since sliced bread that we’ve decided to extend the opportunity to get it free of charge for another three months”.

A different offer will be made

They could turn the screws on people who haven’t yet upgraded by continuing their present aggressive tactics, coupled with the stark decision that people will have to pay for it (maybe £100?) if they don’t act upon a new offer. The only problem I can see with this approach is that they would, eventually, have to end any offer or risk losing all credibility.

So, should you upgrade now and get it over and done with, or wait and see what they come up with?

But for two important facts, I might suggest that you bite the bullet and go for the upgrade while you know it is free. Those two important facts are two big problems that some people have encountered in Windows 10. I’m not suggesting that these are the ONLY problems with Windows 10 and I’m not suggesting that everyone encounters them, but they are worrying because Microsoft doesn’t seem to know what is causing them and there is no foolproof fix that works in all cases. These problems are:

1) Start menu problems

Start Menu - Critical Error Message

Some users have been faced with variations of the following error message when clicking on the Start menu button – “ Critical Error – Your Start menu isn’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in”.

Suggestions for a fix to this problem include:

  • booting into safe mode and then re-booting into normal mode
  • creating a new administrator account
  • uninstalling and then reinstalling your antivirus program

All of this is very hit-and-miss and no-one (Microsoft included) seems to know what the problem is. If you would like to get some idea as to the scale of this problem, just take a look at this Microsoft discussion page on the Windows 10 Start Menu critical error problem.

2) Network connection issues

Some users can’t connect to the internet, and some can’t connect to other computers on the same local network. There are lots and lots of suggestions out there as to what to try. See this Microsoft page on connection issues, for example.

I spent hours recently on this problem on a client’s machine that we had just “upgraded” (huh!) to Windows 10. Eventually I managed to resolve the problem by repairing the Windows installation (using the inbuilt repair process). The problem with this process is that, although it keeps all the user data intact, all programs have to be reinstalled, reconfigured etc. As I say, in this instance the repair worked, but what if it hadn’t? Goodness knows. Once again, Microsoft do not appear to know what is causing the problem.

Man thinking

“Hmm, stick with Windows 7, upgrade to Windows 10, or go and live in a cave?”

Windows 10 has now been “on general release” for nine months. It’s very worrying that problems such as these are still present – without apparent cause and without failsafe repair methods. Because of such problems, my advice at the moment is NOT to upgrade to Windows 10 if you have a reasonably functional Windows 7 or Windows 8 system. Who knows? Maybe these unresolved problems will be resolved before the current offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 expires on July 29th (the first anniversary of the release date).

My advice on what to do as we get nearer to the end of the free upgrade period will depend on what Microsoft say will happen after July 29th and on whether or not resolutions are found to problems in the existing version.

Not a very satisfactory situation, is it?

If you are irritated by the Windows 10 lock screen you can get rid of it – but you need to be brave

Windows 10 Lock Screen

The seemingly pointless Windows 10 lock screen

The Windows lock screen is that seemingly pointless screen that pops up when you haven’t touched anything for a while and before a sign-in screen. I dare say there’s some kind of logic behind its existence. Probably to do with hiding the screen’s contents from prying eyes. However, most of my own computer support clients (who tend to be professionals working in the privacy of their own home and/or home users) don’t need this to be present and just find it irritating.

Regedit Command

Figure 1. Starting the regedit command from the Start menu

This is one of those cases where I wonder just what goes through the heads of les grands fromages at software companies such as Microsoft. During all the thousands of man hours of development of Windows 10, did it really not occur to any of them that the lock screen is usually a pain in the neck and that it would be really nice to give the user an easy way of disabling it? Apparently not, because you can look in vain for a method in “Settings” or in “Control Panel”.

However, if you are brave enough to make changes to the registry in Windows 10, then it’s not difficult to get rid of it. But be warned: if you make a mistake when editing the registry then you can very very seriously break your Windows. You may not be able to boot up your computer. On your own head be it. You have been warned.

  • Click on the “Start Menu” button
  • Type “regedit” (without the quotes)
  • Click on the “regedit run command” option that comes up (see Figure 1)
  • Click on the “yes” button in the User Account Control window
  • Back up the registry by clicking on File, Export, and then supply a name for the backup and then wait for the backup to complete (it will only take a minute or two)
  • Down the lefthand side of the window, open up the “hives” (these are analogous to folders in File Explorer) as follows:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

  • Right-click in the right-hand pane and create a new key
  • Rename this to “Personalization” (without the quotes and note the US spelling)
  • Select this key by clicking on it
  • Right-click in the righthand pane and select “New” and then “DWORD (32-bit) Value”
  • Name the new Value “NoLockScreen” (without the quotes)
  • Double-click on NoLockScreen and place a figure 1 in the space below “Value Data”
  • Click on OK and then close the registry editor by clicking on “File” and then “Exit”
  • Re-boot the computer. The lock screen will have gone

Windows10 - another logoYou can bring the lock screen back by going into the registry editor again, navigating to the same entry, and replacing the figure “1” with a “0” (zero).

Of course, there’s a slightly easier way of achieving the same thing: ask me to do it during a computer support visit. If you are not a client of mine, move to London first (if you are unfortunate enough not to live here already) and then call me.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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