How to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 has some new features, including bypassing the Start screen at log-in, so you can go straight to the desktop. We'll show you how to enable it.

Windows 8.1 final desktop
Windows 8.1 adds back the Start button and lets you boot directly to the desktop. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

Update, October 21, 2013:This post was updated to reflect a change in the description of the setting, in the final release of Windows 8.1.

The Windows 8 Start screen is a good starting point for Windows 8 devices with touch screens, but on PCs with standard screens, you might prefer to boot directly to the desktop. Previously, you could bypass the Windows 8 Start screen with Start8, but Windows 8.1 now lets you do it natively. Here's how:

Step 1: Right-click on the Windows 8.1 taskbar, then choose Properties.

Step 2: Click on the Navigation tab, then under the Start screen section, check the box next to "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start."

Windows 8.1 navigation settings
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

The next time you boot Windows 8.1, you'll go straight to the desktop without ever seeing the Start screen.

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