Windows 8.1 Tips and Tricks


We offer a wide variety of classes to prepare an IT individual to install, configure and support Windows 8.1 clients.

MS20687D – Configuring Windows 8.1—Configuring-Windows-8.1.aspx

MS20688D – Supporting Windows 8.1—Supporting-Windows-8.1.aspx

MS20689D – Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8—Upgrading-Your-Skills-to-MCSA-Windows-8.aspx

This blog post is just a few of my favorite Windows 8.1 tips and tricks

1. Orange directional arrows on first sign-on

After a new profile is built for a user on Windows 8.1, a large orange arrow appears several times on the screen in an attempt to show the user how to navigate the new desktop. Sometimes these arrows can cause more confusion than help for an enduser.

Disable the Orange Arrow Help Pop ups via Registry
1. Use Windows-R to bring up the run box on the system.
2. Type regedit and hit the enter key afterwards.
3. Use the sidebar to navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows
4. Right-click on Windows and select New > Key from the context menu.
5. Name the new key EdgeUI.
6. Right-click the new EdgeUI key afterwards and select New > Dword (32-bit value).
7. Name it DisableHelpSticker.
8. Double-click the new Dword afterwards and change its value from 0 to 1.
9. Restart the PC.

Disable the Arrow Help Pop ups via GPO

1. Go to Search and enter Local Group Policy Editor or gpedit.msc
2. Expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, and lastly Edge UI
3. Double click on Disable Help Tips
4. Set the configuration to Enabled
5. Select Apply and exit Local Group Policy Editor

2. First Sign-In Animation
The first sign-in animation are several screens that users see when their user account is being created and preparing for them after signing-in. While the first sign-in animation may be helpful to a few new users to see when they sign-in for the first time, disabling the first sign-in animation will give a faster new account preparation if the new users already know about what the animation is demonstrating.

Disable first sign-in messages via registry


EnableFirstLogonAnimation DWORD

0 = Disable first sign-in animation
1 = Enable first sign-in animation

Disable first sign-in messages via Group Policy

1. Edit the GPO for the computers that you would like to affect – expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates,System, and open Logon. (see screenshot below)

2. In the right pane of Logon, double click/tap on Show first sign-in animation. (see screenshot above)

3. Return to the traditional F8 screen or the screen to select Safe Mode options

If you are currently booted into Windows but you would like to start with safe mode options –
Press and hold the Shift key and then click Restart

• To try to natively boot into Safe Mode options like we did with Windows 7 and below
From a command prompt, run
Bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy
When your system starts and before getting into Windows, press Shift + F8
(Note….You may have to disable UEFI)

• You could create a bootable recover Recovery Drive to a USB key instead of booting from the Windows DVD
Within Windows 8.1 – search for recovery drive and follow the wizard

4. Remove the enduser from being able to connect the the Windows Store and therefore installing applications as a standard user
From a workstation with RSAT utilities installed, connect to an existing GPO or create a new GPO that is linked to affect the Windows 8.1 clients that you would like to restrict
Disable Windows Store by changing the setting in the GPO
Computer Configuration – > Administrative Templates – > Windows Components. Open the Store entry in the right-hand pane, and enable the Turn off the Store application setting

5. Turn off or reduce the normal 5 minute delay of running a Logon Script via a Windows 8.1 client
A new 8.1/2012R2 group policies have been setup which default the delay for startup scripts to 5 minutes. This can lead to many problems with users not having access to their mapped drives and other settings.
To disable the delay, change the following setting in a GPO for the Windows 8.1 clients
Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesSystemGroup PolicyConfigure Logon Script Delay

Change the setting to Disabled

6. Disable Windows search from looking to the Internet via Bing or to a SkyDriveOneDrive

Tweaking what is Searched
By default Windows 8.1 will look through files on your PC, in your OneDrive account and on the web when you type a query into the Search charm, but you can modify this behavior.

On a Single Computer
Open the Settings charm then choose ‘Change PC settings > Search and apps > Search’ to disable Bing integration

To disable via a GPO for the Windows 8.1 clients
Computer Configuration Administrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsSearchDon’t search the web or display web results in Search over metered connections
Set to Enabled

7. Disable Hot Corners
“Hot Corners” feature which allows users to access some predefined shortcuts by moving the mouse cursor to top-left or top-right corners of computer screen. When you move the cursor to top-left corner of screen, the “App Switcher” or “App Switch List” is shown which allows you to navigate between running apps or close running apps. When you move the cursor to top-right corner of screen, “Charms Bar” is shown which provides quick access to 5 shortcuts: Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.
Although these hot corners were designed to help Windows 8 users but most of the users found them annoying and useless

Disable Hot Corners for a Single Computer
You can simply open up the Corners and Edges section of the ‘PC and devices’ settings page and turn off the corner navigation options.

To disable Hot Corners in a GPO for the Windows 8.1 clients
In the selected GPO, open User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Edge UI Double click ‘Disable Help Tips’ Check ‘Enabled Click on “Apply” > OK

8. Connect your Microsoft account to your Domain Account
1. On the Windows 8.1 client, go to Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click Accounts.
3. Tap or click Connect your Microsoft account.
4. Select the settings from your Microsoft account that you want to sync with your domain account, and then tap or click Next.
5. Enter the email address you use as your Microsoft account, and then tap or click Next.
If you don’t already have a Microsoft account, tap or click Sign up for a new email address, and then follow the instructions.
6. Enter the password for your Microsoft account, and then tap or click Next.
7. Add your security verification info, tap or click Next, and then tap or click Finish.
9. Boot directly to the Desktop instead of the Start Screen

Via Regedit
Key: HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerStartPage
Value: OpenAtLogon Value Type: Reg_DWORD Value Data: “0” Boots to the Desktop Value Data: “1” Boots to the Start Screen
Taskbar – Properties – Go to the desktop instead of Start When I Sign in

Via a GPO for the Windows 8.1 clients
User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesStart Menu and Taskbar
Locate the following setting: “Go to the desktop instead of Start when signing in or when all the apps on a screen are closed”
Enable the setting