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Change Lock screen in Windows 8 and 8.1

By . Last modified: 2014-08-14.

How to customize Lock screen and displayed app notifications in Windows 8 and 8.1

Lock screen appears when you start or restart Windows 8 or 8.1 device, or lock your computer by opening Start screen, clicking your user name and selecting Lock from the menu (keyboard shortcut for this is Windows Key+L).
Window 8, Start screen. To lock your computer, click your user name and select Lock.

Lock screen covers the whole screen and displays current date and time, network and power status, plus notifications of Microsoft-provided Modern UI/Metro apps by default. To move on to user sign-in screen (aka Welcome screen), click or tap anywhere on Lock screen, or press a key on keyboard.
Windows 8, Lock Screen. Press a key once to move on.

Each user can personalize his/her Lock screen, but Windows 8 and 8.1 display the Lock screen of the user who was signed in last. For example, if both Margus and Mirjam are logged on to the same PC, but Mirjam locked her account later, then her Lock screen is displayed. The same applies to computer restarts.

Personalizing Lock screen in Windows 8 and 8.1

First, use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+I to open Settings charm, or move mouse pointer to the bottom right edge of screen and click Settings.
Click Change PC settings in the bottom part of the bar.
Touchscreen users should first swipe in from the right edge of screen and tap Settings.
Windows 8 Start screen, Settings charm. To personalize Lock screen photo and apps, click 'Change PC settings'.

In Windows 8, PC settings Modern UI/Metro app opens in Personalize tab. On the right, Lock screen tab is already active.
In Windows 8.1, click PC & devices tab on the left and then Lock screen tab opens.
First, you can change the background photo of your account's Lock screen. Either click any displayed photo or use the Browse button to find your own.
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To change background photo, click any displayed picture, or click Browse to choose a custom photo. Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen. To change background photo, click any displayed picture, or click Browse to choose a custom photo.

Browsing opens your Pictures library by default. Again, you can click any available photo and then click Choose picture or Choose Image (in Windows 8.1) to set it as your Lock screen background.
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen, Browse Pictures library. Select any available photo and click 'Choose picture'.

If you want to select a picture from another location, click the down arrow part of Files or Libraries combo box and open any listed folder (you can also take a picture using your webcam or even use photos stored on your SkyDrive account).
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen, Browse. To find a photo from another location, click 'Files' and select a folder. Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen, Browse. To find a photo from another location, click 'Libraries' and select a folder.

Windows 8.1 Lock Screen also has slide show capability if you do not want to use just one background photo, or if you want to use your device as digital photo frame.
First, set the Play a slide show on the lock screen slider to On. This reveals other options.
It is generally recommended to leave the Play a slide show when using battery power to Off.
By default, Use pictures from is set to use your Pictures library. If you want to, you can click Add a folder to specify additional photo locations. You can also use your SkyDrive folders here.
The Let Windows choose pictures for my slide show slider is usually On. This means that Windows 8.1 uses some artificial intelligence to display photos that are applicable to current month or season. For example, you'll see summer photos during summer (EXIF data is probably used here). If this slider is set to Off, photos are displayed in random order.
Show the lock screen after my PC is inactive for is normally set to 15 minutes, but you can also set the timeout to 1, 2, 5, 30 minute or 1 hour. Again, you can always invoke Lock screen using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+L.
The Turn off screen after slide show has played for is set to Don't turn off by default, but you can also set it to 30 minutes, 1 hour or 3 hours.
Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen. Slide show options.

If you want to remove a library or folder from the slide show list, click its name and then click Remove.
Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen. Slide show, Use pictures from. To delete a folder or library from slide show, click its name and then click Remove.

Managing Lock screen apps and notifications

As noted before, Lock screen can display notifications from Modern UI/Metro apps - count of unread e-mails, upcoming appointments, etc. Let's see an example of this:
Window 8, Lock screen, Calendar and Mail notifications displayed.

By default, notifications of Calendar, Mail, Messaging and Weather apps are displayed. Calendar displays a more detailed view as shown above (to the right of current time). Some people find the notifications and status updates to be a privacy threat, so they might want to customize or remove these apps from their Lock screens.

Apps that are already displaying status and notifications are listed in the Lock screen apps section of PC settings app, Personalize tab.
To add an application to Lock screen, click any available tile with + sign and then select the app you need. Please note that you can choose only these Modern UI/Metro apps that are capable of revealing their status and notifications.
To remove an app from Lock screen, click its tile and select Don't show quick status here. You can delete all apps if you want to.
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To add an app to Lock screen, click a tile with plus sign and select the app from the list. Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To remove an app from Lock screen, click its tile and select 'Don't show quick status here'.

Please note that if you remove the app that also displays detailed status and notifications (Calendar in this example), it will also be deleted from theChoose an app to display detailed status section.

To manage the single app that reveals more information, click its tile or plus sign in theChoose an app to display detailed status section.
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To choose the app that displays detailed status, click its tile. Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To add an app that displays detailed status, click the tile with plus sign.

Next, either click a listed app or the Don't show detailed status on the lock screen command.
Window 8, PC settings, Personalize, Lock screen. To disable detailed app on Lock screen, click its tile and select 'Don't show detailed status on the lock screen'.

Windows 8.1 allows setting single and repeating alarms, so now you can show these on Lock screen, too. Just set Alarms app for Choose an app to show alarms.
Alarms appear as Toasts and you can snooze or dismiss them.
Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen. You can also display alarms on Lock screen.

Windows 8.1 users also have the ability to use camera without signing in. For this to work, set the Use camera from the lock screen slider to On.
To turn on your webcam from Lock screen, swipe down or drag the lock screen down with mouse.
Window 8.1, PC settings, PC & devices, Lock screen. To turn on webcam from lock screen by swiping down, enable the 'Use camera from the lock screen' option.

Now you can close the PC settings Metro app using keyboard shortcut Alt+F4 or by moving mouse pointer to the top of screen where its pointer turns into hand and dragging the screen all the way down.

 

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