The Windows lock screen experience introduced with Windows 8 and extended in Windows 10 drapes your background image and notifications over your monitor when your PC is locked. This adds another keypress when you return to your desk – you have to first dismiss the lock screen and then type your password. Using a registry tweak or group policy edit, you can disable the lock screen to jump straight to the password prompt. It brings you back to the simpler experience of Windows 7.
The quickest way of disabling the lock screen is to use Group Policy Editor. Type “gpedit” into the Start Menu’s search box and press Enter. In the tree menu on the left, expand “Computer Configuration” and then navigate down through the folders under Administrative Templates to Control Panel and then Personalization.
In the policies that appear on the right, double click the “Do not display the lock screen” entry. The policy editor window will open. Select the “Enabled” option from the radio buttons in the top-left and press “Apply.”
Group Policy Editor is only available on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. If you’re running the Home version, you’ll need to use a registry tweak to disable the lock screen. As with any change to the registry, you should be aware this is unsupported by Microsoft and could have unintended side effects in the future.
Type “regedit” into the Start Menu and press Enter. Expand “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and navigate through the registry keys to SOFTWARE, Policies, Microsoft and then Windows. Right-click the folder and select “New” and then “Key” in its context menu.
Name the key “Personalization” and then right-click it. select New and choose DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it “NoLockScreen.” Double click your newly-created value and type “1” (without the quotes) into the “Value data” field. Click “OK” to save your change.
Using either of these methods, you can disable the full screen lock screen. When you wake your device from sleep or lock it with Win + L, you’ll be taken straight to the password entry prompt. You can start typing immediately without having to dismiss your background picture first.
It should be noted that neither of these methods are considered “official” and they could stop working in a future Windows update. We’ve successfully used both techniques on a PC running Windows 10 Pro with the Creators Update. There’s nothing to stop Microsoft forcing you back to the full screen experience with the next Windows release.