Disable the Windows 8 Lock Screen across your Domain through Group Policy

As many of you will already be well aware, with the Release Preview for Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 8 drawing to a close now that the product has now hit RTM, and whilst it offered various functionality changes over the Consumer Preview it also gave IT Pro’s, and system administrators a chance to test deployment and management within corporate environments.

With the Release Preview Microsoft offered the Remote Server Administration Tools. Just like previous versions, these tools allow technicians and administrators to manage Windows Server based roles directly from a Windows client computer. Some of which include Active Directory/DNS, DHCP, Group Policy, Hyper-V and more.

Thankfully like previous versions Microsoft have made changes to Group Policy to enable system admins to lock down or disable various elements of the client OS. In this post I will be showing you how to disable the background lock screen through Group Policy.

Note: This was tested running the Windows 8 Release Preview with Server 2008 R2 domain controllers. The requirement for this policy is at least Server 2012  however this worked successfully in a Server 2008 R2 environment. The same also applies for the RTM version of both products.


What you will need:


1. From the Windows 8 client launch the Group Policy Management from the Start Screen or by searching for Administrative Tools.

2. Expand Domains > Your Domain


3. Right click on the Organisational Unit in which you want to create the GPO in and select “Create a GPO in this domain, and link it here” (Since this is a computer based setting you may want to add to to an OU that contains your client computers)


4. Give the GPO a suitable name:


5.Expand Computer Configuration > Polices > Administrative Templates >  Control Panel and select the Personalization node.


6. Select “Do not display the lock screen” option. Rick click and select Edit


7. Change the policy state to Enabled and select Apply followed by OK to save the setting


8. Done! the next time your domain joined Windows 8 clients reboot the background lock screen will be disabled and take you straight to logon! Note: you can also force the policy by running “gpupdate /force” from Command Prompt.


More Windows 8 and Sever 2012 administration tips to come with RTM. Stay tuned!

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