Here’s how to get the most from the Windows Lock Screen:
Customize the Lock ScreenYou can change the background image of your Lock Screen. Open the Charms Bar (the top right corner of your start page) and choose “Settings”. From there select “Change PC Settings”. Most of your customizing can be done here.
Turn Off the Lock Screen PasswordIf your PC is in a secure location, you may want to disable the password on login. From “Change PC Settings”, click “Accounts” then “Sign-In Options”. The last option permits you to turn off login passwords altogether.
Create a strong passwordIf it is necessary to use a password on your PC, create a strong password. The best passwords have a mix of letters, numbers and symbols such as the @ sign. Remember it, but don’t make it easy to figure out. Everyone knows your dog’s name and your kid’s birthday. Be more creative.
Simple Password or PINWindows also has a second password option, the Personal Identification Number or PIN. This is handy for signing in after a bathroom break. It’s also handy as a back up plan when you forget that strong password you just created.
Create a Picture PasswordOne of the coolest features of Windows 8 is that it’s optimized for touch screens and telephones. For these you can create a Picture Password. The start screen image acts as a map. In the “Accounts” area, choose “Picture Password” and follow the instructions. Now you can trace a pattern right on top of the image. Don’t forget to update it if you change your Lock Screen background.
Change the Background on the Lock ScreenYou can change to any photo. Under “PC Settings” choose “Personalize” in Windows 8, or in Windows 8.1, choose “PC and Devices” then “Lock Screen”. You can choose from one of their pictures or click browse to use one of your images. Again, don’t forget to change your Picture Password if you’re using that feature.
Change Notifications on the Lock ScreenThe default notifications are the time and date. I kept these, but you can add several other apps by selecting them under the “Lock Screen Apps” section of the previous settings page. If your boss sticks you in a closet with no windows, it might be nice to know the weather. If you communicate by email, you can have your mail app inform you when something new arrives.
As much as I hate “waking up” my computer at work, the Lock Screen does have some nice features which at least make it useful. For tablet users, you should love it. Come on, a Picture Password is cool. Old passwords are so 2007!