Your Windows 10 Lock Screen Could Be Better If You Customized It

Dan Price 31-05-2017

Back in mid-2016, we introduced you to five cool things you can do with the Windows 10 lock screen Cool Things to Do with the Windows 10 Lock Screen The Windows 10 lock screen is more than a stylish display to cover the login screen. Let us show you everything it can do and how you can customize or disable it. Read More . We covered everything from voting on spotlight images to using your favorite subreddit as a wallpaper feed.


However, as Microsoft has continued to update the operating system, the number of ways you can tweak the screen have grown. There are now enough new features that it’s time to revisit the topic.

So what are the best ways to customize the Windows 10 lock screen in 2017? Keep reading to find out.

1. Bypass the Lock Screen

In our previous edition of this article, we explained how you could use a registry tweak to turn off the lock screen entirely. Sadly, when Microsoft released the Anniversary update 9 Windows 10 Anniversary Update Features You'll Love Are you still on the fence about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update? We have summarized the most important new features. Be sure to try all of them if you've already upgraded! Read More a few months after the article was published, we found the registry hack no longer worked.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some workarounds. There are always workarounds!

If you’re running the Enterprise or Education version of Windows, the simplest solution is to head to the Group Policy Editor, follow Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization, and double-click on Do not display the lock screen.


If you’re using Windows Home or Pro, the process is more convoluted. You need to navigate to C:\Windows\SystemApps and scroll down until you find a folder called Microsoft.LockApp_cw5n1h2txyewy.

windows 10 lockscreen app

Once you’ve located the folder, rename it. I suggest merely adding a suffix (such as .old or .backup) because it’ll make it easier to undo your changes at a later date.

After you’ve made the changes, you’ll only see the lock screen when you boot your machine for the first time. If you lock the screen during the day, or put your system into sleep or hibernation mode, Windows will skip it 9 Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable Windows 10 is packed with features, but a lot of them are unnecessary. Here's how to safely prune unwanted features off your Windows 10 system for a more streamlined experience. Read More .


2. Cortana on the Lock Screen

Cortana is becoming a bigger part of the Windows operating system with every update. The list of commands Hey, Cortana? Everything You Didn't Know to Ask and More Cortana can do a lot more than you think. This master list of basic and not-so-obvious commands will help you get to know your virtual assistant and increase your productivity. Read More you can issue is growing, and the number of apps it integrates with is expanding.

As part of the service’s march into every corner of our lives, you can now make it available on the Windows lock screen. It doesn’t sound a big deal at first, but it brings a lot of benefits. If you’re so inclined, it means you can now yell commands at your computer from the other side of the room, safe in the knowledge they’ll be recorded and acted upon.

In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Cortana’s lock screen functionality should be enabled by default. You can check by going to Cortana > Settings > Lock screen > Use Cortana even when my device is locked and making sure the toggle is in the On position.

cortana lock screen


Once you’ve enabled Cortana, you should also tick the box next to Let Cortana access my calendar, email, messages, and other content data when my device is locked. Failure to change this setting will result in significantly decreased functionality How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More .

3. Change the Lock Screen Timeout

If you spend the time to set-up and customize your lock screen, it can be incredibly useful. It offers a snapshot of your life at a glance; you don’t need to open any apps or log into any services. And even if you don’t use it for productivity purposes, it can be a pleasant background screen if you’re running a slideshow How to Set a Slideshow Screensaver in Windows 10 Why stick with one of the boring original screensaver options in Windows 10 when you can spice it up with a slideshow of your favorite images? Read More .

Therefore, it’s somewhat surprising that Microsoft has programmed it to automatically turn itself off after a minute. Presumably, it’s a “battery saving” feature How to Optimize Windows 10 for Battery Life Battery life is a pretty important factor for mobile devices. While Windows 10 does offer new features to manage power settings, the defaults are not necessarily contributing to optimal battery life. Time to change that. Read More , but it’s disappointing there’s no easy way to change the timer.

But don’t worry, it is possible to make the lock screen hang around for longer. I’m going to show you how to use the registry to hack 5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features The registry editor is the only way to enable some of Windows 10's hidden features. Here we'll show you easy tweaks like enabling the dark theme or hiding folders. Read More the timeout setting.


To begin, fire up the Registry Editor by opening the Start Menu, typing regedit, and hitting Enter.

regedit windows 10

Next, navigate to HKEYLOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\PowerSettings\7516b95f-f776-4464-8c53-06167f40cc99\8EC4B3A5-6868-48c2-BE75-4F3044BE88A7 and double click on Attributes.

regedit power windows 10

In the Edit DWORD window, change the Value data box from 1 to 2 and click OK. This tweak will enable a new setting in your machine’s advanced power settings menu.

regedit power timeout windows 10

Now go to Start > Settings > System > Power and sleep > Related settings > Additional power settings > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings > Display > Console lock display off timeout and set the number of minutes to your preferred figure. Click OK when you’re ready.

lock screen timeout windows 10

4. Disable Lock Screen Ads

Disabling ads across your entire system is one of the first things you should do after upgrading Do This After Installing the Windows 10 Creators Update The Windows 10 Creators Update will soon roll out to a computer near you. Once you've upgraded, go through these settings to configure new options and restore your privacy preferences. Read More to the Windows 10 Creators Update. To specifically get rid of ads on your lock screen, there are three settings you need to change.

The most obvious one is the most well-known one. Go to Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen and make sure the drop-down menu below Background is set to either Picture or Slideshow. If you leave it as Windows Spotlight, you might see some ads pop amidst the selection of (albeit impressive) images from around the world.

lock screen ads spotlight windows 10

The second setting is less obvious. You need to head back to Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen, but this time scroll further down the page and flick the toggle under Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen to the Off position.

cortana lock screen adverts windows 10

Lastly, fire up the Cortana app and go to Settings > Taskbar titbits and turn off Let Cortana pipe up from time to time with thoughts, greetings, and notifications. The setting sounds innocent, but some users report ads have been injected into the bonhomie and well-wishes.

cortana ads windows 10

5. Hide Your Email Address

I’ll conclude the list with a security point. Since Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft lets you hide your email address from the lock screen and sign-in screen.

This is a setting everyone should change. You already know your own email address, having it displayed on a lock screen brings no benefits to you as a user. If you’re using your laptop in a public location, you could be opening yourself up to potential security issues.

lock screen hide email windows 10

To hide your email address, go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > Privacy and turn off Show account details (e.g. email address) on sign-in screen.

How Do You Customize Your Lock Screen?

If you take these five tips and add them to the five tips we showed you in 2016 Cool Things to Do with the Windows 10 Lock Screen The Windows 10 lock screen is more than a stylish display to cover the login screen. Let us show you everything it can do and how you can customize or disable it. Read More , you’ll be able to create a highly-customized lock screen in no time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the lock screen. Do you rely on it to keep you abreast of your notifications and communications? How do you make it work for you?

You can leave all your tips and anecdotes in the comments section below.

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Customization.

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  1. Carry Owels
    August 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for this. It's actually a lot more coherent that the manuals I read when i tried to turn my Win10 PC into a gaming-sreaming machine for my Youtube channel. it's actually very confusing when I try to do it without proper explanation and procedure.
    Again, thank you for making it easier to understand. Cross-reading all this is making me way more savvy.