Windows 8.1 Guide: Lock screen overview and new personalization

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Although, the Lock screen in Windows 8 brings a new experience to unlock a PC, the ability to personalize is limited and it doesn’t offer much functionality. In Windows 8.1 the Lock screen provides more useful features, such as slide show, a camera option to take pictures and alarms. Plus it’s possible to answer Skype calls with the PC locked as well.

The new location to change the Lock screen settings is in the PC & Devices page from the PC Settings. Yes, Microsoft decided to rearrange and make accessible all the Control Panel features from PC Settings — which in my opinion was a smart move to keep users more engage in the modern user interface.

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Like it has been before users can choose a single image from the PC’s hard drive, network folder, SkyDrive, and from Bing, even though the Bing app is gone in Windows 8.1.

Quick Tip: To set a Bing image as a background in the Lock screen, simply browse for a new image, use the Windows 8 Key +F to invoke Search, type a keyword, choose an image, right-click or tap to bring the App commands, and select Set as lock screen.

But biggie is the new Slide show feature which let folks configure multiple sources to display images in the Lock screen, including SkyDrive (with support for multiple accounts), local drives (of course), network folders, Homegroup, and more. (Here, take a look at the image to get a bit more familiar.)

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Other configurable options are: “Let Windows choose pictures for slide show” — this is a particular option, because it adds a more meaning to photos you see in the screen. For example, if today is your birthday, you’ll see image from your last year’s birthday. Also there is an option to choose whether to show photos when the PC is running on battery, when Windows should start the slide show, and how long before turning the display off.

SEE ALSO: Windows 8 Lock screen: In-depth overview and customization

Windows 8.1 Lock screen slide 640_wide

Because there are many people who use small Windows devices to take pictures, Microsoft is also adding a new Camera functionality to the Lock screen. This works pretty easy, while the PC is locked, swipe down and take a picture (that’s it!).

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Finally in Windows 8.1 is possible to take Skype calls from the Lock screen. It basically works as a traditional phone around the house, when there is an incoming call a toaster notification appears in the top-right corner of the screen and you can choose to answer via video, voice, or text. Although, this isn’t part of the Lock screen personalization, it’s a really handy feature to highlight.

SEE ALSO: Windows 8.1 Guide: Start screen overview and improvements

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].