Windows 8.1 Reference Image – Boot to Desktop
One of the new great features that I like with Windows 8.1 is that you now have the option to choose if you’d like to boot directly to your desktop instead of the start page. This article walks you through how this can be managed with Group Policy. Instead of using Group Policy, a natural way for me was to update my reference image creation process, to add in those registry values necessary in the Default user hive for accomplishing the task.
I’ve recently done a blog post about how you create a Windows 8.1 Enterprise reference image with MDT 2013, which can be found here. This post will be a supplement to that reference image creation process.
- Create a registry file to be imported
- Update LTICopyScripts.wsf
- Configure the Task Sequence
Create a registry file to be imported
1. Open Notepad or any other text editor of your choice and paste in the following:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartPage] "OpenAtLogon"=dword:00000000 "DesktopFirst"=dword:00000000 "MakeAllAppsDefault"=dword:00000000 "MonitorOverride"=dword:00000000
2. Save it as BootDesktop.reg.
3. Copy the file to your Deployment Share’s script folder. In the blog post about creating a Windows 8.1 Enterprise reference image, the path was C:\DeploymentShare\Scripts.
1. Go to C:\DeploymentShare\Scripts and open LTICopyScripts.wsf with Notepad.
2. Search for ScriptsToCopy and amend that array with the following “BootDesktop.reg”. Save the file and close Notepad.
Configure the Task Sequence
1. Open the Task Sequence used to create your reference image. In my previous blog post I’ve named it Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 – Reference.
2. Select the State Restore -> Custom Tasks group, click Add and choose New Group.
3. Call the new group Configure Default User Hive.
4. Select the Configure Default User Hive group and add three Run Command Line steps, configure them as follows:
- Name: Load Default User Hive
Command line: reg.exe load HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Default C:\Users\Default\ntuser.dat
- Name: Import StartPage Keys
Command line: reg.exe import “%SCRIPTROOT%\BootDesktop.reg”
- Name: Unload Default User Hive
Command line: reg.exe unload HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Default
5. Now re-create your reference image and once you deploy the image with ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 or R2, every user that logs on will now be presented with the desktop instead of the start page. Nice? I think so!
Chief Technical Architect and Enterprise Mobility MVP since 2016. Nickolaj has been in the IT industry for the past 10 years specializing in Enterprise Mobility and Security, Windows devices and deployments including automation. Awarded as PowerShell Hero in 2015 by the community for his script and tools contributions. Creator of ConfigMgr Prerequisites Tool, ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd, ConfigMgr WebService to name a few. Frequent speaker at conferences and user groups.