News made the round yesterday that Microsoft seems to have shut down some methods that Windows 8 Beta users have used to bypass the startpage of the operating system to boot straight into the desktop. Up until now, users of Windows 8 could boot to the desktop using a number of workarounds. I'm for instance using the Start8 software to boot directly into the Windows 8 desktop when the computer is turned on.
According to the article, all of these features won't function anymore in the retail version of Windows 8. I have a hard time believing the claims made in the ZDnet article for a number of reasons. First, the author of the article does not appear to have access to the Windows 8 RTM yet, and relies solely on another author to verify those claims.
According to book author Rafael Rivera, users cannot boot straight to the desktop in Windows 8. The example given however only refers to the shortcut trick that I have linked above as well.
It fails to mention if other methods, like that provided by Start8, have been tested as well by the author. The article points out at the end that third party solutions like Start8 seem to work just fine under the Windows 8 RTM build.
And there you have it. It is still possible to boot right into the desktop. While you may need to use a program like Start8, or any of the myriad alternatives to do just that, you can still bypass the startpage if you want to.
And even if you do not want to install a software for that, the desktop itself is just a click or a keyboard shortcut away. Considering that the majority of IT workers boot into the PC once a day or less, it should not really be that of an issue for them.
Sure, it would have been very helpful if Microsoft would have added a new entry to the Group Policy to bypass the startpage in Windows 8, which many organizations and companies would surely have activated to avoid having to train their employees extensively.
I certainly would have liked to see such an option, and it is not clear why Microsoft has not added one to the operating system to help out its enterprise customers. A feasible reason could be the company's drive to establish the startpage and Windows store in the Windows world. If a large part of consumers and companies bypass the startpage, they won't come into contact with the new part of the Windows world.
Update: Apparently, there are other options available to boot directly to the desktop. You basically have to load the 4desktop.exe file to the system startup to get straight to the desktop. Works in the Windows 8 RTM.
Update 2: Newer versions of Windows 8 support straight to desktop booting. To enable it if it is not enabled by default, do the following:
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