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Windows 8 PC Settings [Complete Guide]

PC users have long been using Control Panel as the hub for controlling their system settings. With the introduction of Metro UI in Windows 8, this is going to change. While the Control Panel is still there for desktop mode, there has been a new hub introduced in Windows 8 called PC settings, that lets you change several important settings of your PC from a beautiful, streamlined, no-frills interface.

Today, with the release of Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview, we are bringing you extensive coverage of all the new features in Microsoft’s latest operating system. This post is a part of our Windows 8 Week. To learn more, check out our complete coverage of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.


This guide is a part of our series on detailed coverage of Windows 8 New Features and Improvements.

  1. How To Install Windows 8 On VirtualBox
  2. What’s New In Windows 8 Desktop, Start Search, And Start Menu
  3. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Explorer, New Ribbon Tools And Options
  4. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Task Manager, New Features And Options
  5. Windows 8 PC Settings [Complete Guide] (Currently Viewing)
  6. How To Refresh Or Reset Your Windows 8 PC [Complete Guide]
  7. All About Windows 8 FileName Collisions And Copy/Move Dialog Box
  8. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Startup Menu
  9. Sync Windows 8 User Settings Between PCs & Tablets via Windows Live ID
  10. Quick Overview Of Windows Lock Screen 
  11. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 File History Backup 

Accessing PC Settings

PC Settings can be accessed as follows:

  1. Bring up the Charms bar on the right. This can be done on a PC by by hitting Windows key + C on the keyboard or hovering the mouse for a short while in the top-right corner. On tablets or PCs with a touch screen, just swipe your finger from the right edge leftwards.
  2. On the Charms bar, hit ‘Settings’.
  3. Now hit the ‘Change PC settings’ link that shows up at the end.

Now let’s take a look PC settings in detail.


Windows 8 PC Settings Personalize Lock Screen

The Personalize section allows you to change settings for your Lock screen, Start screen and Account picture. Under Lock screen settings, you can change the lock screen wallpaper, select apps like Calendar, Messaging and Email to show status and notifications on lock screen, and also select other apps like Calendar to show additional, detailed information like your agenda and appointments.

Under Start screen settings, you can select a background for the Start screen and change the background color, from a pre-define set of background designs and colors available.

Finally, you can change your account picture to an existing file on your computer or SkyDrive, or directly take one from your computer’s camera for the purpose.


User settings let you choose between using your Microsoft account to login to Windows, or just a local account the way it was on Windows 7. You can also change your password, create a picture password or create a 4-digit PIN for logging in. It even lets you allow your PC users to wake the PC and access the currently signed-in user without having to enter the password. If you click the Change button, it will affect all accounts on the PC. Once this setting is enabled, your PC users can access the signed-in account without entering the password. Lastly, you can add new users by clicking Add a user, and remove existing users’ accounts.


Here, you can manage notification settings. You can turn them on or off, choose whether notifications are shown on the lock screen or not, and enable or disable notification sounds. You can also enable or disable notifications for Calendar, Internet Explorer, Mail, Messaging, Music, Store, Video and other installed metro apps.


In this section, you have the options to choose whether to let Windows keep your search history or not and if history is enabled, you can also set Windows to show the apps you search most on the top of search results. Lastly, you can set which apps can be used to provide you with additional search results.



Here, you can control which apps appear when you click ‘Share’ from the Charms bar, as well as the ability to organize them in the list based on frequency of use.


In the General section, you will find settings for your time zone, enabling/disabling app switching between recent apps, autocorrect settings, language settings, PC reset options and advanced system startup and restore settings.


Windows 8 PC Settings Privacy

Here, you can allow or deny apps access to your personal information such as location, real name and account picture. You can also choose whether or not apps can send the links of web content that you access from the apps (including the websites you visit) to Windows Store, which (according to Microsoft) is done in order to improve Windows Store.


Here, you can manage devices connected to your computer, as well as devices present on the network. You can also choose if device driver software can be automatically downloaded or upgraded from the internet when your computer is using a metered internet connection (like 3G/4G).


In Wireless settings, you can enable/disable all wireless communication using Airplane mode, or enable/disable individual wireless devices like Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data connection (if present) and Bluetooth.

Ease of Access

Windows 8 PC Settings Ease of Access

Here, you can manage accessibility settings like high contrast, large text, caret browsing, narration, notification display time, cursor thickness etc.

Sync your settings

Windows 8 PC Settings Sync

Under sync settings, you can select the settings you want to sync with Microsoft account, and manage how Windows syncs all the PC settings.


Windows 8 PC Settings HomeGroup

The HomeGroup section lets you join a HomeGroup for easily sharing documents, music, pictures, videos, printer and devices with other computers on the same HomeGroup. You can also create your own HomeGroup here, which generates a password that you can use on other computers in order to join it.

Windows Update


Lastly, the Windows Update section helps you check for important updates and install them if available.

That’s pretty much it for Windows 8 PC Settings. Stay tuned for more of our Windows 8 coverage.

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