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Setting up Windows 8 for a MAME based arcade machine

Setting up Windows 8 for a MAME based arcade machine

Watch the completion video found here!

I choose windows 8 for my MAME based arcade machine to remain current and because of it's speed. Windows 8 has an annoying metro interface that seems like it was make for a tablet, not a desktop. The standard Windows desktop interface that you might be familiar with is still there. You can easily navigate your Windows 8 machine if you understand the following basic tips.


  • You can switch from the metro interface to the desktop by clicking on the desktop icon.
  • You can switch from the desktop to the metro interface by clicking in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Moving the cursor to the bottom right of the screen while in the desktop interface will reveal a panel. Clicking the settings icons and the "power" will reveal a list of power options.

Opening apps

  • Press win + r and then typing in the app name.
  • Type the app name in an explorer path field.
  • Press control + shift + escape to open the task manager and then select File -> Run new task, and typing in the app name.


Change the user name (user name is shown during log in and after disabling lock screen)

  • While on the desktop, open an explorer window by clicking the folder icon in the taskbar.
  • Press the up arrow in the new explorer window to navigate to the desktop folder.
  • Click the shortcut to the Control Panel.
  • Click "User Accounts and Family Safety" and then "User Accounts".
  • Click "Change your account name" and change it to your arcade machines name or something else suitable.

Personalize the start screen (this setting also effects the shutdown screen, log in screen, restart screen, and the screen shown after disabling lock screen)

  • While on the start screen, move the cursor to the right of the screen to reveal a panel.
  • Click on "Settings" and then "Change PC Settings".
  • Click on "Personalize" and then "Start screen".
  • One of the tiles with a black background would be most unobtrusive.
  • You may also click on "Account picture", and choose a custom picture of your taste (or create a 1x1 pixel image filled with the background color).

Disable/Hide the boot screen

  • Opening "msconfig", selecting the "boot" tab, and clicking "No GUI boot" will disable the spinner and animation from the bootscreen.
  • Your boot screen will still be left with a windows logo.
  • To disable the spinner, animation and windows logo, you need to download and use BootUITuner.
  • Open BootUITuner and uncheck all boxes.
  • Click the "Apply" button.
  • Next time you boot, your boot screen will be completely black.

Automatically log in to your Windows 8 account

  • Open "netplwiz".
  • Uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" and then press ok.
  • Enter your password and password confirmation.
  • Windows "saves" that password for you, so that you do not have to enter it anymore during log on.
  • I still do not know how to bypass or hide the log in screen, but at least the process is now automated.

Disable lock screen

  • Hit Window Key + R.
  • A run dialog box appears.
  • Type gpedit.msc into the box and hit Ok.
  • The Local Group Policy Editor appears.
  • Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Tools -> Control Panel -> Personalization in the left pane of the window.
  • Double click (or tap) on "Do not display the lock screen".
  • Another dialog box appears.
  • Select Enabled and click Ok.

Boot directly into your front end

  • This can be accomplished by changing a setting called "shell" within the registry.

  • If you change the shell and then launch explorer (for admin purposes), the desktop icons and taskbar will not load.

  • Instead, we will make a group policy to acomplish the same thing without the restrictions changing the shell in the registry imposes.

  • Open "mmc".

  • Select File -> Add/Remove Snap-in.

  • Select "Group Policy Object Editor" and then click "Add".

  • Click the "Browse" button in the wizard window.

  • Click the "Users" tab in the new window that popped up.

  • Select the current user you set up to automatically log in and use for your MAME arcade machine.

  • Make sure the checkbox in the wizard is unchecked.

  • Click "Finish".

  • Click "Ok" in the "Add or Remove Snap-ins" window.

  • In the User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System folder, open "Custom User Interface".

  • Select the "Enabled" radio button in the "Custom User Interface" window.

  • Under "Options" it says "Interface File Name".

  • Enter the path of your front end executable in the field below it.

  • Click "Ok".

  • Exit the Policy Editor and reboot.


Shut down and restart Windows 8 easily

  • Right click your Desktop, click New > Shortcut, and then type in: shutdown /s /t 0. (Don’t include the period. That’s a zero, not the letter O.)
  • You can then right click the new shortcut and Pin to Start — and then you can drag it onto your taskbar.
  • Clicking the shortcut will shut down your PC immediately.

Bypass the Windows 8 Start screen after log-in

  • Hit Start, type schedule, click Settings, and open “Schedule tasks.”
  • Click Task Scheduler Library from the left pane, Create Task on the right pane, and give it a name like Boot to Desktop.
  • Then head into the Triggers tab, click New, and then select “At log on” from the drop-down.
  • Click OK.
  • Head to the Actions tab, click New, and then simply type explorer into the Program/script text box.
  • Click OK, OK again, and you’re done.
Guide written and assembled by Keil Miller Jr 2013, but information pertaining the guide was found and collected from various sources on the internet.
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