Getting rid of the Windows 8.1 Charms bar

I’ve been running Windows 8.1 on my main computer for a while now, and while I was initially dreading the goofy new touch-centric user interface, most of the time it stays out of the way.

There is one exception: the ‘Charms Bar’. There’s nothing ‘charming’ about this thing; it pops up at the most inconvenient times, usually when I’m gaming.

The Charms Bar is a toolbar and clock overlay that – by default – appears when the mouse moves to the top right or bottom right of the display. The toolbar contains links to the Devices and Settings apps, and the Start screen. I already have plenty of ways to get to those things, so the bar is pure annoyance.

Sure, if I was using a tablet, the Charms Bar would probably be useful. But I’m not. Thankfully, Microsoft provided some settings for getting rid of it. Unfortunately, the settings involved are in more than one place, and there is no setting to disable the lower right corner trigger.

To stop the Charms Bar from appearing when you move the mouse to the top right, navigate to Control Panel > Taskbar and Navigation > Navigation > Corner Navigation and disable the option When I point to the upper-right corner, show the charms.

If your computer supports mouse or touch swiping motions, you will probably need to disable those as well. To do that, navigate to Control Panel > Mouse, look for swipe-related options, and disable them.

That’s as far as you can go with built-in Windows settings. You’ll still see the Charms Bar when you move your mouse to the lower right. The best solution I’ve found so far is the freeware Charms Bar Killer from Winaero. Even this tool can’t fix the problem permanently, because the changes it makes are reversed whenever Windows (or Explorer) restarts. You can configure it to start with Windows, or just run it whenever you want to disable the Charms Bar until the next reboot.

Microsoft: frustrating people needlessly since 1975.

About jrivett

Jeff Rivett has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s. His first computer was an Apple II+, built by his father and heavily customized. Jeff's writing appeared in Computist Magazine in the 1980s, and he created and sold a game utility (Ultimaker 2, reviewed in the December 1983 Washington Apple Pi Journal) to international markets during the same period. Proceeds from writing, software sales, and contract programming gigs paid his way through university, earning him a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree at UWO. Jeff went on to work as a programmer, sysadmin, and manager in various industries. There's more on the About page, and on the Jeff Rivett Consulting site.

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