For many people moving up from Windows 7 or earlier, one of the most upsetting aspects of Windows 8.1 is the fact that you are immediately presented with the Start screen. As many people still use legacy applications, it makes sense that you might prefer to boot to the desktop instead.
There is nothing to stop you from manually switching to the desktop every time you turn on your computer, but you can save time by opting to load it by default. Start by right clicking the taskbar and selecting Properties.
Move to the Navigation tab and tick the box labelled When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start. Click OK.
When you restart your computer, the desktop will be the first thing you see so you can get on and launch applications using desktop or taskbar shortcuts.
Of course, there are other options that you can use as well. If you decide to boot to the Start screen, rather than clicking the desktop icon you could press the Windows key and D shortcut.