The default Windows login screen is boring, banal and bland but it doesn’t have to be.
Some Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) will sometimes modify the Windows logon screen to show their company logo or wallpaper. For example, Lenovo might flaunt its newest laptop floating in a hypnotic sea of green or Dell might place its logo in the corner so the first thing you see when signing on to your computer is the brand. If you’re using a company computer, your IT department might have printed the company mission statement, website, or symbol on the login screen as a stamp of ownership that constantly reminds you that this computer isn’t yours.
While most people know how to change their desktop wallpapers fewer know how to change the login screen. Fortunately, you don’t need to download and install any third-party software to do this. The change just involves a small registry tweak.
Tweaking the Registry
Login to Windows, click Start and enter this:
Then backup the registry by right-clicking the Computer icon in the upper left pane and choosing Export. If you end up flubbing the registry during this tutorial then you can restore it by importing the saved .REG file you just exported. Make sure you save the file to a removable drive or use cloud storage because if you have a hapless encounter with the Registry the last thing you want to do is find yourself scrambling to find the backup.
After you’ve exported the Registry, navigate to this registry key:
In the right pane, you should see two values:
Double-click OEMBackground, change the value to 1 and click OK.
If for some reason you don’t see that OEMBackground key, right click an empty part of the Registry editor and mouse over to New and left click DWORD (32-bit Value). Name the key OEMBackground, double click it and set the value to 1.
Adding the Image
The first rule is that the image has to be less than 256KB and should match your screen resolution so that the image doesn’t look stretched or squished. You can find some decent images by doing a quick Google Images search for windows 7 logon screens gallery or checkout InterfaceLift’s selection.
Once you have background image we need to move it to the folder Windows is expecting to find it.
Open My Computer and click through to this folder:
In the OOBE folder create a new folder and name it info. Then double-click that and create a new folder inside of info named backgrounds.
Open the backgrounds folder and move your background image into this folder. The file name must be:
So make sure you rename accordingly. After you place your little graphic here, lock the screen by pressing the Windows Key + L.
You should immediately see your custom image background now.
If it doesn’t work…
Check these things if you’re seeing problems:
- Are you sure the image is less than 256KBs?
- Also you renamed the image to backgroundDefault.jpg and it lives in C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds right?
And keep in mind if you change your theme it will erase the Registry tweak we made earlier. If you have questions just hit me up in the comments.