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How to Set a Custom Picture for a Logon Screen Background- Windows 7

Updated on November 18, 2012
Custom Logon Screen
Custom Logon Screen

Sick of your windows 7 logon screen?

For those of us who love to customize everything from cursors to wallpapers, not choosing a custom logon screen might make us a little sad inside. Fortunately for you though, I know how to change it and I'm going to tell you how. The best part is, it isn't third party and you don't have to download anything (unless you get the picture off the internet). So where do we start?

Search for "rededit" in the start menu
Search for "rededit" in the start menu
Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background"
Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background"
Set DWORD value OEMBackground to 1
Set DWORD value OEMBackground to 1

Step one: Enabling the Custom Background Feature

Before you go out looking for that perfect kitten picture for your background, or whatever you wish to make it, you have to actually tell your computer that it's okay to make a new picture as the background. What you want to do is go to your start menu and search for "regedit" and launch it.

That will open your Registry Editor, here you want to navigate to:

Each "\" is a break in the name so first click the HKey_LOCAL_MACHINE then SOFTWARE, then Microsoft, etc until you end up at background. Here you will see a DWORD value named "OEMBackground". If you don't then right click on the right window and create a new DWORD value with that name. Double-click the OEMBackground value and set it to 1.

Now, if you choose a new theme in the Appearance and Personalization window it will reset the value, so you will have to change it again but it shouldn't take too long. Good news for those of you with a Professional Edition of Windows 7, you can change it so you don't have to do that tweak again (see next step's part).

Search and Launch gpedit.msc
Search and Launch gpedit.msc
Navigate to the Logon settings
Navigate to the Logon settings

Step one part 2: Professional Edition only, keeping setting with new themes

This is only for people with a professional edition of windows, if you don't know what you have it should say on the logon screen itself or you can look at your computers specifications by doing to Control Panel then System, or Computer and clicking System Properties. If you have professional and want to change your theme without changing the value in step one open your start menu and search for "gpedit.msc" and launch it.

This is your Group Policy Editor and is set up similar to the first step's setting. Now you want to navigate to:
"Computer Configuration
\Administrative Templates

Same as last time, each "\" is a break in the name. When you get to Logon there should be a setting named "Always use custom logon background", just double-click it and set it to Enabled and you are all set to change the theme as many times as you want to.

Create the info and backgrounds folder if necessary
Create the info and backgrounds folder if necessary
Save your folder to backgroundDefault.jpg
Save your folder to backgroundDefault.jpg

Step Two: Setting an Image

The second and last step in this feature is to set the image to your logon screen. There are some specifications you should keep in mind, it has to be less than 256 kb in size and it should be as close to your monitor's resolution as possible so it doesn't stretch. Set it as your wallpaper if you want to see how it would look, also keep in mind that the center will have your logon information and password input so that part will be covered up. (Unless you moved or changed it somehow.)

Take your picture, or a copy of it, and navigate to:

By default the info and backgrounds folders don't exist. So make them yourself by right clicking, hovering over new, and clicking new folder. Name them the same as above, case-sensitive.

Then once you have that set you should paste or move your photo to the backgrounds folder. Make sure it is named "backgroundDefault.jpg" (jpg may not be needed, I haven't tried it with a png file yet).

No reboot or restart needed, just lock your screen or log out (if you don't have the lock button you can try the windows key and L shortcut, just press both buttons at once). Change as often as you wish, and enjoy your further customized computer.


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