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SolutionBase: How to use XP registry edits to customize Windows logon and security dialog title

Add customized warning messages to logon dialog boxes using Win XP registry edits.


If you have Windows XP configured to use the classic logon dialog box, you may want to back up this security system with a set of warning messages that are designed to act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of attempting unauthorized access. While this type of measure doesn’t add any real protection to the system, it might be all that’s needed to prevent an unauthorized user from proceeding.

You’ll do so by adding a series of string values to the Winlogon key in the Windows XP registry. These modifications will add a separate warning dialog box to the logon procedure as well as add warning messages to the existing Log On To Windows, Windows Security, Computer Locked, and Unlock Computer dialog boxes.

Accessing the Winlogon key
To get started, launch the Registry Editor by typing Regedit in the Run dialog box. Then, open the following keys in succession
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  • Software
  • Microsoft
  • Windows NT
  • CurrentVersion
  • Winlogon

Adding the string values
To add a new string value to the Winlogon key, pull down the Edit menu and select the New | String Value command. When you see the New Value appear in the Winlogon key, you can name it using the names described in the next section. Once you name a key, press [Enter] twice—once to activate the new name and once to open the Edit String dialog box (Figure A). You can then add the appropriate warning messages in Value Data text box. Let’s take a closer look:

Figure A
Edit String dialog box


Creating the warning dialog box
Creating the warning dialog box that appears on the screen before the classic logon dialog box is a two-step procedure. To begin, create a string value and name it LegalNoticeCaption. Then, in the Value Data text box, type in the text that you want to appear in the warning dialog box’s title bar. For example, you could type Warning! in the text box (Figure B). Then, click OK.

Figure B
Legal Notice Caption illustration


Next, create another string value and name it LegalNoticeText. In the Value Data text box, type in the actual warning message that you want to appear in the main area of the dialog box (Figure C). For example, you might type, This computer is the property of {Company Name}! Unauthorized access will result in prosecution!

Figure C
Customized warning message


As you type the message, keep in mind that the Value Data text box can hold as many characters as you wish and that the warning dialog box will display multiple lines at 64 characters per line. As such, if you want to create a multiline message, you’ll need to count your characters and use blocks consisting of 64 spaces to separate the lines in your message.

Note
The LegalNoticeCaption and LegalNoticeText values may already appear in the Winlogon key. If they do, you can just double-click on each value and add your text.

Adding a warning message to existing dialog boxes
To add a warning message to the Log On To Windows dialog box, you’ll create a string value called LogonPrompt. In the Value Data text box, type in the text that you want to appear in your warning (Figure D). This text will appear above the User Name text box in the Log On To Windows dialog box.

Figure D
Warning message


To add a warning message to the Windows Security, Computer Locked, and Unlock Computer dialog boxes, you’ll create a string value called Welcome. In the Value Data text box, type in the text that you want to appear in your warning. This text will appear in the title bar right next to the default dialog box title (Figure E). You can make the message more prominent by using leading spaces.

Figure E
Customized warning message

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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