Windows

Video: Change the Windows 7 logon screen wallpaper

Bill Detwiler shows you a quick and easy registry hack that lets you change the logon screen wallpaper in Windows 7.

Nearly everyone who works on a computer likes to customize his or her experience. Whether it's about productivity or merely cosmetic, we like to change things to suit our work habits and tastes. During this episode of TR Dojo, I'll show you a quick and easy registry hack that lets you change the logon screen wallpaper in Windows 7.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Greg Shultz's article, "Change and customize Windows 7's Logon screen wallpaper," on which this video is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

38 comments
edurrant
edurrant

You have to do a registry hack to change wallpaper! You have to be kidding! Oh no this is windows, of course you're not kidding.... Best desktop presentation - is still the Workplace shell on the Object based OS/2 operating system - the newest version of which, eComStation 2.0 is to be released on the 14th. of May. Checkout www.ecomstation.com and see what you're missing with windows, mac and linux!

KevinDrew
KevinDrew

I discovered this before seeing this video and then went and found out how to do it with Windows XP as well. I love it! It's a great way of "branding" systems you sell. I picked a real nice picture with my company logo, url and main phone number in the bottom left corner.

mikeoconecs
mikeoconecs

Can't beat OS/2's [now with a new face as eComStation] fully-object-based System Object Model(SOM) - just drag'n'drop ANY graphic to set desktop or any other folder's wallpaper/fonts/colors (even sounds with 3rd party app.) Mike

silvercat62
silvercat62

Will this work on Windows 64 bit? I have an HP G61 64 bit Windows 7.

bbryant3
bbryant3

It would be nice to receive TRDOJO tweaks relevant to both 32bit and 64bit hacks... Unless there is no difference in registry setting for each architecture. This should also be acknowledged.

robin.iraca
robin.iraca

It's a simple group policy setting, which also can be used on a domain if wanted. Just open gpedit.msc (or gpmc.msc for domains) and go to computer configuration-->Administrative Templates-->System-->Logon. Set the item "Always use custom logon background" to enabled and voila... now all you need is to place the custom background on the cliend (With the group policy client side extensions (default in windows 7/2008 R2) that's a piece of cake..

sura.jan
sura.jan

For me complete Classical (2000) Windows view in W7 is missing. Very sorry! For me the monitor is a console and not a pictures exhibition. I want to see everything on the screen clearly, without any graphical circus. I want to have normal Start Menu where i can operate from keyboard and don't need to search all the time where is the mouse cursor and where is the window I want to open. I want to have my computer running my jobs and not stupid annoyances!

qrius
qrius

would this work with 64 bit version?

dryflies
dryflies

If you want to tailor your GUI to what you want exactly, Linux is best. if you just want it to run, OS/X is probably the best. Windows is a bit between the two. I have to use all three, and I find that windows is easiest to use because I use it so much more than the others.

DtmJedi
DtmJedi

When you only change the registry entry mentioned, the logon background will change back as soon as the user selects another Theme. To make it stick you need to set a Policy as follows: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System] "UseOEMBackground"=dword:00000001 We are using this to always display the Legal Notice on the login screen so we don't want it to change back to default.

ericsodc
ericsodc

Unless you are a pundit or reviewer, you're going to like whatever you're most familiar with...

fonzireyes
fonzireyes

There is a free application called LogonStudio that makes all this much simpler.

cheltel
cheltel

Doesn't work. Already had info and background folders. Chose image, renamed it backGroundDefault.jpg copied it to backgrounds folder (no confirm box appears), then what?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the above TR Dojo post, I show you a quick and easy registry hack that let's you change the logon screen wallpaper in Windows 7. But, I'm curious to know which operating system has the best user interface. Take the poll and in the post above, and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1697

glostah
glostah

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Thanks for the extra tip. Changing the theme does indeed reset the KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background OEMBackground value back to 0.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

It alters the Kernel to do what it does. This poses a few problems with other software occassionally.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Make sure that the file is smaller the 256K. I had trouble with a file that Explorer reported as 256K (262,883 bytes). To be safe, I file I used in the video was 203KB (208,894 bytes).

trevor217
trevor217

You need to have: 1: OEMBackground DWORD value set to 1 correctly 2: backgroundDefault.jpg in the correct location 3: backgroundDefault.jpg must be under 256kb on at least one of the computers i have done this procedure on if i got 2 or 3 wrong it reset the value of OEMBackground to 0 and i had to go back and fix that

jsmall26
jsmall26

I thought he said backgroundDefault.jpg (I dont know if case matters but it's worth a shot).

kevin2407
kevin2407

I tried this step by step but when you label the pic backgroundDefault.jpg it dosen't work at least on my system. If it dosen't work for you just name it backgrounddefault. (no .jpg)

jonnotjohn
jonnotjohn

I use XP and Linux at work, and to me, they are very similar. True, Linux is more customizable, but I don't think that necessarily makes it better or easier to use. At home I use OSX, a couple different Linux distros, and have been using Windows 7 for a few months now. I think they are all quite good, but OSX is the most intuitive to me. Win7 has really grown on me as I've gained familiarity with it, though...

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

OUT OF THE BOX, OS/X is the prettiest, and easiest to use WINDOWS is the most familiar to most KDE/GNOME have more advanced features DOS is the most reliable Though there are other GNU/Linux window managers, KDE and GNOME are the most popular. Others allow for as much customization as one can imagine. Personally, I prefer a command line, so that I can SEE what's going on. Don't hide behind the cutsey curtain, just show me the whole ugly mess of what you are doing.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

In terms of ease of use and intuitiveness, I choose Windows. I own both Mac and Windows machines and to me, Windows post-Win95 is far easier than Mac. As for the greatest file manipulation though, (given one has the knowledge to implement it) it is hard to beat the *Nix command line. Windows has made some serious progress to catching up there too though. Now how much does my preference have to do with the machine I use most? I would say the answer to that would be, "everything". Were I in the Graphics industry for all these years, I have no doubt I would feel a preference for OSX. Having used both since the early 90's I certainly do understand the "also ran" mentality regarding Windows.

thetzel
thetzel

As far as users are concerned Mac OS has always been a better experience. I have used both for over twenty years and Windows has always been the "me too" OS but has not quite been as good. I would say this because of ease of use and reliability.

siangperng
siangperng

Best looking user interface? Best user interface design for user friendliness? That would be very relative to the user. If you mean best user interface in terms of potential and hackable (as the video suggests). The winner is clearly Linux - it can look, feel and work anyway you want it to.

dgibso99
dgibso99

running Win 7 Enterprise 64-bit. made the directed changes and then ran the file size down to 255KB. logged off and no change so i reboted and still no change. verified the changes were still there. bummer.

soctuvan
soctuvan

The only limitations are in imagination.

kwolf
kwolf

I agree, Linux is the most customizable UI I have seen. At least with KDE 4.x anyway. You can change just about every aspect of the user interface, fonts, window frames, themes, buttons, on and on. All can be changed via the user interface. I liked the statements in the video about how "easy Microsoft makes it to change...". Just a few simple registry tweaks, create a couple of folders, image must be a certain format and size and color depth..... Yep, pretty easy alright!

wanharris
wanharris

I would feel Apple Mac OS has the best User Interface

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I suggest you try a smaller file. The one I used in the video was 203KB (reported by Windows Explorer).

glostah
glostah

I even tried changing the folder from C:\Windows\System32\oobe to C:\Windows\SysWOW64\oobe. Then I checked the file size and noticed it was exactly 256k. I edited in Fireworks to make it 227k and moved everything back to C:\Windows\System32\oobe, and it works fine!

kwolf
kwolf

With KDE and I would assume GNOME as well, it is very easy to access the desktop configuration settings. Click the menu button and you will find Configure Your Desktop link which will open up access to just about any configuration you would want. With some of the other desktop managers like Fluxbox, ICEWM (the really lightweight desktops) customization is generally handled via script files. Agreed, not as easy.

raym444
raym444

...limited only by the imagination AND the skill set of the user. Unless you're a master programmer or at the VERY least a PC super user, you won't be customizing anything.