How to add a legal message to the Windows 10 login

Creating a legal message in Windows 10 Home requires an edit of the Registry file.

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Image: Natali_Mis, Getty Images/iStockphoto

In certain sensitive business situations, reminding users of their legal responsibilities with regard to enterprise information technology and systems can be just as important as other security measures. In Microsoft Windows 10, one of the most effective ways to regularly communicate legal obligations to users is with a login message.

The Windows 10 built-in legal message displays on the PC screen just prior to the request for login credentials. To move on to the login screen, users must acknowledge the message by clicking the OK button. Since everyone is required to log in, everyone will see the message.

To create the message, Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise users can edit the proper settings using the Group Policy Editor. However, Windows 10 Home users will have to resort to editing the Windows Registry file.

This how-to tutorial shows your how to edit the legal message settings of Microsoft Windows 10 by modifying specific keys in the Windows Registry file.

SEE: Choosing your Windows 7 exit strategy: Four options (Tech Pro Research)

Disclaimer:Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

Add legal message to Windows 10 login

To start the editing process, type "regedit" into the Cortana search box on your Windows 10 desktop and click the proper search result to start the Registry Editor application. Navigate to this specific key:

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

You should see a screen that looks something like Figure A.

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Figure A

In the right-hand window, find these two listiings: legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext

The value of legalnoticecaption acts as the heading of your message. Double-click legalnoticecaption and change its value to whatever text suits you, as shown in Figure B.

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Figure B

Double-click legalnoticetext and change its value to whatever text suits you, as shown in Figure C.

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Figure C

The text you insert into the legalnoticetext key can be formatted into paragraphs, but it requires hexadecimal editing and is not recommended. However, if it is vitally important, enter the complete text first and then right-click the legalnoticetext key and select Modify binary data. You will see a screen similar to Figure D. Find the appropriate spot for a paragraph break and enter this four-digit code for a carriage return, 0D00.

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Figure D

When your changes are complete, click File and then Exit to close the Registry Editor and save your work. The next time a user logs into your Windows 10 PC they will have to acknowledge the legal message by clicking the OK button before moving to the normal log-in screen.

It is important to understand, that the legal message will appear each and every time the computer is booted. At some point, you may wish to cancel the legal message. In that case, just remove the text from the legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext keys to cancel the message and resume the typical log in sequence.

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