Several years ago, I wrote an article on TechRepublic called "Adding messages to Windows 7's logon screen" that showed you how, with a few simple registry tweaks, you can customize the Windows 7 logon procedure to include a legal notice or warning message to users when they log in to a Windows system.
Fortunately, you can still create the same type of legal notice to Windows 8.x's logon screen with a simple registry edit, just like you did in Windows 7. In fact, after you implement this technique in Windows 8.x and then restart your system, you'll see the warning message (Figure A) on a new screen that appears before the standard Lock screen. Just click OK, and you'll be able to continue with the logon operation as you normally would.
The old tried-and-true technique still works in Windows 8.x.
While this technique still works fine, there are a couple of other ways to implement a legal notice system in Windows 8.x that you may want to know about — especially if you find yourself in a situation where having a legal notice or other type of warning message is needed. The first technique that I'll show you will work in both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but the second technique takes advantage of a new feature in Windows 8.1 that lends itself quite nicely to displaying a legal notice. Let's take a closer look.
Using the Lock screen
In both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, you can easily add a custom background image to the Lock screen. Since the Lock screen is the first thing that you see when you start, lock, or log off Windows 8.x, it is the perfect place to display your legal notice. As such, this first alternative technique involves creating your legal notice, saving it as an image file, and then setting that image as the background for the Lock screen.
You can use any graphics application you wish to create your legal notice image. I created my legal notice example in PowerPoint and then save it as a PNG image file. This works great, because PowerPoint has all of the text editing and graphics features that you need. To make things easy, I created a folder in the Pictures library called LegalNotice and saved my image there.
Once you have a legal notice image, you can easily set it as the background for the Lock screen. To begin, press [Windows] + [I] to access the Settings bar, and then click Change PC settings. (Keep in mind that while I'll be showing screenshots from Windows 8.1, the procedure looks almost identical in Windows 8.)
When you see the PC settings screen (Figure B), select the PC and devices option from the menu to access the Lock screen page. From the Lock screen page, click the Browse button, which you'll find right below the Lock screen preview thumbnail images.
Select the PC and devices option from the menu on the PC settings screen.
Now, navigate to the folder containing your legal notice image file and select it (Figure C). Then click the Choose Image button.
Select your legal notice image and click the Choose Image button.
When you return to the Lock screen page, you'll see your legal notice image in the main Lock screen preview (Figure D).
You can see a preview of your new legal notice Lock screen.
Now, whenever you start, lock, or log off your system, you'll see the legal notice displayed in a very prominent position.
Using the Lock screen slide show feature
In Windows 8.1, there's a new feature on the Lock screen page that allows you to configure a slide show that will display when you lock or log off your computer. (Unfortunately, the Lock screen slide show feature doesn't work when you first boot your system.) To take advantage of this feature, you'll want to have several legal notice images in your folder. For example, you might break your legal notice into sections and put each section on a different image. You could also include an image of your company logo.
Once you've created your legal notice images, you're ready to get started. To begin, access the Lock screen page as I described earlier. When you get to the Lock screen page, locate the slider under the title Play slide show on the lock screen, and turn it on. When you do, you'll see a set of controls that allow you to select the folder of images that you want to use for your slide show and configure how the slide show will work.
I removed the Pictures folder from the Use picture from section and then used the Add a folder command (Figure E) to set up the LegalNotice folder as the sole location.
The Lock screen slide show feature works nicely as a tool to display a legal notice.
You'll see that I set the next three slider controls to Off, because I'm not using the Camera Roll folders as a source for images, I created my legal notice images at the same dimensions as my screen settings, and I don't need to worry about battery power of my desktop systems in my lab. Finally, I turned on the inactive setting so that the Lock screen appears instead of turning off my monitor, and I didn't specify a time period for the slide show to run.
Now, whenever you lock or log off your system, you'll see the legal notice displayed as a slide show.
Screen saver gotcha
Before I conclude, I want to refer back to the last two settings on the Lock screen page that I mentioned and point out that I encountered problems with the Lock screen slide show feature when I had a Screen saver enabled. I discovered that the Lock screen slide show feature and Windows' built-in Screen saver would butt heads so hard that both would be disabled. No kidding, the Play slide show on the Lock screen would be set to Off and the Screen saver would be set to None.
As such, when using the Lock screen slide show feature, I recommend that you set the Screen saver to None and clear the On resume, display logon screen check box.
What's your take?
Do you have a need to use a legal notice on your Windows 8.x systems? If so, do you think that you'll use these techniques? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.
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.