Quick Tip: Create a logon message in Windows 7

In certain situations you will want to convey information to users before they log on to a system. Here is how you create that message.

In certain situations a network administrator will want to convey important information to users before they log on to a Windows system. For example, you may want to stress and reinforce your corporate Internet-use policy to your users during the logon process. Whatever the reason, all you need to create your message is a small tweak of the Windows Registry file.

The Windows Vista version of this tip was published on TechRepublic in April 2009.

Registry Edit

Standard disclaimer: The Windows Registry File is vitally important to the proper operation of the Windows operating system. Please back up the file before you make any registry edits. In Windows 7, click on the Start button and type regedit in the search box. Click on the regedit.exe file in the list of items and answer the UAC prompt. Once in the registry editor (Figure A), navigate to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Policies\System

Figure A

Open regedit.exe and navigate to this key.
Find the legalnoticecaption key in the right-hand pane and double-click it. Enter a heading for your message in the Value Data field, as shown in Figure B, and then click OK.

Figure B

Enter a heading.
To enter the actual message, double-click the legalnoticetext key in the right-hand pane and enter your message, as shown in Figure C; when you are done, click OK.

Figure C

Enter your message.
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A couple of caveats: the message has to be text-only and there is a character limit, and in order for this tweak to take effect, you will have to reboot your PC.

When you are happy with your message, close regedit and reboot -- you should see your message displayed before you get to the official Windows logon screen.

If you decide you don't want the message anymore, just delete the Value Data field for each of the keys.

So, what does your message say -- something more beneficial than my example I'd bet.