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Way back before SP2, the guy who got me started down the IT support road showed me where the image was for the Windows XP Ctrl-Alt-Delete login box.

By replacing this image with a different image, we could make the entire login screen look how we wanted, rather than simple modifying the background behind the dialog.

However, we've both forgotten where this image is.

To be clear: We're not looking for an image on the dialog where we actually enter the login credentials. Nor are we looking for where you specify the corporate boilerplate message that occur immediately before where you enter your credentials. I want to know where the image is that is in the dialog which instructs you to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to commence the login process.

Anybody know where this is?

Bonus points if you can point out where the locked computer dialog image is too.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I originally thought you wanted the background too, and gave the same answer as the others, but I think this is what you want.

First, the bitmaps are actually contained within a dll, but the part you are concerned with is not one bitmap image. The whole box is composed of a bitmap image on top, a little bitmap to the left, and text strings all contained in this dll.


I followed this document, and downloaded "Resource Hacker" (linked on the page) to edit the dll.


The exact bitmap depends on the version, and frankly, I am not which one it is. Note that the bitmap only covers the top half of the login box. The rest is still contained within the msgina.dll, and can also edited using Resource Hacker. If you are using XP Pro, the image you probably want is in Bitmap>101 or 107.

You can use use Resource Hacker to copy out the bitmap, and to bring it back in.

The string text is contained in String Table>114.

I did not check in detail, but this also covers your bonus question too, I believe.

enter image description here

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You're amazing. That's exactly what I was looking for. While this may not have direct application in a standard office environment, it is brilliant for simple pranks, or for using clever wallpaper changes to indicate system state. Thank you again. I'll +1 any comments you post on this question for the bonus. – music2myear Jul 27 '11 at 22:36
First, thank you for the nice comment. As soon as I slowed down long enough to really understand the question, I actually knew it was in that dll. The real trick for me was searching to find a way to edit it. It was interesting to see how that dll looks inside. – KCotreau Jul 27 '11 at 23:12
I have to repeat the "back up GINA!" statement. If you read the Win7customize forums, you'll be amazed how many people bork their systems unintentionally with no backups of the original files and no startup disk. – surfasb Jul 27 '11 at 23:52
@surfasb: I've worked with custom bootloaders and shell replacements (I love litestep) for several years and can echo your warnings. – music2myear Jul 28 '11 at 2:08
@music2myear(s): Ah nm, I didn't even see that you were OP. Psh, nothing to worry about. – surfasb Jul 28 '11 at 2:49

It appears to be in HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP in the registry. You can also use HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP\TILEWALLPAPER to set tiling on (set it to 1).

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Please see the second paragraph of the question. This is not what I'm looking for. – music2myear Jul 27 '11 at 22:34

To put your favorite image or picture in the background of the logon screen :

  1. Click the Start button and select "Run"
  2. In the "open" field, type regedit and click ok
  3. In the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP and double-click the string "wallpaper"
  4. Enter the full path and filename of the .bmp image that you want to use as background (the image must be in .bmp format)
  5. Click "ok" and close the registry editor

Reference: Customize Windows XP Logon Screen.

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Please see the second paragraph of the question. This is not what I'm looking for. – music2myear Jul 27 '11 at 22:34

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