Is there somewhere within Windows 7 where I can change the lame background image for the login screen?

I know there are a bunch of hacks/utilities/Regedit changes and stuff like that to change it the 'hacker-way', but does Windows 7 not have a built-in way to change this? Or even make it look like the standard windows XP login (ie: user/pass/domain)?

  • While I agree that it should be baked in ... What's up with the hacking-hate? – Adrien Jul 20 '11 at 19:10

Reading through the search results, they actually do let you without any hacking, but it's still a bit hackerish. From this site:

Use the following Group Policy setting in Windows 7

  1. Start the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)
  2. Go to the following branch:
    Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | System | Logon
  3. Set the following option to Enabled
    Always use custom logon background

The next step, it says, is to copy your background into C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds\ as backgroundDefault.jpg.


The built-in way is not exposed to users via any nice interface, but it's simple enough to do it yourself -- I wouldn't describe it as a "hacker-way".

If you want the user/pass/domain style, you can get that by enabling the group policy setting for "do not show last username". If you have Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate or Enterprise, you can change it by opening gpedit.msc from the Run box, and navigating to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options, and finding "Interactive logon: do not display last user name". If you have Windows 7 Home, you will have to change it in the registry by going to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System and changing the value from 0 to 1.


As far as I can tell there are supposedly "official ways" to change it, but they still require a registry file to be run. There are also miscellaneous programs, hacks, etc. to do it, but here's a little guide they claim is the "official way" to change it:

  1. Download the registry file from here. Extract the file and double-click on the file to enable this feature (Alternative method: right-click, select Merge).

  2. Now, head over to the following folder:

    C:\Windows\System32\oobe (“C” is your Windows 7 Installation drive)

  3. Here, create a new folder named Info.  Again, create a new folder inside the Info folder and rename it as backgrounds.

  4. Copy your favorite image file to this folder and rename it as backgroundDefault.jpg.  Note that the image must be in JPEG format and the size should be less than 256 KB.

  5. You are done. Reboot your system and see the change.
    “oobe” stands for “out-of-the-box experience” .
    The file name may also be of the form backgroundDefaultDIMENSIONS.jpg; e.g., background960×1280.jpg or background1024×1280.jpg.  The system will look first for the file whose name corresponds to the dimensions of the display; if it doesn't find that, it falls back to the generic backgroundDefault.jpg file.  This is mostly useful if you are preparing a distribution that will be installed on multiple platforms (or a live CD or bootable flash drive that will be used on multiple platforms), or if you frequently change monitors, or the resolution on your display.


It is a shame that it isn't a baked in feature of Windows 7.

I use the Tweaks.com Logon Changer from CNet's download.com. I like it because it will automatically resize any picture to work for your machine.

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