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Windows 7 - How to Change the Login Screen

As with previous editions of Windows, there is no standard way included in the operating system to change the login screen. Unlike changing the desktop background or your interface theme, changing the login screen background can seem a little complicated since there is no obvious way to do it. Fortunately it can, in reality, be done in just a few minutes provided you follow these simple steps.

1 – Create a Customized Login Screen Background
You`ll first need to create your desired login screen background. You can also use a photo or other image of your choice. The only requirements are that the photo is in the .JPG format and the file size is less than 256 KB. You should ideally use an image which matches the resolution of your monitor or, at least, the aspect ratio of your display. If you use an image with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (such as those taken by most digital cameras) on a widescreen, it will appear stretched and distorted.

2 – Rename and Move the Image
Once you are satisfied with the image, rename it to "backgrounddefault" and move it to "C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds." You may need to overwrite an existing file. If you want, back up the original file first.

This folder contains the OEM login screen background for your computer. OEM stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer." This is the company that built your computer. Many OEMs provide a custom login screen rather than use the Windows default background which will be present on any installation of Windows which you have done for yourself.

3 – Change Registry Settings
Press the "Windows Key" and "R" on your keyboard to bring up the "Run" window. Type in "regedit" and press enter. The system registry will appear. This may look intimidating, but all you need to do is navigate to the following directory: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background."

Double-click on the "OEMBackground" value. In the "Value data" box, type in "1." Your computer will now use your custom image for the windows login background. Note that the value will already be set to "1" if the current login screen is already anything other than the Windows default (a sky-blue background). Changing the value to "0" will always cause the system to display the default background.

When you`re done, click "OK" and close the Registry Editor. To see your new login screen, press the "Windows Key" and "L" on your keyboard. You won't be logged out – this will simply lock your computer and return you to the login screen where you'll have to enter your password again (if you have one) to get back into the system. Your new login screen background should be displayed.


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