How to configure your Windows logon background in Windows 7

Windows 7 has really taken steps further to enable the user to personalize the experience. One thing that can be changed if you look a little bit closer and is a little bit geeky is the logon screen wallpaper.

  • 23 May 2010
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Windows 7 has really taken steps further to enable the user to personalize the experience. One thing that I really wanted to do, kind of geeky but still, was to configure my logon background. Since I have configured my computer to log out after only two minutes, this screen is something that I will see rather often.

So I want to do this:

Therefore I started the search for how to configure this. I found this excellent blog post, which has a really informative video on how to do it, but I though I’d write down the short version too.

First step: Enable customization of logon background

The first step is to make some changes in the Registry. There is namely a loophole that Microsoft has left open for OEM’s to configure customized logon backgrounds.

  1. Open RegEdit, by typing regedit in the run window.
  2. Here it could be a good point to make a Backup of the Registry!
  3. Start a search, by pressing Ctrl + F:
    1. Make sure you select only Values 
    2. Type: OEMBackground

You should now have a window infront of you that looks like this:

Search for OEMBackground in the Registry

Once you get the result, which could take some time. You should see this view, which is under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/MICROSOFT/:

Structure of the Registry

If you don’t get a result, just create this key, as you see above: OEMBackground as a DWORD 32-bit in the Background section.

Finally to be able to define a new background you need to set this parameter to One (1 - true).

Result after changing the OEM settings in the Registry

Now you are done with enabling setting a customized background, now you need to create the background.

Step 2: Creating the background in the right folder

The folder for the original background image is (on my machine, change to you system folder and look for oobe): c:\Windows\System32\Oobe\

The original image is the background.bmp, which will be used as a fallback image. To get your own image, you have to follow these steps:

  1. Create a first new folder: c:\windows\system32\oobe\info
  2. then another one: c:\windows\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds
  3. In this folder (backgrounds) you create your image
    1. Not bigger than: 256K
    2. Has to be: jpg
    3. Has to be named: backgroundDefault.jpg
    4. Resolutions as you want, preferrably as your current screen resolution.

There could be a warning message, but then just click “Continue” when you want to copy your newly created image here.

Now you are good to go, restart your computer and you will have a beautiful new logon background.

Step 3: Change shading on button text

If you want to take it one step further you can also change your text shading if it looks strange on your background.

Go back to the regedit and open this location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI

Here you should have a DWORD value called, ButtonSet, if not create it.

You can set this to three different values:

0 -- Light shadow

1 -- Dark shadow

2 -- No shadow

Hope this made your logon screen look a  little bit more sazzy and thanks again to TR Dojo that led me on the right path.