With Windows 8 now officially on the store shelves and a plethora of articles, walkthroughs, and reviews have hit the Internet by storm, I’m going to backtrack just a bit for those of us who haven’t made the leap. There is a TON of things that can be done with Windows 7 to customize it to your liking. Whether it be purely cosmetic or fully functional, your choices are usually only limited by your imagination. Everyone knows how to change your desktop background, overall Windows theme, and even your personalized User picture but do you know how to change your default Windows Login/Welcome screen?? Well after this quick read you will be able to impress your friends with all of your super PC knowledge as they look at a picture of LOLcats staring back at them as you fire up your computer.
How To Change Your Welcome Screen
Let’s crack this nut!
There are two ways to go about changing your Welcome Screen for Windows 7 that will be showcased in this article. Below you will either be able to change it via editing the Registry or via a third party program. I will give the regulatory statement of “back up your registry before tinkering” just in case of an accident when inside. You can Google backup procedures for the registry as there are a bunch out there. That said, the area of the registry you will be in should only affect the background picture of the Welcome screen. Let’s check out where to go:
– 1: Hit the Windows key + “R” and type “regedit” w/o quotes or Click on the Windows Start button and type “regedit”.
– 2: Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then Software, followed by Microsoft, and Windows, also CurrentVersion, then Authenication, and LogonUI, finally Background. (Full Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background)
– 3: Inside the OEMBackground folder should be a file called OEMBackground. If it is not in that location you can add a new DWORD value and name it as such.
– 4: Next, open up the OEMBackground setting via a Right Click and Modify or double clicking and modify the value. By default it is set to 0, change it to 1.
– 5: Again either hit the Windows key + “R” and type “%windir%\system32\oobe” w/o quotes or Click on the Windows Start button, click or type “Run” and then type “%windir%\system32\oobe”
– 6: After the Window opens, make a new folder and name it Info then double click it.
– 7: Once inside, make another folder and call it Backgrounds.
– 8: Double click that newly created folder and once inside you can copy your new background picture. After copying it, you have to rename it to backgroundDefault.jpg so Windows will know which file to use. Unfortunately the picture file must be smaller than 245KB. There is a large variety of free picture editing software out there so pic your favorite and trim down your selected background.
Here is what I went with, my beach picture from Costa Rica:
Registry editing is scary, what other method can I use?
If you are not really looking forward to tweaking the registry manually or using a photo editing software to change the overall size of your soon to be background, I have found a very easy to use program from Tweaks.com called Logon Changer. Out of all of the third party programs I looked at, this was the simplest of the lot. It is a self contained program that doesn’t need to install to your system yet is robust enough to edit your picture to the correct size and shape and does this all without modifying the original picture. Also, if you don’t like the background you added, you can quickly go back to the default Welcome background with the push of one button. To change your background with this, simply click on “Change Logon Screen” and pic your photo and it will do the rest.
We went over a couple of ways to change out your Welcome/Logon Screen background. Whether you are adventurous and don’t mind treading in the registry or would rather have another program do it for you, now you have the knowledge to tackle this relatively simple task. Just think of all of the possibilities you could have for your new background. Everything from pictures of your crazy Spring Break to pics of your dog doing silly things. Give it a shot and see which you like best. Post what you changed yours to below in the comments section!