Setting a Custom Logon Background for Windows 8 or 10
Windows 8 and Windows 10 make this process a lot easier — all you have to do is open up the PC Settings and go to Personalization and then Lock Screen. For Windows 8, you’ll need to open up Settings from the Start Screen or from the Charms. For Windows 10, you’ll need to open it from the Start Menu.
The screens look slightly different in Windows 8 than they do in Windows 10, but it’s the same exact thing.
Enabling Custom Backgrounds in Windows 7
For Windows 7, this setting is intended for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to customize their systems, but there’s nothing stopping you from using it yourself. All you have to do is change a single registry value and put an image file in the correct location.
This feature is disabled by default, so you’ll have to enable it from the Registry Editor. You can also use the Group Policy Editor if you have a Professional version of Windows – scroll down a bit for the Group Policy Editor method.
Launch the Registry Editor by typing regedit into the search box in the Start menu and pressing Enter.
In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
You’ll see an DWORD value named OEMBackground. If you don’t see it, right-click in the right pane, point to the New submenu and create a new DWORD value with this name.
Double-click the OEMBackground value and set its value to 1.
Note that selecting a new theme in the Appearance and Personalization window will “unset” this registry value. Selecting a theme will change the value of the key to the value stored in the theme’s .ini file, which is probably 0 – if you change your theme, you’ll have to perform this registry tweak again.
Changing the setting in group policy will allow it to persist even when you change your theme, but the Group Policy Editor is only available in Professional editions of Windows.
If you have access to the Group Policy Editor, launch gpedit.msc from the Start menu.
Navigate to the following section in the Group Policy Editor window:
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon
You’ll find a setting named “Always use custom login background.” Double-click it and set it to Enabled.
Setting An Image
Your image file must be less than 256 KB in size. It’s also a good idea to use an image file that matches the resolution of your monitor, so it won’t look stretched.
Windows looks for the custom logon screen background image in the following directory:
By default, the info and backgrounds folders don’t exist. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32\oobe folder and create them yourself by right-clicking inside the folder, pointing to New, and selecting New Folder.
Copy your desired background image to the backgrounds folder and name it backgroundDefault.jpg.
(I can see the inevitable question coming in the comments, so if you like this wallpaper image, you can get it here.)
The change will take effect immediately – no system reboot required. The first time you log out or lock your screen (try the WinKey-L keyboard shortcut), you’ll see your new background.
Third-Party Tools (for Windows 7 Users)
You don’t have to do this by hand. There are a variety of third-party tools that automate this process for you, like Windows Logon Background Changer, which we’ve covered in the past. Windows Logon Background Changer and other utilities just change this registry value and put the image file in the correct location for you.
How to Customize Login Screen Background Image in Windows 7?
Did you know Windows 7 comes with a built-in Registry tweak which allows you to easily customize or change the background image of Windows login screen (aka Welcome Screen)? Yes, using this secret feature you can set any of your favorite wallpaper as Windows 7 login screen background without using any 3rd party software.
Want to know how to do that? Just follow these simple steps:
1. Type regedit in RUN or Start Menu search box and press Enter. It’ll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
3. Now in right-side pane, change value of OEMBackground to 1
PS: You can use following ready-made registry script to enable custom login backgrounds, no need to manually apply the tweak using 1-3 steps:
NOTE: If you don’t want to use the above mentioned Registry tweak, you can edit your current theme file present in “%windir%\Resources\Themes\” folder using Notepad and set the entrySetLogonBackground to 1 in [Theme] section. If you are using default Aero theme, you’ll need to edit aero.theme file in Notepad. Thanks to our reader “Charleston2378” for reminding us about this method…
4. Now go to following folder:
Here %windir% represents “Windows” folder present in the system drive where Windows 7 is installed.
5. Create a new folder “info” inside oobe folder. Then again create a new folder “backgrounds” inside info folder. So the final path would be:
6. Now copy any desired wallpaper to this new “backgrounds” folder but following conditions must be followed:
- The image name must be backgroundDefault
- The image format must be JPG
- The image size must be less than 256 KB
7. That’s it. Once you copy the wallpaper to “backgrounds” folder, your Windows 7 login screen will start using this new wallpaper as background. You can check the new login screen background by logging off or locking Windows.
PS: You can also use custom sized images based upon your screen resolution with the following names:
- background768x1280.jpg (0.6)
- background900x1440.jpg (0.625)
- background960x1280.jpg (0.75)
- background1024x1280.jpg (0.8)
- background1280x1024.jpg (1.25)
- background1024x768.jpg (1.33-)
- background1280x960.jpg (1.33-)
- background1600x1200.jpg (1.33-)
- background1440x900.jpg (1.6)
- background1920x1200.jpg (1.6)
- background1280x768.jpg (1.66-)
- background1360x768.jpg (1.770833-)
NOTE: The backgroundDefault.jpg image is loaded and stretched-to-fit when a resolution/ratio-specific background cannot be found. If the background cannot be loaded (e.g. image physically too large, incorrect ratio, etc.), the default image is loaded from imagesres.dllfile.