Windows 8 – Customizing the Default Lock Screen

Have you tried to change the default wallpaper on the Windows 8 lock screen? Now I live in Seattle and quite like the stylized picture of Seattle but in an enterprise environment you may want a more “corporate” image.

Until now you have not been able to do this without using an unsupported method of “hacking” file permissions and replacing the default wallpaper file.

Well this has now changed , the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 cumulative update: November 2012  allows us to customize the start screen.

There is a new Group Policy that allows you to “Force a specific default lock screen image”. For all the details on using this group policy setting please refer to the following TechNet article -

This post was contributed by Ben Hunter, a Solution Architect with Microsoft Consulting Services.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.

Comments (16)

  1. Ben Hunter says:

    Hi Joe,

    The Windows 7 OEMBackground setting will not work in Windows 8. In the above thread I was talking about windows Server 2008.

    Windows 8 should auto size the images that you are using for the background, so a single high res image should work for all resolutions.



  2. Ben Hunter says:

    Hi Jon,

    This won't work for windows 2008 R2 however here is what I do. I update the registry with to point at my custom wallpaper, here is a sample VB script that I use with MDT to perform this task:

    oLogging.CreateEntry "Attempting to locate the Info folder for the Logon UI Wallpaper",LogTypeInfo

    If Not oFSO.FolderExists(oEnvironment.Substitute("%WINDIR%SYSTEM32oobeinfo")) Then

    newFolder = oFSO.CreateFolder(oEnvironment.Substitute("%WINDIR%SYSTEM32oobeinfo"))

    oLogging.CreateEntry "Created the Info folder required for Logon UI Wallpaper",LogTypeInfo

    If Not oFSO.FolderExists(oEnvironment.Substitute("%WINDIR%SYSTEM32oobeinfoBackgrounds")) Then

    newFolder = oFSO.CreateFolder(oEnvironment.Substitute("%WINDIR%SYSTEM32oobeinfoBackgrounds"))

    oLogging.CreateEntry "Created the InfoBackgrounds folder required for Logon UI Wallpaper",LogTypeInfo

    end if

    end if

    oFSO.CopyFile oUtility.Scriptdir & "LoginUIBackgrounds*.*", oEnvironment.Substitute("%WINDIR%SYSTEM32oobeinfoBackgrounds"), True

    oLogging.CreateEntry "Copied the Logon Wallpaper files to the local machine – now setting the registry keys",LogTypeInfo

    oShell.Run "reg add ""HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionAuthenticationLogonUIBackground"" /v OEMBackground /t REG_DWORD /d 1",0,TRUE



  3. Anonymous says:

    We have 4 domain controllers. 3 are 2008 R2, 1 is 2012. on the server 2012 DC I have run the 2779017 update but still cannot see the Force Specific default Lock screen image GPO. Am using the server 2012 GPMC. Any Ideas?

  4. Ben Hunter says:

    Hi Tomi,

    Is the machine domain joined?



  5. Ben Hunter says:

    Hi Ed,

    This is a cumulative update for patches released in the month of December only, not December and November.



  6. Ben Hunter says:

    Hi Alex,

    You can change the user picture and user lock screen in the personalize screen in PC settings. The start screen picture can also be changed here however you must used one of the built in backgrounds.


  7. Sandy Wood says:

    This is a great first (small) step. Figuring out how to customize the pre-login screen is my holy grail!…/82e7ae0f-1b6e-4d04-ae05-8278911af3e2

  8. Ed says:

    Fast question. Is the December 2012 cumulative update include the November 2012 CU? If so, why doesn't the DEcember CU KB mention it?

  9. Tomi says:


    i installed that update on my ultimate version of win8 and its not working!

    please help me!

    i am going to hate that image

  10. Jon says:

    Is there any way to change this pre-login screen if you have Server 2008 R2?  The cumulative update is only for Server 2012.

  11. Joe Worrall says:

    Ben – are you suggesting above that the WIndows 7 OEMBackground = 1 setting works in Windows 8? We have not been able to get it working if that is the case. The problem with Microsoft's new Windows 8 group policy "Force a specific default lock screen image" is that we can only specify a SINGLE image – but all our client workstations have different resolutions so this can't work as well as the old oobeinfoBackgrounds folder. Comments?

  12. alex says:


    I can't change my user picture,lock screen picture or start screen picture..they seems hidden in PC me..I dont know what to do..Im a beginer in win 8

  13. Anon says:


    I used the photo app to change the lock screen. If you right-click on the image and click on "Set as", it allows you to set the lock screen..

  14. Matt Ford says:

    Anon 21 Mar 2013 11:05 AM


    I used the photo app to change the lock screen. If you right-click on the image and click on "Set as", it allows you to set the lock screen.."

    I don't think you get what he is saying. There is your user lock screen and a default one that comes up when you aren't logged   in, it happens often. The photo app changes your user's lock screen.

  15. b33lz says:

    I've logged in as a normal user and also enabled and tried Local Administrator – in both instances I set the lock screen image via Personalization settings – however when I power on and first presented with the lock screen – before choosing a user to login with – it continues to display the coloured ring image, which appears to be located in C:WindowsWebScreenimg001.png   I cannot get it to default to img003.png     … I'd rather not force it to remain as default as end-user may wish to change at later date.   Thinking my only solution is to replace the img001.png image with desired image. This way the user can change it at a later date and not need us to disabled the “Force a specific default lock screen image” GP.

  16. matlou says:

    Defaults to screen lock

Skip to main content