Customizing the Windows 7 logon screen: no additional tools required

A few of people have noticed that I’m running Windows 7 with a customized logon screen, and a couple of them asked me if I used “logon studio” which (as I understand it) rummages round inside some of the image resources buried in DLL files.

In Windows 7 we have provided a registry key for OEMS to turn on custom backgrounds it’s under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background and the name is OEMBackground, you can add it if it isn’t there – it’s a DWORD 1 indicates use the custom backgrounds and 0 means don’t. Beware, if you change Windows themes this gets reset – which implies the theme covers the background as well.

Once the option is enabled you need to create files in the   %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds folder, the names are BackgroundHeightxWidth.JPG and BackgroundDefault.jpg so for this laptop I have a default and Background1920x1400.You can use this make your corporate Machine all more corporate or your personal machine that bit more personal.  According the Windows 7 center  where (I think) I first saw the tip the file size need to be under 256KB. If you want to customize the original background you find it’s named background.bmp in the OOBE folder (oobe for those who don’t know is Out Of Box Experience in Microsoft speak).

Comments (12)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tip!!! No more feminine olive branch and dove!!

  2. James ONeill says:


    You may be the person who put this in the public domain, but the site where I saw it doesn’t acknowledge you. I bookmarked the page I credited and decided I would post about it when RC was available. There’s nothing on that page or in the comments to tell me the credit is due somewhere else.

    You see there is a gap between saying "the person you credit with this got it from X who deserves the credit." which is reasonable and what Paul posted.

    Just for clarification: I doubt if you reverse engineered it from the code but that is explicitly forbidden in the EULA. Or was it information you got from Microsoft (NDA’d or not) in which case why are you laying claim to it ?

  3. James ONeill says:

    Rafael, they only gave your first name and didn’t link to your post, so you’re mention but that’s not an acknowledgment.  Given a I link I would have gone to the source.

    Every document I could find about this inside Microsoft is flagged as confidential, so I just wanted to be able to tell the legal people dealing with Paul if you had the information under NDA and breached it as with … I’m sure you can think of an example… or if you had reverse engineered it in breach of the Eula.

    Thanks for clarifying.

  4. James ONeill says:

    Paul, I’ll allow you one chance to withdraw your accusation of theft.  After that I’ll pass this on to Microsoft LCA

    I’m confident I did not see it on Rafael’s site, and I credited the site where I thought I did see it. Why would I mis-attribute credit ? A quick check on live search found OEMSetup on 568 pages. WithinWindows wasn’t on the first page.  How on earth can you assert that anyone who knows about this got it from Rafael.

  5. Blake Handler says:

    French TechNet Blogger, David Cohen, wrote "Change Login Screen PowerToy" that changes the Windows 7 Login Screen.

    Blake Handler – Microsoft MVP

    "The Road to Know Where"

  6. Chakkaradeep says:

    A better and cleaner approach would be using this excellent tool to change the logon screen –

  7. You’re a real class act, James. You stole this information from my "Windows 7 Secrets" co-author, Rafael Rivera, who first published this information on his blog, Within Windows, back in March. And you don’t even credit the guy.

    Worse stil, your post is inaccurate and imcomplete, lacking, among other things, a list of supported resolutions.

    Windows 7 Center??? PLEASE.

    Shame on you. Please address this stupidity immediately.

    Paul Thurrott

    SuperSite for Windows

  8. Rafael Rivera says:

    How? Because I’m the originator of the content, James.

  9. Chris123NT says:

    James, if people didn’t reverse engineer windows, life would be pretty damn boring.

    And forbidden by the EULA?  Do you seriously think people read that heap of legal junk let alone FOLLOW IT?

  10. Rafael says:


    The site does mention me, by name. Try reading three sentences in.

    I did reverse engineer and test this on my own, using Microsoft tools. Why the doubt? Are you implying I’m not capable?


  11. lee says:

    When James gave incorrect credit clearly it was an oversight, not a malicious attempt to help the "Windows 7 Center" site.  

    James tried to do the right thing – but made a simple mistake by not reading down farther and seeing "Rafael blue badge", a search of which would have given the right credit.

    Paul and Rafael were wrong – you don’t accuse people of stealing and/or slander them until you’ve asked for an explanation.  Isn’t that basic journalism, ask for a response first and THEN draw your conclusions?

    No doubt James would have updated the credit after a friendly inquiry.

    For Paul and Rafael, thin skinned and unprofessional action for such prominent bloggers.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m worried that you’re limited to 256 KB and jpeg 🙁 Here’s link to Microsoft TechNet:

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