Change the Windows 7 Logon Background


Customize everything!

Do you sneer at people who use the default Windows desktop?  If you want to set yourself apart from your grandma that uses Windows XP’s Luna theme, then one of the first you do to your Operating System is make it your own. You’ve probably already skinned your Aero desktop and now need to customize your logon screen, assuming you haven’t already set auto-login (read how to set up auto-logon here).

If you want to boot up your computer to be greeted by your favorite supermodel, pokémon, or even Edward Cullen, then this tip will let you change the logon screen’s wallpaper.

There are a few things you must do.  First, identify an image you want to use.  Secondly, you need to create a new directory and put the image in there.  Thirdly, you must edit the registry so Windows knows to use the new wallpaper.

Create directories from an elevated command prompt

Step 1: Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to c:\windows\system32\oobe. If you turn off UAC prompts then every command prompt you open will be elevated.  Otherwise you have to right-click the Command Prompt icon and select “Run as Administrator”.

Step 2: Create a new folder called info by typing “mkdir info” and pressing Enter

Step 3: Navigate to the info directory and create a new subdirectory called backgrounds.  Type “cd info” and press Enter.  Then type “mkdir backgrounds” and press Enter.

Step 4: Copy your desired image into this folder using Windows Explorer.  You must rename it to “backgroundDefault.jpg” for this to work.  The image should ideally be the same resolution as your desktop, and should be under 245K in size.  You can easily reduce a 1900×1200 pixel image to under 200K by reducing its quality down to 6 in Photoshop.

Navigate using RegEdit

Step 5: Open the Windows Redigstry editor (type “regedit” at an elevated command prompt or Run dialog (Win + R)

Step 6: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background

Step 7: Create a new DWORD value called OEMBackground if it doesn’t already exist.  Change the value from 0 to 1.

Change DWORD Value

Step 8: Logoff and log back on and enjoy your new desktop.

I have included a few OCmodshop product photographs for you to use as your desktop background.  Not only can you help show your support for your favorite tech website but you have a neat-ass wallpaper.  Just click on the thumbnails below to open a full-size 1900×1200 wallpaper.

The Lovely OCmodshop Models

Logitech Wave keyboard (review here)

Adata 16GB Flash Drive (read review)

Optical Gaming Mouse and World of Warcraft Mouse (review here)

The Insides of our gaming PC and Logitech MX610 mouse (review here)

Zalman VF1000 VGA heatsink (review here) and Logitech Z-2200 THX Speakers (review here)

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.