Change the Windows 7 Login Screen Background Image

When you login to your Windows 7 computer (assuming you haven’t used something like this tutorial to turn on automatic login), you’ll generally see a login window with a background looking something like this.

Default Login Screen

It’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with it. But sometimes a change is good so in this article we’ll show you how to change the background image behind the login screen to anything you want.

The first step is to open up the Start Menu by clicking the orb in the lower left corner of the screen.

Click Orb

Now, in the Start Menu search box, type regedit, to open up the Registry Editor.

Type Regedit

When the Registry Editor appears in the Start Menu, click the Enter key to launch it. You should see a window like this.

Registry Editor

Now, right-click on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder, and choose the Find option.

Select Find Option

The search window will appear so perform a search for OEMBackground.

Search For OEMBackground

It will eventually be found under Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background (you could navigate there directly, but the search function is probably quicker than typing all that into the path bar.


Note: it’s possible that OEMBackground doesn’t exist on your system; if this is the case, adding a new DWORD value with the name of OEMBackground will fix things.

Once you can see the OEMBackground entry, double click to reveal its properties, and change the value from 0 (the default) to 1 (which will allow us – or the computer’s OEM as intended – to change the login screen background).

Change OEMBackground Value

Once this is finished you can close the Registry Editor and open up Windows Explorer. We want to go to %windir%\system32\oobe, so enter that into the path bar.

Go To oobe Folder

You’ll now need to create an info folder (all lowercase), and then a new folder, named backgrounds (also lowercase), inside the info folder. Depending on your computer’s OEM, you may find these folders already exist and may already have images in them, placed there by Dell or HP or IBM, etc.

Info and Background Folders

Now simply select a favorite wallpaper. It should be in JPG format and less than 245 KB in size (and ideally the exact dimensions of your display to avoid stretching). Name this image backgroundDefault.jpg and place it in the backgrounds folder.

New Image in Backgrounds Folder

You can now restart, lock your screen or logout to see your new login screen.

New Login Screen

Congratulations! This isn’t the simplest process, and isn’t as simple as using a program like Windows 7 Logon Background Changer, but if you want to get into the particulars regarding what programs like that are doing, this is a good way to go, if a bit more complex.

Comments [43]

  1. May I ask what is the wallpaper you have used in your demo? I found it appealing and would like to have a copy to set as my login wallpaper. Thank you very much

  2. This does absolutely nothing. I followed the process exactly and double then triple checked it and my login screen is still default.

  3. Great post but i kinda prefer using a software for this.

    I wrote a post on how to do it some time ago.


  4. I followed these instructions and got everything in place. When I tried, it didn’t work. I searched for something that might be causing the problem, and I found that an image was already taking the place. I tried to delete it. Unfortunatley, I found that it has certain properties that can only be changed by a “TrustedInstaller. Plus, I can’t even change the permissions to give myself the ability because I am not the “TrustedInstaller”. Any advice for a way around this?

  5. Ooooor just download windows 8 consumer preview….

  6. Thanks for the tutorial! Just a quick question, What is the wallpaper you used?

  7. I want to know where you got that picture too

  8. Are you using the correct size for the image? If it’s any bigger than around 245kb, then no, it won’t work.

  9. This made my night :)

    I can’t thank you enough!

  10. What is the background pic u used? that nice space one of the milky way or whatever lol

  11. WOOOW. Now i know, how use my personal login background. Thanks.

  12. Found it after a brief google, search for osx galaxy wallpaper.

  13. That’s the wallpaper from Lion OSX.. you can find it by searching on google :)

  14. Worked absolutely perfect for me.. thanks for this. very nice

  15. Very cool. I didn’t know how to do this, but I’m going to change mine right now.

  16. Double check the size of the image, it MUST be less than 245 KB (I tried a larger one, it didn’t work, but it did after I lowered the quality a bit).

  17. I was JUST talking about using Nintendo wallpapers…Now I’m going to put this on my co-worker’s log in page because he doesn’t want anything to do with Mario. Bwahahaha

  18. I tried this on Win 7 professional with no luck. Followed each of the steps and everything checks out. My file is less than 200KB so not sure why it isn’t working? Any thoughts?

  19. @Nathan Hollis, how did you find which file was taking it’s place? I already had a backgrounds folder with images and one was already backgroundDefault. I deleted that and replaced it with my image with the same name but still no luck.

  20. Found my answer: Image resolution must be one of the following:













  21. I’ve been wondering how to do this. I had to compress the image I wanted to use to keep it under 245kb, but it looks wonderful! Thanks!

  22. Followed the instructions step-by-step exactly as I was told. Used a picture that’s only 83 KB (also tried slightly higher quality images) but it still doesn’t work when I lock my computer to go see it.

  23. Where can I find that image that you’re using in the post? my screen resolution is 1366×768. All I find are bigger than 245 KB

  24. Tried a few times before making sure the resolution and kb was correct, now when I try to change it, it tells me access denied? I’m using my admin account as well so I’m not sure why it would tell me that.

  25. There is a whole step that i have to do when ever i want this to work, as well as doing th above some will need to:

    Press: windows key and r (open run command)

    Type: gpedit.msc

    Go to: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Logon

    Look in right pane for: Always use custom logon background, double click it

    Set the option to Enabled, click apply

  26. I mean, it’s AWESOME !! Thanks man ! :D

  27. I can not get it to work and I even was trying to use the same pic that is on here and I still get nothing. I have tried several times. Bummed out

  28. its not letting me save a picture into that folder

  29. Hey, I followed this on a samsung laptop. But nothing is happening. I had to create my own OEMBacrkound file, there was also already a default, I deleted it and followed the other tutorial you posted earlier then replaced it. However still nothing is happening.

  30. I just realized that the DWORD file’s binary “data” is shown as 0x00000001 (1) instead of 0x00000001

  31. this works flawlessly! the wallpaper he is using is OSX mountain lion default background, in case you were wondering.

    try to get an image with the same resolution as what you have for your display. if you need to lower the file size, open photoshop and save the image in a lower quality, around 7 or 8 depending on your original size.

  32. It just won’t work. I have the correct file type and size (both kb and rez) and nothing. I’ve restarted and logged out like 5 times now. I do have the 64-bit os, could that be what’s wrong? I really can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Also, there is a BITMAP file that seems to be the current background but not in an info file. I had to create that. Should I get rid of it or no?

  33. I found a folder with all the different backgrounds but I don’t know how to switch between the images.

  34. Yeah, so, I followed everything correct, made sure the picture was the right size and resolution, and have no issues with permissions and such.

    FML, my screen is still lame.

  35. I did all of it. Rechecked the file size, the format, the registry value and all. But to no avail. :(

  36. Hey, i am unable to copy the image in the backgrounds folder, it says “Target folder is not available” …
    Please help!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *