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.

Change Windows 7 Login Screen Background

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 or clicking your way through.

OEMBackground

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 [3]

  1. 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).

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

    768×1280

    960×1280

    900×1440

    1024×768

    1024×1280

    1280×768

    1280×960

    1280×1024

    1360×768

    1440×900

    1600×1200

    1920×1200

  3. There is a whole step that I have to do whenever I want this to work, as well as doing the 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

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