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Can't customize Lock or Logon screen backgrounds?

    Question

  • We would like to use custom images for both the Lock screen and the Logon screen to 'brand' or customize our computers with images relating to our enterprise.

    The Lock screen images appear to be in the "C:\Windows\Web\Screen" folder and are named "img100.jpg", "img101.jpg", "img102.jpg", "img103.jpg", "img104.jpg", "img105.jpg".  We want the 'Default User' profile to be set to use a custom Lock screen image, that way new user logons would inherit this setting.

    However, there must be more to it than simply replacing these 6 files with images of our own with the same names, as this doesn't seem to change the available images to choose from when you go into the "Change PC Settings" - "Personalize" - "Lock screen".

    The Logon screen is just a (very) boring blank colored screen.  In Windows 7, you could customize the Logon background image by creating a DWORD registry value named "OEMBackground" in the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background" registry key and set it to "1".  After doing this, there are 13 specific filenames that you copy into the "C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds" folder.  After doing this, your image would be displayed at the user logon screen.  This feature was apparently removed from Windows 8 and doesn't work.

    At this point, it appears customizations like this in Windows 8 is not possible.  Does anyone know if I'm missing something on how to do these 2 things?  Or perhaps if this functionality will be added to Windows 8 when released?

    Monday, June 04, 2012 4:54 PM

Answers

  • Microsoft has heard our cries. This update provides the ability to select an image of your choice and also prevent changing that image through Group Policy:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2770917

    It provides exactly what we're after, however, for some reason it dims the image you select before turning it into the lock screen. I'm not sure why this is, nor can I find a way around it using this group policy setting.

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:02 AM

All replies

  • This feature was removed in Windows 8: note the point that says:

    "The Lock screen is the place where you can now display custom background instead of the Logon screen, but unlike the Logon screen, there is no way to programmatically change or cycle through a group of images for the Lock screen background so you automatically see a different Lock screen image every time. It must be set manually by the user from PC settings on the Start screen." The Logon screen is a plain ugly solid color that cannot be changed.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 4:09 PM
  • Thanks for the info xpclient.

    Man, I just don't get Microsoft.  It's just incredible that the background image used for the 'Lock' screen isn't a simple registry entry that shows the path\filename to the file used for the lock screen and we can set that value in the "Default User" profile hive for new users to inherit when they login.  The other thing this is just plain mind boggling is that when you go to select a background for the 'Lock' screen under your Personal Settings and you click 'Browse', it can NOT browse to, (or use), ANY of the wallpapers in the C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper folder structure!?  HUH??!

    For the actual 'Logon' screen, Microsoft specifically put the ability into Windows 7 to allow you to 'brand' your computers using that registry key I reference above, but now they take that ability away in Windows 8?  Why the 180 degree change in position on this simple, but yet nice feature?  (Are they trying to make corporate environments hate Windows 8??)  I agree with you that the logon screen is just plain UGLY.  It looks like something from an old DOS menu system or from the ancient Prodigy internet subscription.  (OK, maybe not, but you get my point.)

    It's like Microsoft is trying to make the most boring, ugly, uncustomizable, drab, and unacceptable interface with as few options available as possible in Windows 8 and so far I have to think they are succeeding.  (I thought computing was "supposed" to be fun?)

    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 8:27 PM
  • Fought with this for a while.  I would like to be able to programatically change the lock screen image (disappointed that they don't offer rotating lock screens like they offer rotating desktops).

    Also somewhat miffed that you can't browse the PC to pick a picture... it seems like it has to be in your picture library.

    Maybe just replacing the wallpaper file on disk would work, I thought.  Your hint was that the wallpapers are located in C:\Windows\Web\Screen.  I tried renaming these files to get it to use a different one but it didn't seem to have any effect — the lock screen remained the same, even after reboot.

    Searching for "img100" in the registry has a hit, but changing it doesn't change the lock screen either.

    Wondering if anyone else comes up with anything....

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 3:53 AM
  • Another regression compared to Windows 7 is that if you use auto logon (using control userpasswords2), you no longer even see the lock screen image. On Windows 7, because the logon background image was where you set the beautiful picture, it was always seen as the user logged on. With auto logon, you just see the ugly solid color logon screen and obviously not even the desktop wallpaper, instead you are taken to as we know, the Start screen. So with Windows 7, I could see two beautiful images in rotation, one at the Welcome/logon screen and one of the desktop wallpaper. With Windows 8, I see zero images because I always use auto logon.
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:01 AM
  • Aaron, I "thought" the lock screen images are the files in the C:\Windows\Web\Screen folder, but it's apparently not as easy as just replacing these 6 images with your own file with the same names.

    I had to take 'ownership' of each individual file first, then I could replace them with my own.  But it still wasn't using the new lock screen images.

    I then found them in a couple of folders under the C:\Windows\WinSxS\x86_microsoft-windows-themeui_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and the C:\Windows\WinSxS\x86_microsoft-windows-themeui-client_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx folders. I took ownership of those files and replaced them with my own.   (The \WinSxS folder looks to be a nightmare waiting to happen if we ever have to do any type of support in that structure.  There are 7,097 "folders" under here!  Really??!!)

    After doing this, when you go to the PC Settings - Lock Screen area, it still shows the thumbnails for the origianl photos, but when I click on one it actually displays one of my photos.  However, you can't see what you're seleting since the thumbnails are all wrong.

    It's apparent that Microsoft has taken a simple item and made it so convoluted that it makes your head spin trying to fix what they broke.  It should be a simple registry key for BOTH the lock screen and the logon screen.  You should be able to browse and use any photo for either of these screens too and it should be easy to set defaults for both of these in your Windows images by setting that simple registry key in the registry.  I've given up trying to figure this out, but maybe a miracle will happen and these things will be easily set in the final release.

    Monday, June 18, 2012 8:10 PM
  • >There are 7,097 "folders" under here!  Really??!!)
     
    My Windows 7 machine has 11,851 folders in winsxs, and the install is
    only a couple months old...
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Monday, June 18, 2012 8:19 PM
  • KHHemmelman, thanks for the info — I'm going to check this out.  For my purposes, I don't really care if picking from the control panel works correctly.  If there's a file somewhere that can be replaced to change the lock screen image, then I'll probably write my own script to handle it.

    Not sure when I'll get to it but I will report any success/failure story back here.

    Monday, June 18, 2012 9:13 PM
  • I checked out the images in WinSxS.  For me they were in C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-themeui_.....

    The themeui-client folder has img100 and the themeui folder has the rest of them.

    I replaced img100.jpg (which is the default lock screen) with a different picture, but it did not change the lock screen.  Reboot, no difference.

    I go to the control panel and switch the login image and it won't use the one I put there.  It still is the leaves with blue background.

    So, I went and replaced img101-105 with different pictures.  Then I went and switched the lock screen image in the control panel.  Ta da!  It used my image (though it is only reflected on the actual lock screen... the control panel still shows the default set).

    The behavior is a bit strange from here, though.  It seems the first time you select any one of the lock screens, it is cached somewhere.  After you select it, if you change the file in WinSxS, it will not use the new one that you put there.  So, I was able to get it to use my custom lock screen because I picked one of the lock screens that I had never chosen to use before.  Now, I've put the default images back, but when I select the one I replaced before, it still uses my custom one.

    Reboot, same thing.

    So, one step closer.  A custom lock screen is possible... IF you put it in place before you ever try to select it.  (Maybe if you replaced img100 before the machine booted up the first time, you'd have a custom default lock screen.)

    Still, I'd like to be able to change the lock screen programatically, and this does not make that possible.  Replacing the files in WinSxS doesn't work because it only seems to read those files the first time you ask for them.  Gotta figure out where they're being referenced from after that.  Maybe I'll break out Process Monitor and watch what it does...

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:43 PM
  • I found it.

    When you select a lock screen, it is resized/cropped to your screen resolution and the resulting image is cached in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly.  There are a few folders in here like LockScreen_X, LockScreen_Y, LockScreen_Z.  Each one contains resized versions of a different wallpaper.

    In my case, LockScreen_X was the one currently in use and it contained a file named LockScreen___1440_0900.jpg.  I replaced it with another image of the same size (1440x900) and locked the PC.  The new lock screen image appeared.

    This should allow me to achieve my goal of programatically changing the lock screen, and it may also be useful for those of you who would like to override it however else.  You need to replace the images in WinSxS (see post above), and if the resized versions have already been generated, also replace the images in the folder mentioned here.

    It's a little cumbersome that the permissions on both of these locations are very locked down.  I had to change the ownership and grant myself write permissions to actually replace the files.  And it looks like Windows will automatically revert at least some of these permissions changes.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:33 PM
  • Aaron, does the 'thumbnails' still show the wrong photos when you are selecting them?  (I agree on the permissions.  What a hassle it was just to do the little changes I tried.)

    We're looking to change the initial 6 lock screen choices to 6 images of our own, allowing a user to select those.  But if the thumbnails are all screwed up and show the Microsoft photos, it won't matter if we can figure out how to initially set a lock screen image for the default user profile or change these 6 images.

    I can't believe setting your own Lock screen images, pre-setting a Lock screen background for the default user, setting a pre-set Logon background image like you can currently do with Windows 7, and changing the Metro screen background is functionality not already built into Windows 8.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:46 PM
  • Yes, the thumbnails and preview in the control panel are still wrong.  I suspect similar cached scaled files for those are sitting around somewhere but I have not yet tried to locate them.

    If you want to take a stab at it, here's what I did.  I downloaded Process Monitor (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx) and fired it up, using the default filter set.  Then I locked the machine, unlocked it, stopped the Process Monitor capture, and exported the results as CSV.  Even running it for a few seconds generates a lot of data, but searching through the results for ".jpg" pointed me in the right direction very quickly.  In this case you'd want to run it and then open the control panel and look at the thumbnails.

    I saw a few curious things.  Even though I have "img102" selected as my lock screen, I saw several reads of both img100.jpg and img102.jpg (from the C:\Windows\Web\Screen folder), as well as the scaled version of img100 (which is in LockScreen_Z).

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:09 PM
  • I found some more small cached versions in C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\.  There are LockScreen_ folders here which contain thumbnails.
    Friday, June 22, 2012 8:35 PM
  • Apparently this is where the Loginscreen is in the Registry

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Aut hentication\LogonUI\Background

    • Edited by 1Panic Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:19 PM
    Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:19 PM
  • Found a way to make the desktop background the SAME one used for the Login screen......except why would anyone want to see the same image twice????

    http://www.blogsdna.com/17580/how-to-change-windows-8-logon-background-wallpaper.htm

    Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:28 PM
  • Apparently this is where the Loginscreen is in the Registry

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Aut hentication\LogonUI\Background


    This is the registry key I reference in my initial post.  This is the key used for Windows 7, but it does not work for Windows 8.
    Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:35 PM
  • Found a way to make the desktop background the SAME one used for the Login screen......except why would anyone want to see the same image twice????

    http://www.blogsdna.com/17580/how-to-change-windows-8-logon-background-wallpaper.htm

    I agree.  This is not what we are currently doing for Windows 7 and we don't want to do this for Windows 8.  We are looking to 'brand' our Login screen with a different background and still allow the user to change their own desktop background.  This is currently possible in Windows 7, but not possible in Windows 8.

    We'd also like an easy way to use our own set of 6 initial background images for the Lock screen, replacing the existing 6 images Microsoft has provided in Windows 8.  But that functionality does not apparently exist either in Windows 8.

    At this point, the only hope is that Microsoft will add these two abilities into the RTM version of Windows 8.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:46 PM
  • Just thought i'd let you know that i've managed to solve this in my own thread here... http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/077b0ae5-7d41-4172-bb2b-e5a41d76dcc1

    Through using SCCM i have added my custom lock screen image within the toolkit package which is copied over locally after the 'Apply Network Settings' step and before 'Setup Windows and ConfigMgr'. the command i'm using is "xcopy.exe %deployroot%\scripts\Windows %OSDISK%\Windows /hiqey". This creates a Windows.old file on the root of the C:\ but i suppose if you use another folder name it wont be appended with the .old.

    Then after the 'Setup Windows and ConfigMgr' step i have the state restore phase followed by my customisations phase which includes the following command line steps...

    takeown /f C:\Windows\Web\Screen

    takeown /f C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.jpg

    icacls C:\Windows\Web\Screen /grant:r SYSTEM:F

    icacls C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.jpg /grant:r SYSTEM:F

    xcopy C:\Windows.old\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.jpg C:\Windows\Web\Screen /hiqey

    I have set each one its own step for logging reasons but perhaps putting them in to a batch file and creating a package for it would be tidier, I just haven't had the chance to try this yet.

    Once the OSD is complete low and behold the first lock screen I see and is the default is the custom one that I want.

    I know this may seem like a slightly primitive way of doing things and i still believe that MS should include a much simpler and formal way of doing this but the end result is a branded/custom default lock screen for any user coming to use the deployed PC which is what i(and judging by other forums quite a lot of people) want.

    • Proposed as answer by Mark Ison Tuesday, August 07, 2012 2:25 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by KHHemmelman Monday, October 22, 2012 2:05 PM
    Tuesday, August 07, 2012 2:22 PM
  • I found a way to change the default lock screen after install

    Replace C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.jpg

    delete the file in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly

    reboot.

    Friday, August 31, 2012 8:21 PM
  • Hi David :)

    Just made lock screen wallpaper change using your tips but there are more work to do :)

    You have to take ownership for C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.jpg to be able to delete file and copy over it "your picture" and also to take ownership over SystemData folder to be able to access to S-1-5-18 folder(s) and as I can recall also onto folder S-1-15-18 and S-1-15-18-nnnnnnnn-nnnn. Then I've deleted all picture files in S-1-15-18 folder EXCEPT file which is for desired video resolution. After reboot I've get "injected" lock screen wallpaper into img100.jpg position :) but when I log on and then log off I've get lock screen as solid light cyan color. No picture. Then I've returned to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData and put permission for SYSTEM FC and reboot. Now I have desired lock screen wallpaper after boot and after loging off..

    Sunday, September 16, 2012 5:38 AM
  • on metro screen click the user icon and choose change account picture and then personalize.
    • Proposed as answer by Bradley619 Thursday, October 04, 2012 9:53 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by KHHemmelman Monday, October 22, 2012 2:05 PM
    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:56 PM
  • Dude your a legend!

    Cant believe i read a thread like that just to get a simple answer! Nice job!
    Thursday, October 04, 2012 9:54 AM
  • @cyqnus, @Bradley619: this changes the CURRENT user account lock screen but not the default user lock screen (e.g., for PCs that are joined to an enterprise domain).
    Tuesday, October 09, 2012 2:59 PM
  • I have the same issue on my new "keep all Win7 settings and apps" installation of Win8Pro.  No matter which profile on the box (administrator or no) sets the lock screen image (which initially works just fine), the lock screen image reverts to the default on the next reboot.  Grrr!
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 3:00 PM
  • @cyqnus, @Bradley619: this changes the CURRENT user account lock screen but not the default user lock screen (e.g., for PCs that are joined to an enterprise domain).

     

    I have the same problem.

    I think there is another path where lockscreen picture is kept as cache, neighter C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly, nor C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows.

    Cam anyone know about it?

    Wednesday, November 07, 2012 2:10 PM
  • as a side note, if you want to change the logon screen background color (the color after the lock screen is swiped away), you can set this value.

    Key: "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Accent"
    Value: DefaultColorSet
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Data: Decimal 0-15, with 0 corresponding to the leftmost color scheme in the personalization picker, and 15 to the rightmost.

    for what it is worth I tried a hex of ffffffff in the key and the screen went bananas.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012 4:15 PM
  • Microsoft has heard our cries. This update provides the ability to select an image of your choice and also prevent changing that image through Group Policy:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2770917

    It provides exactly what we're after, however, for some reason it dims the image you select before turning it into the lock screen. I'm not sure why this is, nor can I find a way around it using this group policy setting.

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:02 AM
  • Hey Thank you so much about the update it's really working.
    Friday, November 23, 2012 1:08 PM
  • Have you tried to use those keys?  I wonder if they would work in this case.
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:12 PM
    • Proposed as answer by xpclient Wednesday, December 19, 2012 2:53 AM
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:27 PM
  • here you find tip::: http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-7/change-the-windows-7-login-screen-background-image/
    • Proposed as answer by TK MAHATO Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:15 PM
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:13 PM
  • see the whole step::http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-7/change-the-windows-7-login-screen-background-image/
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:47 PM
  • Yes, here is the KB for this:

    Win8: How to Manage the Lock Screen Image on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2787100/en-us

    The update “Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 cumulative update: November 2012” adds functionality to the Control Panel group polices that allow an administrator to designate a lock screen image on their Windows 8 and Windows 2012 computers. This setting lets you specify the default lock screen image shown when no user is signed in, and also sets the specified images as the default for all users (it replaces the inbox default image).

    The new group policy is named “Force a specific default lock screen image” and can be found in this path in the group policy editor: “Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization”


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:49 AM
    Answerer
  • Microsoft has heard our cries. This update provides the ability to select an image of your choice and also prevent changing that image through Group Policy:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2770917

    It provides exactly what we're after, however, for some reason it dims the image you select before turning it into the lock screen. I'm not sure why this is, nor can I find a way around it using this group policy setting.

    We use this Logon Background while the Maschine is Installing Software after unattend Installation. How can i integrate the Patch into the original Sources from Windows 8?

    Friday, January 25, 2013 2:30 PM
  •  How can i integrate the Patch into the original Sources from Windows 8?

    you can use DISM.exe:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744559%28v=ws.10%29.aspx


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Saturday, January 26, 2013 7:08 AM
    Answerer