Vista User Account Picture - Empty Frame in Domain Logon Screen RRS feed

  • Question


    I'm running identical Vista Enterprise computers in a lab environment on a Windows Domain, and am having an issue with the user account picture.  Namely, on the user logon screen, just above the fields for the username and password, there's a giant empty frame where the user account picture should be.


    I've already replaced the user.bmp and guest.bmp, so that our company logo will show up for users in the start menu after they've logged in, and will show up in the logon window for their user name if they've locked their session, but I'm unable to get the picture to show up on the original logon screen before the user logs in.


    Some group policies we have include:

    Interactive logon: Do not display last user name   Enabled
    Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL   Enabled

    Always use classic logon    Enabled


    So far I haven't found any good info that refers to this problem.  I've only seen two posts on these forums that come close to the problem I'm having, but neither touch on it directly and provide a solution.  They are:




    Does anyone know if it's even possible to force a user account picture to be displayed on the Vista logon screen when on a domain?  Thanks in advance.







    Friday, January 25, 2008 12:41 AM

All replies

  • Hi Trelf


    If you find the solution to this would you be able to let me know what is it please? I've experienced the same issue today and haven't come up with anything as yet. My email address is simonwindelerlea@hotmail.com





    Friday, December 5, 2008 9:30 PM
  • Judging by the date on this post, I'm gussing the answer is still in limbo. I'm having the same probem, only I'm using Windows 7 RC.
    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 2:12 PM
  • Is Microsoft EVER going to address this?  Such a simple element, yet one that really stands out.  Of all the customization and hard work put in to making our systems look professional and homogenous, and yet we cannot display the logo of our institution at the logon window.  Instead, a giant, ugly, blank tile represents Microsoft and Us in this case.  Please, Please, Please Microsoft-- let us place an image here when the machines are attached to our domain!
    Friday, August 14, 2009 3:13 PM
  • I've never been able to find a solution to this either and it also affects Windows 7.

    It just makes it look like something's missing having a huge empty box.
    Has no-one found a solution yet?

    Also if you apply a default tile to all users then the one in the start menu is also empty for all users as well as the one on the logon screen remaining empty (unless this has been fixed since last time I tried it)

    Robin Wilson
    Monday, August 24, 2009 9:30 PM
  • I've been searching too, from what I can see there isn't the ability.  Of course...I wouldn't mind someone proving me wrong.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009 3:46 AM
  • Have you tried saving it in a 24-bitmap
    • Proposed as answer by sixfourgiant Friday, September 25, 2009 10:53 PM
    Friday, September 25, 2009 10:51 PM
  • Hello sixfourgiant.

    As far as I can tell this is not something that is possible to do and I can kind of see the logic of having an empty frame as no-one is logged in.

    You can however change the background which I think is what you may be referring to as I believe these need to be 24bit bitmaps: http://www.withinwindows.com/2009/03/15/windows-7-to-officially-support-logon-ui-background-customization/

    Robin Wilson
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 5:53 PM
  • I dont know if this will work in Windows Vista as I have not attempted it yet, but it does work in both 7 x64 and x86.

    In both Windows Vista and Windows 7 when you enable the “don’t show last username” policy in group policy or in the registry, the user account frame will be shown as an empty frame instead of with the users account picture. The following steps will enable a custom image or logo to be inserted into the frame for all users.



    Warning: Changing system files or their settings can have an unwanted effect on the computer and can even make them unbootable. After this file is changed no user will be able to choose an individual picture.

    Do the following at your own risk.



    In order to add a logo to the frame you must first take ownership of C:\Windows\System32\authui.dll. You can do this by doing the following using explorer, navigate to the System32 folder, right click on authui.dll, click on properties, click on the security tab, click on advanced, click on the Owner tab, click on the Administrators group, then click apply. Click on the permissions tab, click on administrators, click on edit, tick the allow box for the full control permission, click OK on any remaining dialog boxes.

    Using the resource editor open the authui.dll file, browse to bitmap, then to 12223. Then you want to export/save the file as a bmp file.

    Open both your desired image and the bmp file in the bmp editor. Resize your desired image to roughly 120x120. Copy the image to the picture frame and position as desired. Once everything is the way you want, save the file.

    In the resource editor again, you want to replace the 12223 bitmap with the custom image created. After this is done, save authui.dll and you should be able to see the effects immediately, if not reboot.

    • Proposed as answer by KJCJK Friday, November 20, 2009 6:29 AM
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 8:32 PM
  • Everything looks like it'd work in Vista too, though I can't seem to find a editor that will extract the BMP.  ResEdit sees 12223, but I can't get a good export and Resource Editor doesn't show any content when authui.dll is opened.

    KJCJK - What resource editor are you using?
    Thursday, November 19, 2009 7:02 PM
  • Do you use x64 or x86? if its x64 then you have to find a resource editor specifically designed for x64. Otherwise try to copy authui.dll to the desktop and open it there. I had problems opening it in the System32 directory until I copied it. It went fine after that with Resource Editor for me.
    Friday, November 20, 2009 6:29 AM
  • Hi mate, this looks really good, exactly the answer i was after. only problem is, when i restart the computer now after doing this, it doesn't boot properly! it just sits with a black screen and a mouse cursor in the middle. any idea why? i can only think that somehow the dll file has got corrupted, but all i have done is follow these steps.

    if it helps at all, i'm using Res Tuner to do the editing.
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 3:04 PM
  • When it sits with a black screen and cursor it doesn't mean that its corrupt, it usually means that the authui.dll doesnt have the correct resources. I came across this problem several times while trying to fix this issue, and finally realized that the bmp extracted from the dll was a 32-bit bmp and I was replacing it with a 24-bit bmp. When I finally replaced it with a 32-bit bitmap with the same resolution it worked like a charm.
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 3:19 PM
  • right ok. i've tried changing what type of bmp i was using, first it was on auto-detect, now i've set it to 24-bit.

    i think we may have come across the problem now though, which is as we are setting up this as a network install we didn't want to go hacking about dll's whilst in place, so we copied it to another computer and editted it there, but now when we copy it back we get problems with permissions. what we are trying now is editting it in place on the computer, and then working from there.

    i will let you know how it goes!
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 3:28 PM
  • I think if you copy the dll from another computer you have to right-click on it on the machine you copied it to and go to properties and there is an option that says something about the file orginating from the internet and that it may be unsafe and you have to press unblock (depending on how you copied it I think).

    I may be wrong about this but it might be worth checking.

    Also the logon background change can only be done in Windows 7. Sorry I didn't mention that in my earlier post (well unless this can also be done with a resource editor).

    I suppose in a networked environment a startup script could be written to check the authui.dll to see if it need overwriting (maybe based on modified date) and then take ownership of it and copy it from a network location. The only problem would be if future windows updates updated that file.

    Robin Wilson
    Sunday, December 13, 2009 10:59 PM
  • Trelf,

    Did you ever find a solution for this? Our Windows 7 machines have the same issue, and I was hoping there would be a better fix for it other than trying to deal with replacing dll files on multiple machines...

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009 10:42 PM
  • Hello Phiredrop

    I don't believe there is a way to do this.

    As far as I understand it, the empty frame represents the fact that no-one is logged into the machine which is why there is no easy way to modify this behaviour.
    I did originally wish it was possible to change this but now I can kind of see the logic in it and the fact that it might be best to leave it as it is.

    Also machines with different service pack levels and updates and x86/x64 could mean that the wrong version was copied to a machine which could potentially make the machine unusable (I think logonui will be used in safe mode as well).

    One thought I had was to design a background image which had a logo within the account picture box (not sure if it is transparent if there is no image shown) as the background image can be customised via policy.

    If anyone has found an easier way around it please let us know though!

    Robin Wilson
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 3:49 PM
  • Thanks Robin, that's a great idea! 

    I'm pretty sure the box is transparent so just photoshopping the logo onto the background image should work great. 
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:38 PM
  • Let me know if you try it and if it works. :)
    Robin Wilson
    Friday, January 8, 2010 7:54 PM
  • I like the idea of just putting a picture on the logon wallpaper where the logon box would be, but it would then of course show up under the text "Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE to log on" which sucks.

    I cannot believe MSFT shipped it like this... pretty lame.
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 2:40 PM
  • Oh yes that's true.

    I hadn't thought of that!

    Robin Wilson
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:13 PM
  • I found that out the hard way as well ;-)

    I guess we're just gonna have to live with the blank box with no one logged in. Bummer.

    Monday, April 19, 2010 4:29 PM
  • Rather than re-post what I wrote I will like you to the thread where I propose a solution for this. Here:http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproui/thread/d6b06e52-8d61-4066-8a21-2415c5dbfdee. I hope that helps all those coming here from Google too.

    Note that this is for Windows 7 it may also work for Vista.

    • Proposed as answer by RandNerd Saturday, May 15, 2010 1:22 PM
    Saturday, May 15, 2010 1:20 PM
  • Thanks KJCJK, this worked well and is by far the only thing that I’ve found that works consistently.
    I was doing this for both Vista 64bit and Win7 64bit so I need to edit both the 32bit and 64bit version of the ‘authui.dll’ files. If anyone is doing this on 64BIT versions of these OS you must edit 32bit file in the ‘SysWOW64’ folder and the 64bit file in the ‘System32’ folder for this to work properly. Also your image must be 32bit for it to be displayed. For Vista the image reference number in the authui.dll file is 11142.

    We used GIMP to edit our bitmap logo for saving it as PNG and resizing it to 128x128 which gives you the perfect fit. We then save it as BMP which carried over the 32bit image format.
    We then open the image file in MS Paint and saved as a 24bit bmp

    We used WinPE to replace the files instead of going through the take ownership method we found this to be much more effective and easier.

    • Proposed as answer by DTE-ITGuy Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:54 PM
    • Edited by DTE-ITGuy Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:12 PM
    Thursday, June 24, 2010 2:42 PM
  • We never found a direct solution for this, but KJCJK's suggestion to modify the .dll looks worth a try.

    In the end, as Robin suggested, we decided to just leave it and instead create a logon background screen that uses our logo.  Much easier.


    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 2:49 PM
  • Great example of Out of the Box thinking :)

    Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:38 PM