Windows 7 to support logon UI backgrounds

In the latest Windows 7 build (7057), recently leaked to the public, Rafael Rivera over at Within Windows has found that users can customize the UI logon background images to include custom images.

Rafael reports that the functionality was probably designed for OEM manufactures to include custom images for Windows 7 in pre-configured computers, but users can now include their own images without the need to use a simple third-party program. After enabling a registry setting, users can use any image of their choice, as long as they are less than 256kb in size.

First users need to enable the customization functionality by editing their registry:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background
Look for the DWORD value "OEMBackground" should be set the Boolean value to 1 for enabled, 0 for disabled. Depending on users systems, this value may not exist by default.

Images are taken from an OEM folder located at "%windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds" and may not exist by default.

The default background image "backgroundDefault.jpg" is is stretched-to-fit when loaded. Custom sized images can be included with the following file names:

  • backgroundDefault.jpg
  • background900×1440.jpg (0.625)
  • background960×1280.jpg (0.75)
  • background1024×1280.jpg (0.8)
  • background1280×1024.jpg (1.25)
  • background1024×768.jpg (1.33-)
  • background1280×960.jpg (1.33-)
  • background1600×1200.jpg (1.33-)
  • background1440×900.jpg (1.6)
  • background1920×1200.jpg (1.6)
  • background1280×768.jpg (1.66-)
  • background1360×768.jpg (1.770833-)

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I could see this causing potential security issues. IIRC, the whole point of logonui is to be as barebones as possible in order to make sure it doesn't have any bugs...

zivan56 said,
I could see this causing potential security issues. IIRC, the whole point of logonui is to be as barebones as possible in order to make sure it doesn't have any bugs...

It's JUST a picture, and the average user will never touch it, they wouldn't even know where to start

That's a revolutionary new feature ;)

Sorry for trolling guys but with the replies found in the cut and paste news about the iPhone i just could not resist.

Are the resolution-specific filenames limited to those listed, or can other sizes be defined? My Acer Aspire One has a resolution of 1024 x 600, so I wonder if that is possible as well?

"backgroundDefault.jpg" is used for other resolutions; I guess you can make that file 1024x600 pixels and use that as your login background.

I read an interview with a Microsoft Engineer that stated Microsoft didn't like enabling certain customizations because they fear people will screw up settings.... Thats why we need them in the control panel so the masses can change these settings instead of attempting registry hacks and 3rd party apps that without proper knowledge, do exactly what they tried to prevent. I'll atempt to find my source.

So is this going to be a planned feature or is this just a hack

If it is a new feature, Microsoft should have an option under personalize or under user account settings

@ thepitt, images have to be under 256kb to make them work

why Microsoft don't just make it a clear setting in the control panel display options ?
why torturing users all the time with registry settings since win95 ?!!!!

kInG aLeXo said,
why Microsoft don't just make it a clear setting in the control panel display options ?
why torturing users all the time with registry settings since win95 ?!!!!

You think the control panel would be usable if every configurable setting in Windows was exposed?

It wouldn't, and it would be near impossible for Microsoft to maintain.

MioTheGreat said,

You think the control panel would be usable if every configurable setting in Windows was exposed?

It wouldn't, and it would be near impossible for Microsoft to maintain.


well, at least the logon UI should be there, also there any many "tweaking" programs which enable users to customize windows in really easy way, so MS should make their own

256K doesn't leave much room for hi-res backgrounds, but then again this isn't the most useful feature in Windows anyway. I guess standard company logos with clear backgrounds will fit fine.

neat side-effect of this is because I have different screen resolutions on my monitor and laptop LCD, I can have a different wallpaper docked than I do undocked.

My uni has vista enterprise and they have a custom welcome screen. Did they blatantly hack into it or is it a feature of vista enterprise?

I think corporations and businesses have always been able to have more customisation over their Windows installs. I'd assume that this is an option for Enterprise users and corporations

A request for Win8 maybe? You never know, they do let you change wallpapers like that now (i've got it set to change once a day).

You can always use a simple PowerShell script like this to do this job:

$dirs=[IO.Directory]::GetDirectories($env:windir+"/Resources/Backgrounds")

$dir=$dirs[(New-Object Random).Next($dirs.get_Length())]

$back=$env:windir+"/system32/oobe/info/backgrounds"

rmdir $back

mklink /d $back $dir

interesting....I wonder if they will add official support in the sense of an actual gui interface when right click desktop properties....

Great. Now average users* will be forced to see giant HP and Dell branding whilst they log in.

Because we needed more crap installed by default in OEM PCs.

(Note: I mention average users. Average users don't reformat to remove crapware from OEMs, and won't hunt around in System to remove the backgrounds. The quality of the majority of PCs will just degrade.)

Amen, I hate having to install more crap on my computer to get it to look the way I want. God knows it true, most people just leave the stuff that came on the computers..... sad sad people.....

Yea, custom wallpapers have been shown to decrease performance severely, clutter the desktop, among other things. It's the worst kind of crapware.

Oh wait a minute, that made no sense! You must have been bored or something

mattrobs said,
Great. Now average users* will be forced to see giant HP and Dell branding whilst they log in.

Because we needed more crap installed by default in OEM PCs.

(Note: I mention average users. Average users don't reformat to remove crapware from OEMs, and won't hunt around in System to remove the backgrounds. The quality of the majority of PCs will just degrade.)

Solution: don't buy from OEM's like dell hp acer whoever and buy retail copy of Windows 7 and you'll be fine.

themailnurse said,
Yea, custom wallpapers have been shown to decrease performance severely, clutter the desktop, among other things. It's the worst kind of crapware.

Oh wait a minute, that made no sense! You must have been bored or something :rolleyes:


Have you ever used the computer of someone who hasn't a clue what they're doing (i.e. the average user)? It's not a nice experience.

Digix said,

Solution: don't buy from OEM's like dell hp acer whoever and buy retail copy of Windows 7 and you'll be fine.


Tell that to all average users then.

mattrobs said,
Great. Now average users* will be forced to see giant HP and Dell branding whilst they log in.

While this is true, and I while still would not call this implementation easy, at least it's easier than removing the downright hacks God damned OEMs implement have their logos displayed currently.

If this start branding using this feature instead, I might even be able to guide someone on how to change it, rather than having to go out and take control of the system myself.

Chewbob said,
Have you ever used the computer of someone who hasn't a clue what they're doing (i.e. the average user)? It's not a nice experience.

No, it really isn't. They pile in so much crap and their Windows install is so buggy the explorer is more than likely going to lock-up and crash when you open it. It is absolutely horrendous. They dig their own hole and think that computers are super hard to use then blame Microsoft and think having a Mac is going to make it all better.

Wasn't it possible to add a background wallpaper to the login window back in the Windows 2000 days? I seem to remember doing it back then.

Yes, it was possible to change the wallpaper of Windows 2000. Windows XP would also let you set the background if you used the classic login box (not the welcome screen). However, this had changed once Vista came out and was able to use a unified interface for both domain and local logins (no more classic/welcome screen).

This will actually be a nice little feature since it'll let me customize my HTPC even more during startup after I install Windows 7 when it his RTM.

yes even the Win9X series,, had to create a bmp file then rename it to a sys i think

roadwarrior said,
Wasn't it possible to add a background wallpaper to the login window back in the Windows 2000 days? I seem to remember doing it back then.

They released theirs for free (mighty nice of them) so I don't think they will be too choked up about this. And who knows, maybe some MS people decided to included this featured after seeing just how tasty a LogonStudio equipped PC looks (and it does).

techbeck said,
Sweet...I can ditch Logonstudio now! :)

Yes, it's nice to have this built-in.

Andrew, you should still add the note from the WithinWindows page that the images need to be smaller than 256kB.