What is the "BEST" Means Or Way To Change The Windows 7's Login Screen Wallpaper From It's Windows 7's Default Wallpaper?

Posted on 2011-09-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello. I have a question to ask you.

I would like to know how "THE BEST WAY" to change the Windows 7's login screen wallpaper from its Windows 7 default wallpaper?

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Now I know if I do some searches by Googling;  I can find numerous online websites that have articles that address and answer this question with solutions instantly. I have found some that require hacks to the system registry and/or even the system directories,  others that solely use tools like third party tools to modify the system registry and/or system directories, and also I have seen website instructions that have a combination mix of hacks and tools in use to both the system registry and/or the system directories.

So from 'YOUR EXPERT' perspective and sensible logic, could you please provide me 'THE BEST WAY" to change the Windows 7's login screen wallpaper? ...and your rationale (explanation) why your way you have found your means or way to be determined is the 'best"?

PLUS: I am looking for the way or means to provide me the *greatest customization, capabilities, and flexibility* of changing my Windows 7's login screen wallpaper. Like taking an image of mine and applying to the Windows 7's login screen; and not just utilizing Windows 7's given default images. If possible at this time, in addition having the ability to have animation (like an relatively short animated loop) with my Windows 7 login screen.  

If your answer for this issue invlolves, third party programs; please try to find 'free' programs over 'paid' programs. However, if 'free' is not possible with your searching or knowledge, 'paid' will be fine.

Please provide your own best possible well written, detailed and documented website links hopefully with images and demonstrations along with the instructions and/or your personal suggestions, hints, and tips.

DO NOT USE or similar-like web links in your reply. I consider its use very unprofessional for EE experts. If you do, you will not get acknowledged and receive no credit.

Pleaser reply.

Thank you!
Question by:RegulaOne
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LVL 28

Accepted Solution

Run5k earned 500 total points
ID: 36539697
Hi again, RegulaOne!

In my experience, the two best sources of Windows 7 step-by-step tutorials are the SevenForums web domain and the HowToGeek web page.  They are normally tested rather thoroughly before publishing, especially from the SevenForums crew.  If you look at each of their tutorials, they have virtually identical recommendations:
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 36539746
To elaborate a bit more, I tend to be rather "old school" and prefer to make modifications myself if it's not too much trouble.  As a result, I would utilize the third option on the SevenForums link referenced above.  You can see and control exactly what you are doing, and the registry updates are safe.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 36539991
This is what works for me....

1. Add reg key....

2. Now, head over to the following folder:
C:\Windows\System32\oobe (“C” is your Windows Seven Installation drive)

3. Here, create a new folder named Info. Again, create a new folder inside the Info folder and rename it as backgrounds.

4. Copy your favorite image file to this folder and rename it as backgroundDefault. Note that the image must be in JPG format and the size should be less than 256 KB.

5. You are done. Reboot your system and see the change.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 36539994
I am assuming you know how to edit a registry key setting ...let me know if you don't?
LVL 12
ID: 36541554

Free and easy to use

Author Comment

ID: 36552273
@ BigBadWolf:

Hello. Nice to meet you! Thank you for your comment!

First, to answer your second comment you have posted above; yes I am familiar on how to modify the system registry. Yes, I have to be careful! ;-)

Yes, I have completed your instructions posted in your first comment above, and I have had success with your answer on my Windows 7 system.

After reading your first post above, I have some questions to ask you regarding your 'very manual means' on how to achieve your results:

1. Can you have more than just one image in the folder "Backgrounds" folder (without the quotes)? Obviously, you have told me to name it BackgroundDefault" (without the quotes), it would appear that you can have ONLY ONE of them in this folder named as such? ...or not (and there is a way to achieve more than one image in this folder WITHOUT ISSUES)??? NOTE: I have not tested or attempted this as of yet.

2. See (in relation to question number one above), I am wondering if you can have some means or way in order to get a slide show much like the Windows 7 desktop? Now I know that a typical user is only on that Login screen for a very short period in order to get into their Windows 7 system, but I am just curious??? Please tell me I am not being 'practical'? ;-)

3. What if the image size is indeed OVER 256 KBs? Is there some sort of issue that occurs? Please explain. NOTE: I have not tested or attempted this as of yet.

4. As a side step question, but yet very applicable to this question since other answers posted above include a new, very applicable, facet to my issue -- the ability to modify the taskbar manager background as well when pressing the "Control-Alt-Delete" key combination.  Is there am 'very manual' means or way much like your above answer and solution in terms of the Windows 7 Login screen? Please provide the written stepped instruction similarly as you have done above.  

Please reply to ALL my questions.

Thank you!

* * *
@ Run5K & antony_kibble<!-8D58D5C365651885FB5A77A120C8C8C6-->:

Hello. Nice to see you again Run5k! Nice to meet you antony_kibble<!-8D58D5C365651885FB5A77A120C8C8C6-->! Thank you for your comments!

I am in the process of testing out our answers from your weblinks as I am writing this comment.

Thank you!
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 36552379
RegulaOne, always nice to see you, too!

Just FYI, the suggestion from BigBadWolf is actually exactly the same as the one that I specifically recommended in my second post, so I may be able to help answer your questions, also.

1. The article that I referenced in my second post is a bit more detailed than BigBadWolf's recommendation.  It shows that you can place variations of your default background image in that same folder to gracefully fit your default monitor resolution, but it's not necessary.  If the backgroundDefault.jpg file is the only one in there, it will be stretched to fit accordingly.

2. As you said, related to the previous question, I have never seen or heard of any method to utilize a variety of log on background screens, potentially even a slide show.  As you mentioned, even if it was possible people are typically at that screen for a very short period of time.  You can utilize a desktop wallpaper slide show and a screen saver slide show, but I doubt there would be too much value to a log on screen slide show.

3. Every reference I have seen emphasizes the 256 KB size limit.  That article said "WARNING: The custom image that you use must be a .jpg image less than 256 KB in size, or this will not work."  I'm sure that if there were some type of work-around, they wouldn't have been quite so emphatic about their advice.

4. Actually, I believe that your Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination background screen utilizes the same picture as your log on background screen.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit more.

Author Comment

ID: 36571136
@ Run5K, BigBadWolf_000, & antony_kibble<!-8D58D5C365651885FB5A77A120C8C8C6-->:

Hello again. Thank you again Run5k for your comment for BigBadWolf_000. I have been waiting for BigBadWolf_000 to reply since I posted my last comment above containing my questions. I am 'thinking' BigBadWolf_000 is in agreement with Run5k's latest comments. Therefore, I will close this question at this time since I have received a good set of answers and no further comments have been added since the last posting by Run5k.

THANK YOU for your answers and solution!!!.

Next, I will award solution titles and points for this question/thread...  

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36571464
@ Run5K, BigBadWolf_000, & antony_kibble<!-8D58D5C365651885FB5A77A120C8C8C6-->:

Okay, in awarding points to this question/thread...

Since I am asking for the "best" answer, I cannot award anything other than ONE BEST ANSWER & SOLUTION ("Accepted Solution"), however if MORE THAN ONE EE expert or EE user has the *SAME* ONE BEST ANSWER & SOLUTION, the points will be divided appropriately. More of that in a moment...

Now, I will go to my review:

Okay, Run5k provides the ONLY 'best' answer options from Run5k's first link in Run5k's first comment's first option/answer. An array of answers and solutions (options) from all EE expert comments is much appreciated. The answer and solution is: "Windows 7 Logon Background Changer" (program). I like this program since it is the only one I have tested that offers a full system installation and therefore easy access to change the images for both the logon screen and the Windows Start Task Manager screen right from the run shortcut in the Windows Start Menu. This way I do not have to search or hunt to lookup a run application file (" Logon Changer for Windows 7") program in order to use since it does not install into my computer. I also do not to search for the instructions to manually change the JPEG image to place in the  C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds directory which typically I would forget in time. I also like the fact that Windows 7 Logon Background Changer adds "settings" option that the user can adjust a few options unlike " Logon Changer for Windows 7". Both these prospective programs do offer the user the options to select wallpaper/background images from one's own Windows system. Both have the ability to restore Windows 7 default wallpaper/background.  

I do like the fact the Logon Changer for Windows 7 has a "test" (preview) feature unlike Windows 7 Logon Background Changer. However with Windows 7 Logon Background Changer, you can verify the wallpaper/background with the simple 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' key combination for full screen.  These both programs also have the ability to do some sort of cropping and resizing and saves them to the best compression quality conceivable. This is something by manual means the user would have to achieve on their own which could be time consuming in order to be exacting.    

Windows 7 Logon Background Changer's features:

•      "It does NOT change any system file, and the program itself does not requires admin rights to run : it will just ask you to run as admin a very simple cmd file that creates the required folder and registry key with the appropriate rights. Any user of the computer will then be able to change the Windows 7 logon screen wallpaper. You can also prevent users from being able to change the logon screen wallpaper if you don't want them to be able to modify it without administrator rights (option available by clicking on the "Settings" button)."
•      "It creates a few JPEG files based on the image you want to put as wallpaper for the Windows 7 login screen, applies the appropriate cropping and sizing and saves them using the best compression quality possible."


Plus Logon Changer for Windows 7's "Key Features:
•      Automatic Image Resize - Don't worry about the 245KB file size limit imposed by Microsoft. The Logon Changer will give you the option to automatically resize and recompress the image to the highest quality possible. The original image is left untouched."
•      Automatic Image Backup - All OEM backgrounds and any previously used backgrounds are automatically backed up when a logon background is changed."
•      Absolutely Free - Just tell your friends about :)"


Looking at this from a minimalistic perspective, BigBadWolf_000's 'very manual' instruction and written out (Thank you!) is very easy to follow. I consider BigBadWolf_000's written instructions 'very manual' since Run5k's first comment's first link's third option is very similar however Run5k's link offers a registry script file to download in conjunction to manual steps as well that BigBadWolf_000's tells me how to do it from 'scratch' (all manually). Yes, there are times when I like to know how to do things manually!!! A user can save an install of another program on my system when a user already has a plethora of third party programs installed.

Run5k gets 500 points with the "Accepted Solution" very first post or comment for Run5k's first weblink's first option/answer.

Again, thank you ALL for your help!!!
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 36571560
As always, you're welcome!

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