Windows 7 logon UI customization… officially!

As you probably know, Windows 7 build 7057, a build recently leaked to the public, sports a new (yet ugly) login UI background. Delivering on the “more customizable” promise, Windows 7 now supports the ability to load images into the background of the login screen without the use of third-party software or manual hacks. Ok it’s still sort of a hack considering you have to go into the registry to enable the usage (why exactly this isn’t included by default in the theme UI is beyond me, most likely to try to keep it a OEM specialty but you can be sure more than OEM’s will be utilizing it :)

Before Logon UI Customization After Logon UI Customization
Figure 1 – Logon UI background image before and after customization.

Although this functionality was designed for OEMs in mind, it is pretty easy to turn on and off using regedit and some images lying around your hard drive.

First, a check is made to determine if the customization functionality is enabled or not. More precisely, a DWORD value named OEMBackground in the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background key is checked. Its data, of Boolean type, defines whether or not this behavior is turned on, i.e. 1 for enabled, 0 for disabled. This value may not exist by default, depending on your system.

Next as this is an OEM feature images are derived from %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds. Like the registry value, this folder may not exist by default. The following files (sorted by width-to-height ratio) are supported in this folder:

 

  • backgroundDefault.jpg
  • background768×1280.jpg  (0.6)
  • 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-)

NOTE: Images must be less than 256kb in size.

The backgroundDefault.jpg image is loaded and stretched-to-fit when a resolution/ratio-specific background cannot be found. The other resolution/ratio-specific files are self-explanatory. If the background cannot be loaded (e.g. image physically too large, incorrect ratio, etc.), the default SKU-based image is loaded from imagesres.dll. You’ll see a Windows Server-themed grayish background in there, too, suggesting this functionality is not specific to client SKUs.

The tutorial above is thanks to our friends over at WithinWindows!

 

 

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