Q: I know how to change the welcome screen by hacking resources in system files – logonui.exe for XP, imageres.dll for Vista. I can’t seem to do the same in Windows 7. Is it a different file again that I have to hack?
A: Fortunately in Windows 7 there’s no risky resource hacking required in order to change the Welcome Screen’s background image. Here’s what you do. First navigate to the folder C:\Windows\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds in Windows Explorer. Chances are good this folder won’t exist – I had to create both the info and backgrounds folders. Copy the JPG image for your new background into this folder and rename it to defaultBackground.jpg. Note that the image must be smaller than 256 KB. If it’s too big, open it in your favorite image editor and re-save a copy using a higher compression ratio.
Launch REGEDIT from the Start menu. Navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background. If any of the keys don’t exist you’ll have to create them. Look in the right-hand pane for a value named OEMBackground. If it’s not present choose Edit | New | DWORD Value from the menu and name the new value OEMBackground. Double-click that value and set its data to 1. Now Windows 7 will use your chosen image as the background, both at startup and shutdown. It looks great!