The good news here is that you don’t need a third-party application to make this happen.
While it’s rather obscure — OK, it’s very obscure — it’s also easy to set up.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
It starts with registry editing
Don’t let it scare you, but we start by making a single, simple change to the Windows registry.
Fire up regedit, most easily by clicking on Start, then Run, or typing the Windows key + R, and typing regedit in the resulting dialog:
You may need to confirm a UAC prompt.
In Registry Editor, expand by clicking the small triangle to the left of each:
and then click on the Background item:
Double click on OEMBackground in the right-hand pane and change the value from 0 to 1 (if it’s already 1 you don’t need to change it):
That’s it for registry editing! Close regedit.
A special file in a special place
Next we’ll create a couple of folders (if they don’t already exist), and place our desired background image there.
Fire up Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\oobe (the “oobe” stands for Out Of Box Experience):
In that folder you will need to create a new folder, “info”, if it does not already exist.
In the info folder you’ll then also need to create another new folder, “backgrounds”:
Now, place your desired background image into that folder, with the following conditions:
- It must be named backgroundDefault.jpg
- It must be smaller than 250k in size
- It probably should be the same width and height as your screen’s resolution (1600 x 900 in my example).
Log out and you’ll see your new background image as the login screen background image:
A video walk through of the process, step by step: