change default background in Windows 7

Sometimes we want to change the background of machines as we get bored with default one. Sometimes we require to change the background as per the new updates to corporate policy. The background info is useful to display any help-desk numbers or any important messages. So it possible to change the default background in windows 7 by changing the registry and some settings via GPO. Below are some changes / modifications tricks required to do the same.

We will do below settings to achieve the target via GPO:

1)    Will create a local folder named info–>backgrounds under %windir%\system32\oobe

2)    Will copy the JPEG file backgroundDefault.jpg to the newly created path %windir%\system32\oobe\info\background\backgroundDefault.jpg

3)    Will modify the registry key for UI logon from 0 to 1. The key resided under below path HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Authentication\Logon UI\background

4)    Ensure the file name is set to backgroundDefault.jpg only. As this is the default setting in windows 7

5)    Ensure the file should be less than 256 KB.

Steps to do the above settings:

1)    Go to gpmc.msc. Select OU where we want to create the policy. Right click on the OU and select Create a GPO in this domain and link it here


2)    Named GPO as you wish and click OK

GPO Name

3)    The said GPO is now created for the selected OU

GPO Created

4)    Right Click on Background (Newly created GPO) and select edit. It will open the GPO editor screen.

5)    Go to Computer Setting–>Preferences–>Windows Settings. Right click on folder and select new folder. It will open the new folder dialog box

New Folder Properties

6)    Select action as create and provide the below path to create the folder named background


By default the folder is not created under oobe. This will use to place the login background image.

7)    In the same GPO right click on files and select new to create the new file which will update the background image. Here the Action we will set to Update and the Source file path and destination path will be as below

Source File(s): \\server\share\backgroundDefault.jpg

Destination File: %windir%\system32\oobe\info\background\backgroundDefault.jpg

New File Properties

8)    Now we have to set the registry DWord value from 0 to 1. Again in the same GPO right click on registry and select new

New Registry Item

9)    This will open new registry selection box. Please update the setting as below to modify the registry. The path will be as below.

HIVE will be: HKEY_LOCAL_Machine

Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Authentication\LogonUI\background

Value Name: OEMBackground

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Value Data: 1

new Registry Properties

10) Select apply and then OK to save the settings. Now we are set to change the default background to custom one.

Refresh the policy and do the group policy force Updation to apply the policy at earliest. This will modify the background with the custom one which we want to set.



1)    If the background image is not working then make sure the file is less that 250kb in size as this is a built in restriction presumably to prevent slow down in loading very large image files. To resize the image I use Paint .Net which is a free image editing app that allows you to configure the compression ratio on JPG files.

2)    Remember that if you use only the “backgroundDefault.jpg” file then it will stretch and skew the photo to fit the resolution of the screen. See the Within Windows article for the other files names that are used for specific screen resolutions/ratios.

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Posted in GPO Troubleshooting
3 comments on “change default background in Windows 7
  1. adapalkada says:

    Abhijit, I have read with great interest this post. And we are totally on the same page about getting board with the same old Win interface. At Pinstriped, that’s what we do: new interfaces for meetings and presentations. This may be interesting for you:

  2. Sangeethaa says:

    Abhijit,I would also like to thank you for keeping this blog alive and well up to date. very helpful. thanks.

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