How to Change the Windows Login Screen Message and Font
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Everyone knows how about the Windows “look”, but what if you’re feeling a bit tired of seeing the same old thing each time you switch on your computer?

Windows 10 and the earlier Windows 7 each have good options for tweaking the login screen. Here’s how to access those options and configure the login screen to look just how you want.

Customize the Login Screen on Windows 10

You have two options for customizing the Windows 10 login screen: the message, and the background.

Change the Windows 10 Login Screen Message

Whether you use a desktop, laptop, or even a Surface-like tablet, it’s possible to set a custom login screen message. This has various uses, from delivering a corporate message, to making the end user smile. It might also be useful if your device goes missing, displaying your address to the finder.

Note that the actual login screen itself will remain unchanged. Rather, a new screen will be displayed, with an OK prompt, before the login screen.

Start by opening the Registry Editor by pressing WIN+R and typing regedit. Click OK, then browse the left-hand pane for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Expand this entry, following the path Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Policies\System.

Under System, in the right-hand pane, you should see a registry item, legalnoticecaption. Right-click this and select Modify, and under Value Data input a heading for your new message. Some sort of hail, or attention-grabbing phrase, should do.

Change the login message in Windows 10

Next, find legalnoticetext. Again, right-click to Modify, this time entering into Value Data a more detailed message.

This might be something like “Log in to access the ACME Plc network” or “If found, please return to…” Ultimately, it needs to be a message that serves some sort of purpose, otherwise there’s not much point in changing anything!

With the message input, click OK to confirm, then exit the Windows Registry. Next, restart Windows to apply the registry tweak.

Set a message to appear when Windows 10 boots

Your new Windows 10 login message should be displayed! You’ll need to click OK to reach the login screen.

It isn’t only this message you can tweak from the Windows Registry. Here are five more registry tweaks you can make in Windows 10 5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features 5 Windows 10 Registry Tweaks to Improve & Unlock Features The registry editor is the only way to enable some of Windows 10's hidden features. Here we'll show you easy tweaks like enabling the dark theme or hiding folders. Read More .

Add a New Windows 10 Login Screen Background

In addition to the login screen message, you can also change the background.

Change the login screen background on Windows 10

Hit WIN+I to open the Settings screen and select Personalization > Lock Screen. Find the Background drop-down menu and select between Windows spotlight (images from Microsoft), Picture, and Slideshow. The latter two options let you select images from your own library.

Now, as this new image is specifically for the lock screen at this stage, you’ll also need to ensure the Show lock screen background picture on the sign-on screen option is switched to On. Otherwise, the lock screen with display a different image, or remain blank. Once you’re done, close the Settings screen. (Check our full guide to the Windows 10 Settings menu How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide The Windows control panel is on its way out. Its replacement, the Settings app, has received a significant upgrade in Windows 10. We'll reveal all its secrets for you. Read More for more.)

Again, you should sign out of Windows to check that the tweak has been applied. If all has gone to plan, you should have a new Windows 10 lock screen background and accompanying message!

Unfortunately, that’s as far as you can go in Windows 10. Tweaks are limited to the login screen message and background; you cannot change the font. However, other Windows 10 tweaks are available, such as switching the desktop wallpaper to an animated background How to Set Live Wallpapers & Animated Desktop Backgrounds in Windows 10 How to Set Live Wallpapers & Animated Desktop Backgrounds in Windows 10 Want to liven up your Windows 10 desktop with some animated backgrounds? Here's what you need to do. Read More .

Customize the Windows 7 Login Screen

While tweaks are limited on Windows 10, things are a bit more generous on Windows 7. Here, you can customize the login screen message, as well as the login screen font.

Change the Windows 7 Login Screen Message

Intended for Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit computers with Service Pack 1 installed, the following can be done with or without User Account Control active. You will also need a copy of Resource Hacker, a free tool designed to enable you to modify, add, rename, delete and view resources in Windows EXE files.

While this is downloading, open C:\Windows\System32\en-US\ (note that non-English versions of Windows will have a different folder name, such as \es-ES\ for Spanish) and find winlogon.exe.mui.

Assign an owner to an object in Windows 7

Right-click this file and select Properties > Security > Advanced > Owner.

In this window, click Edit and then under Change owner to, select your own login name and click Apply. Click OK to proceed and select OK to exit these windows and the original Properties box.

Assign permissions to a Windows 7 object

Once done, return to Properties > Security and select Edit. In the following box, click Add and search for your login name; it should resolve as PCNAME\USERNAME.

Select this, click OK to add the login, and you will be returned to the Security tab. From here, click Advanced > Permissions > Change Permissions, and under Permission Entries select the newly added entry and click Edit.

Select the Full Control checkbox in the Allow column, then click OK, and then Apply to exit.

You should then copy the winlogon.exe.mui to a new location, preferably your desktop.

Run as admin in Windows 7

Next, install Resource Hacker and launch the software from the Windows Start menu by right-clicking and selecting Run as Administrator.

Agree to the UAC notice and when the application has loaded open File > Open.In the Files of type box select All files (*.*), browse to the desktop and load winlogon.exe.mui into Resource Hacker.

Tweak a file with Resource Hacker

You will see that the tool has a similar interface to the Windows Registry Editor, so expand String Table > 63 > 1033 and in the right pane update the entries in quotes on lines 1002 and 1005—this will be your new Windows 7 login screen message!

Change the Windows 7 login message

Ensure the quotes remain in place, and click Compile Script then File > Save to complete the process.

Close Resource Hacker and copy the winlogon.exe.mui file back to C:\Windows\System32\en-US\ (choosing Copy and Replace). Open Start and type CMD, right-clicking the resulting command prompt icon and selecting Run as administrator.

Run mcbuilder in the Windows 7 command prompt

Type mcbuilder and tap Enter, then wait until the process is complete (the cursor will flash on a new line).

When done, type exit and tap Enter to close the command prompt.

You’ll need to restart Windows to complete the process and confirm your changes.

To undo this and restore the original message, simply start the process again, replacing your custom message with “Welcome”.

Alternatively, delete winlogon.exe.mui and replace it with the winlogon.exe_original.mui file created by Resource Hacker, making sure to give it the old filename.

Select a New Windows 7 Login Screen Font

While changing the login screen message might take a while, changing the font is much quicker.

Open Start and type regedit, tapping Enter to launch the utility and agreeing to any UAC prompts (before proceeding use File > Export to make a backup of your Windows Registry—useful if an error is made).

Use the Registry Editor to tweak the Windows 7 login screen

Expand the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes and find MS Shell Dlg in the right pane#

Right click on this and select Modify.

In the resulting box, input the name of the font you wish to use (check C:\Windows\Fonts for a list of currently installed choices), and repeat for the entry MS Shell Dlg 2 (note that the default option is Tahoma).

Once this is done, close the Windows registry and restart your computer to apply the changes. (While you can also logoff and login, locking your computer will not display the new font.)

The Login Text Is Too Light/Dark!

Changing the color of the Windows login screen font isn’t possible.

However, you can change the weight of the text—that is, how prominent it appears in front of your chosen background.

To do this, return to the Windows Registry Editor and expand the path HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LoginUI.

Change the login screen text weight in Registry Editor

In the right-hand pane, right-click some empty space, and select New > DWORD, naming it ButtonSet.

Once this is done, double click to edit the value, clicking OK when you’re done. You have a choice of the following:

0: This gives lighter text shadows, darker buttons and is the default choice.

1: Suitable for lighter backgrounds, this option offers darker text shadows and lighter buttons.

2: Intended for a darker background, text shadows are removed, and buttons are opaque.

When your choice is made, close Registry Editor and restart Windows to check the results.

Change Your Windows Login Screen!

We’ve looked at login screen tweaks for two versions of Windows, those that are currently most popular: Windows 7, and Windows 10.

To recap, if you want to tweak the Windows 10 login screen, you must:

  • Open the Windows Registry
  • Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Expand this entry, following the path Software / Microsoft / Windows / Current Version / Policies / System
  • Right-click legalnoticecaption, select Modify, and under Value Data input your new message.

For tweaks to the Windows 7 login screen, meanwhile, you can:

  • Change the login screen message
  • Change the login screen font
  • Adjust the weight of the text, making it lighter or darker

Although third party software and changes to the Windows Registry are required to make these customizations, the results can be impressive, especially when combined with a custom login screen background.

Looking for more Windows tweaks? Here are six tools for tweaking the Windows 10 Start menu 6 Tools to Tweak the Windows 10 Start Menu 6 Tools to Tweak the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines the best features of Windows 7 with Windows 8 live tiles. If you'd prefer a different look and long for a major overhaul, here are the tools you'll need. Read More .

Explore more about: Windows Customization, Windows Registry.

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  1. Robert Hale
    October 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for this article and the KAREN'S free program! Wonderful results! Takes a little trial and error to format my page as needed, but SO worth the time.

  2. Stuart Dunn
    November 3, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Interesting read. I tried to change my log in font, editing MS Shell Dlg and MS Shell Dlg 2 did not alter my log in text at all, but did change the text for all Windows functions once I am logged on (i,e program properties etc.)

    • Thomas H
      November 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Tried changing login font too but same problem here; it changed all interface texts, but not my login screen... :s

    • Thomas H
      November 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Also, is it possible to change the entire login interface? Guess not, since I spent hours of searching, which yielded no results whatsoever... :(

    • koushik
      June 22, 2018 at 6:24 am

      I can't gain access to windows system 32 folder

  3. Silviu Despa
    August 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Time to customize Windows! Great article!

  4. Jose Pereira
    August 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Great tutorial but isn't there an easier way to change the logon screan? I found some great themes here http://topwindows7themes.com but I can not change my logon screan and I had read somewhere about a Windows 7 Logon Background Changer software. Isn't this program much easier to use and have you tried it?

  5. Igor Rizvi?
    August 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Grat arcile,you can even change the background picture if your using glary utlities

  6. Rifai A. L
    August 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Nice article, but will it violate MS TOS !

  7. Daniel Voyles
    July 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    No screenshot of the finished product? Could have used an emulator to get it.

  8. Evan Spangler
    July 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I am going to make my computer even more Star Wars-ish!

  9. Evan Spangler
    July 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    This is perfect! I am going to make my computer even more Star Wars-ish!

  10. Suman Acharya
    July 28, 2012 at 6:15 am

    a lil work...cool and nice article i'm gonna try thsi : :: : : : but you should've provided it with sharing options.

  11. Rigoberto Garcia
    July 28, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Great article Christian. Should try it out...

  12. Fatih Hamzah
    July 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Is it OK to change the owner? is there any problem to PC after change the owner? how about the security after doing that?

  13. Alan Wade
    July 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    You can change the shut-down message following your tutorial but navigating to winint.exe.mui instead of winlogon.exe.mui.
    To complete the set, there is a third party app that will change the boot screen message called Win7BootUpdater.exe available from here: http://www.coderforlife.com/projects/win7boot/

    I love customizing my machine, and spend many hours doing so.

  14. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    No need to change these settings.

    • Alan Wade
      July 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      I'm sorry and dont wish to be rude but what the hell are you talking about?

    • Suman Acharya
      July 28, 2012 at 6:17 am

      who is forcing you??

      • Muhammad Ahmad
        July 28, 2012 at 6:33 am

        no one is forcing me. But I don't like to change it personally.

  15. Alan Wade
    July 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Might be worth mentioning that a reboot may be needed, it was on my machine.

    Neat trick, Thanks!!

    • Alan Wade
      July 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Another thing, the file 1033 is for English systems, this file number will be different on other systems. For example, it is 1053 on my Swedish system.

      • Tina
        July 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks for the heads-up, Alan!

        • Alan Wade
          July 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

          No problem at all.

  16. sriramv24
    July 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Thanks! Nice instructions...

  17. Elaheh Sadegh
    July 27, 2012 at 4:17 am

    I really wanted to share this page on twitter and FB with my friends,but I can't find any share button under the article!

    • Tina
      July 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Looks like something is wrong with this article. I can't see them either, but they appear fine on other articles. I have asked James to look into this. Thanks for wanting to share!!!

  18. Elaheh Sadegh
    July 27, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I should try this at work , sounds really fun.thanks

  19. Victor Kang
    July 27, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Easy to follow

  20. MerVzter Balacuit
    July 27, 2012 at 12:29 am

    thumbs up!!

  21. Dylan Brendan
    July 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Great Article!! Thank you!