• ARTICLES
SEARCH

How-To Geek

Make Your Windows XP Logon Screen Look Like Windows Vista

Have you ever wondered how to change the default Windows XP logon screen? Today I got the crazy idea to figure out how to make it look like Windows Vista instead, so I’m writing that up for you.

You’ll have to download and install the free LogonStudio application and make sure that it is set as the default logon handler, which is easy since it will prompt you when you first open it. (Note that this is the same application you can use to customize Windows Vista’s logon screen.)

The three default welcome screens aren’t very impressive, but there’s a ton of great ones on the wincustomize site, including the Vista one you see here.

image

Next, download and open the Windows Vista Ultimate Logon screen for XP, and select it in LogonStudio as shown above. Once you hit the Apply button, you’ll see your Vista-style logon screen for XP:

image

Note that this will not work if you are logging into a domain, or if you use the classic style logon with Ctrl+Alt+Del. There’s a way to customize that background image, which I’ll cover in another article.

Download LogonStudio for XP from stardock.com

Download Windows Vista Ultimate Logon Screen for XP

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/25/08

Comments (27)

  1. usmdesigner

    “Note that this will not work if you are logging into a domain, or if you use the classic style logon with Ctrl+Alt+Del. There’s a way to customize that background image, which I’ll cover in another article.”

    mmmmm… waiting

  2. JC

    I honestly don’t comprehend why everyone wants to customize their operating system to look or act like Windows Vista if they own something other then Vista.

  3. C

    I have assumed that the hacks you write are not going to frig up my system in any way.
    Please tell me my assumption is correct.

  4. The Geek

    There’s always a risk anytime you are making changes to your system. As far as hacks go, this one should be relatively mild.

  5. HASH

    @C Dont worry i have used this program on my vista os, works great no viruses or any such problem.

    never thought it will work on vista, so i may try it now, thanks geek.

    @JC Theres some people out there, who like to customize, change their appearance of their desktop, theme etc, besides VISTA is sexy! :)

  6. MLL

    @Hash
    Yes, I’m one of those individuals who like to customize my GUI to my personal settings with Rocket Dock, custom window themes, icons, registry editors, the whole work.

    However my comment was to reflect that everyone is obsessed with Vista for no apparent reason except that it is “pretty looking”. This is something that you even agreed with, which as a tech guy irritates me beyond belief. If you want to have the appearance of Vista, then go out and purchase the damn operation system. Since 3/4 of the applications that are used to change the appearance can cause massive damage to your current system.

    Hell my buddy used the popular overall Vista theme changer to make his XP look and act almost like Vista. After a week of use, his system started to experience multiple errors involving windows explorer. Even after removing the application, he continues to have errors occur that tell him his windows explorer needs to close and so forth.

  7. Kyle G

    the great thing about logon studio is that you can make your own. My XP desktop machine now has a fantastic image I took in my front yard as my logon screen :)

  8. FOXnWOLF

    Hi, anything new on changing the “text” on the Start button in XP yet? I found one particular software that does it for you (you just type in what you want and it appears) but when you restart its back to normal. There must be a program out there somewhere that can fix this without having to dive in to all these yellow folders and physically changing parameters. Some of these work and others just crash your system. Any info appreciated…………………..FOXnWOLF

  9. Christian

    @FOXnWOLF
    try metacafe.com.. ive tried this before and it worked. http://www.metacafe.com/watch/797383/change_the_text_on_the_start_menu_button/

  10. FOXnWOLF

    Christian, thanks a bunch buddy, worked first time like a dream. In fact have tried a couple of times with different words and it works first time and every time. If it has screwed up some ones system in the past they just have not done it properly. They shouldn’t mess around with “Boys Toys” and get a day job. I am running XP with SP2. Oh, one more thing, it will work with up to (7) seven letters. No more than that or system hiccups a bit. And it does not like Numerics, keep to Alpha only…….Regards from FOXnWOLF

  11. -window_hacker-

    hey dudes if you want to see the picture of my desktop completely look like vista and behave like vista even the boot screen is vista, all of the files that looks XP is now vista…

    This is the last application i downloaded and i made everything to behave like vista…

    now i have a vista – XP computer….

    SWeet….

    thanks for this link…

    i didnt downloaded the logon studio cause i already have a windows costumizer…

    anyway thanks for the link…

  12. nicooo

    is there a way to alter the background image i tried in photoshop and used reshacker but it makes a error does it have to be a certain size or bit ?

  13. Ramsheed

    This is fantastic

  14. Rob

    …. It don’t work.

  15. FOXnWOLF

    Dear Rob

    “….It don`t work”

    Hey buddy, that comment does nothing to help you whatsoever. Can you explain what didnt work in less than 3 words??????????????????

  16. Othniel

    Hey thats my logon… owhh nevermind version 2 is out. [http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=9465&libid=26&c=1]

  17. Ice Cream

    That doesn’t look like Vista logon screen! I’ve got Vista, and it doesn’t look anything like that!

  18. reiss

    the skin on that site doesnt exist anymore
    have any alternatives?

  19. CyberShadow

    @JC
    first of all, (in training) geeks are searching this kind of tutorials not to really change to Vista’s logon screen.. This Tutorial is perfect for other types of logon screens.. And like most of geeks know (i’ll assume that you don’t), Vista is a troublemaker system… It’s F-U-L-L of bugs (yeah microsoft really expresses the definition of bugs *_* ).. By the way, for all who is reading this comment, please, if you can chose between XP and Vista, pick the obvious one (XP)… Or just hang a little more and see how Windows Seven is… Don’t try the beta because, it’s kinda buggy xD !
    Farewell

  20. Andrew

    Great job on this

  21. Vikram

    Thanks. I use tuneUp Styler of tuneup utilities

  22. Vincent

    i have the classic one how can i change it plsssssss answer me

  23. Running

    im confused what is a domain

  24. That Geek

    It is possible to customise the background image at all?

  25. harold

    hi thats great
    in so happy that ive found it
    thank you..

  26. Allex

    hey…. i have this and it works perfect… but can you make something that will have the spinnig circle at welcome screen , this hasn’t…

  27. Neetesh

    It does not changes my logon screen……….

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!