How-To Geek

Customize Your Welcome Picture Choices in Windows Vista

Everybody knows how to change their Vista logon/start menu picture, but if you select a new picture, Windows Vista removes the last picture from the list entirely, leaving just the new picture and the default pictures. Does anybody really use the robot or the fish picture?

What you can do instead is add your pictures to the list of default pictures, and delete pictures you’ll never use.

In case you don’t remember, you open Control Panel \ User Accounts \ Change Your Picture to get to the list of pictures.


All of the pictures are stored in a hidden folder buried deep within your program data directory.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures


All you have to do is just remove the pictures you don’t want, and add the pictures you do want. You just need to make sure that your pictures are 128×128 resolution in bitmap format. If you want the pictures to be ordered in a certain way, you can name them in order.

If you’d like to copy your current picture, it is stored in the following file:


The default user picture (the flower) is stored in the following file:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp


Now that we’ve customized the list of pictures, you can see that the baby tux picture I added is still in the list, even though we’re using one of the default pictures.

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 07/29/07

Comments (18)

  1. Wayne London

    Thank you for reminding me where this was. I wanted to change my picture and name but forgot how. Wayne

  2. chris

    This is great! I was wondering, however, is there a way to change the welcome picture for fingerprint sign on?

  3. Ben

    You don’t need to go to ‘start – control panel’.
    You can simply press ‘windows’ and type ‘user acc…’
    This applies to most things in control panel.

  4. Morgan

    Why does there seem to be a “halo” light on the picture that you choose to be your default? You can even see it in your example above in the chess picture. This is also a problem with contact pictures in Windows Vista Outlook Express. I’ve searched the internet for answer to no avail.

  5. Tom Gatliff

    is there a way to make the welcome photos larger?

  6. ph15h

    :( I use the fish as mine.

  7. willow891

    Is there a way to remove the picture altogether? I would just like to see a screen to enter my password and thats it.

  8. slick007

    I wanted to keep the vista logon screen but remove the picture. I found that the easiest way to do it is to simply use GIMP or what ever u like and create a .gif file that has a transparent background and then set it as your picture.

  9. Lara W.

    Heh heh…I use the fish….

  10. Rocketdoctor

    Like Morgan I want to get rid of the horrible halo and can find nowhere to say how.

  11. Ben

    I solved it – get a liveCD of Ubuntu, format and install.
    Ubuntu installs in 20 minutes, and works.

    To unzip a file from my USB to desktop took me 17 minutes in Vista, I tried it with XP and it took 5 minutes – but then I tried it in Ubuntu and it took only 12 seconds – and that’s with all the thumnails painted and finished…

    Try it out, you can dualboot (Vista does, however, have a rather nasty loader – GRUB is nice, I can edit a text file to decide what Operating system is first, second, default etc. and adjust all the options also. Eventually, I stopped using Vista, and just use XP for games and Ubuntu for everything else.

  12. George

    I think the halo effect has something to do Aero but not sure. No one has any ideas?

  13. flog

    Vista–how do you change a name that appears on lower right corner of desktop?

    It lists “Windows Vists [TM[”
    “Build 6002”

  14. lwl

    hi does any1 knmows how to change the user account display pic into a webcam instead. i had when pple log in, instead of a display pic, its actually the webcam of the com capturing wat is happening ard. any1 knows how to change tt?

  15. RB

    About the halo thing above th pictures. Unfortunately, I do not believe you can remove this, the programmers of vsta had put it there in the first place because they thought it looks good. Personally, I find it quite attractive but if you do not like it, unlucky, but your going to have to live with it… Sorry.

  16. calvin


  17. calvin

    oh my god i want to play halo3

  18. John Glen

    oh yes finally that se xy file i want to s ex you how to geek suck my peni s and i s uck your pu ssy h ole

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