How-To Geek

Customize Your Windows Vista Logon Screen

For those of us looking to customize the Windows Vista UI experience, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing the default logon screen every time you start up your computer, or when you lock your workstation. Thankfully the nice folks at Stardock have created a free utility to replace the logon screen with any wallpaper you choose.

All you have to do is download and install the utility, and click the apply button to immediately see the changes. (It will lock your computer to show you, so you’ll have to use your password to unlock it)


The utility is remarkably easy to use, just click on an entry in the list, and use the Apply button to select it. The download button will take you to the directory of logon screens on WinCustomize.


You can also click the Create button and choose any image you want. For instance, if you wanted to have the logon screen match your desktop wallpaper, just choose the wallpaper using the browse button.


You can then save the wallpaper as a logon screen file and even share it with other people on WinCustomize.

Download LogonStudio from Stardock (Free)

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 07/20/07

Comments (100)

  1. Neut

    Great! Thanks!
    Keep on Geekin’.

  2. ricardo

    is it possible to change the buttont and user avatar’s place?

  3. The Geek

    I’m not sure that it’s possible to change the location of that… I imagine there’s some way to do it, but I’m not aware of it.

  4. ricardo

    I wish it was possible… ’cause some logon screens are awesome looking, but with the big avatar and password insert box in the middle of the screen, they just don’t show their “awesomeness” in it’s fullest :( :( :(

  5. Bojanv

    Cool site and i hope, that you will keep the good work..

  6. Tresurhart

    What I want is a secure logon screen only. I want the user to be requirede to type their screen name & password. I do not want the name of the last screen name logged on to be remembered.

  7. Ivan

    is this safe and can i uninstall this if i want at any time??

  8. Jones

    Very nice instructions

    Tresurhart – the security option you expressed has been an option set in the Security Policy or in Group Policy – type “security” in the Vista Quick Search box. Under Security Settings->Local Policies->Security Options->select to enable “Interactive Logon: Do not display last user name”

    You’ll find many other options for further security right there.

  9. Toby Adams

    where has this site been all my life, ITS FANTASTIC!!!!!! just a question, im after the orange nebula theme for this, and i cant seem to find it anywhere, help anyone?


  10. Mike (OLd-Man)

    This program slowed my pc down right off the bat. I uninstaled right away. Becarfull. Affects are good but to me it’s not worth that much slow down.


  11. Toby Adams

    Love this, and how exactly can it slow your computer down??? it doesnt install anything, it merely changes an image and adjusts a few registry settings.

    Where can i get my hands on this orange nebula, it looks pretty sweet?!?!?!?!

  12. Chi

    How can you custimize your theme and wallpaper and task bar, menu bar? an example of what i mean is in the following link.

    please would you help me, im looking to change and custumize my desktop and others too.

  13. The Geek


    You’ll need to install WindowBlinds or get the theme patcher and install a custom theme.

  14. jd2066

    @Toby Adams: Actually I bet this program does install something to change it as I don’t think Vista has a way though the registry to change the login wallpaper.

  15. The Geek

    The logon wallpaper (and boot screen wallpaper) are stored in a .dll file somewhere, which has to be patched in order to change the wallpaper.

  16. jd2066

    @The Geek: I don’t think so. I’m not exactly sure how Stardock does it with LoginStudio but from what I can tell with stuff like Bootskin and WindowBlinds, Stardock has ways to do things that don’t involve patching Windows .dll files (A bad idea).

  17. jd2066

    I just asked how it works at
    From the answer it appears to be a little of both a logonui.exe is patched but LoginStudio patches a copy loginuiX.exe and tells Windows to use it instead.
    It appears “Toby Adams” was right assuming you replace “it doesnt install anything” with “it doesn’t run anything in the background that could slow things down” as it does install something, the program to change the wallpaper for the login screen.
    For boot screens, how it’s done with the Bootskin program is listed at

  18. jd2066

    It appears that it only true with the XP version, the Vista version does patch a dll file.
    I guess Stardock decided patching imageres.dll wouldn’t cause problems.
    Sorry for the triple post here, I should have checked how it worked before posting.

  19. Joe Ford

    Where is the Logon Screen stored on Windows XP? Can I update it without using Stardock?

  20. jd2066

    In XP the login screen is stored in LoginUI.exe and the only way to change the wallpaper is to use a program like LoginStudio.

  21. Joe Ford

    Are you sure? I found “logon.scr” in C:\Windows\system32. Is that not the correct one?

  22. jd2066

    Yes, I’m fairly sure. Microsoft has started to embed images in dll files that aren’t easily changed. Stardock is one of the software companies that figures out how to replace those images and make software to change it.
    From what I’ve read Microsoft makes things like this hard to change on purpose. In part because of UI consistency (So someone can use many different computers but have the UI as it could be confusing for other people if a bunch of things with different) and part branding (So someone with aways know it’s Microsoft Windows).
    logon.scr is the screen saver the logon screen uses, the one with the Windows flag that goes up and down. Also .scr is the normal screen saver format.

  23. nani

    does this slow down you startup?

  24. elio hasa

    this is a good microsft but i couldnt install it from internett

  25. george

    do you have to dowload somethink to use ctrl alt delete to log on ?

  26. Joe Ford

    For the Ctl, Alt, Del logon, go into CONTROL PANEL, USER ACCOUNTS and CHANGE THE WAY USERS LOGON. Uncheck both the USE THE WELCOME SCREEN and the USE FAST USER SWITCHING boxes. That should fix it.

  27. InDiSent

    I use tweakUI to match my logon wallpaper to my desktop wallpaper.

  28. Toby Adams

    Not the orange nebula, but i think this one is still nice. It fits in a bit better with the overall vista colour scheme too.

  29. Casper42

    Not sure about Vista as I dont have one in front of me, but I know in Windows XP the Logon Wallpaper can be easily changed by editing the registry and not hacking any DLLs. Check the following location in Vista and see if it works the same way.

    HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop
    Then on the right side look for “Wallpaper”

    If your not sure what to change this to, set your desktop background to what you want to use and then go to the following path and you will see what the entries should look like.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

    Wallpaper Style right under Wallpaper is basically a numeric value that equals Stretch, Tile, Regular, etc.

    as far as the person way up above who asked about editing the Avatar for your account so you dont just get the Rubber Duck or the Dog or the Chess Peices….

    I found these files on the machine somewhere when I was playign with Vista one day but for the life of me I don’t remember where. Its either in the user’s profile folder, or the Default User or All Users profile or was buried under the Windows folder somewhere. But once you find the folder, you can add your own as long as they are the same dimensions and file type and then go pick the new one from the list.

  30. Casper42

    Looks like I may have found it on a Windows 2008 (Vista Server) machine

    avatar location: C:\Users\All Users\Microsoft\User Account Pictures

  31. jd2066

    @Casper42: That only applies to the classic login screen. You still need a program like LoginStudio to change the new login screen in Windows XP.
    For Vista you do need a program like that as the classic logon screen was removed.

  32. Kalin


  33. AVS

    Hey,does anybody out there knows how to use the sexy Vista Logon Screens on a XP machine ? I tried logon vista but it said it wont work unless you have got vista on your laptop .Pllllllllllz show me some site where I can get these vista logon screens so that i may couple it with softwares like TUNE-UP to use them.

  34. jd2066

    @AVS: Try using LoginStudio for WIndows XP. The download is at
    If you list what Vista Logon Screens you are referring to I can tell you if they will work with LogonStudio for Windows XP.

  35. saed

    ooooooooh that’s really great. keep it up.

  36. Fezzyshanebob

    is there anyway you can randomize different logons for each time you log on?

  37. PABICO11

    This is great guys! tnx a lot. more power and GOD BLESS

  38. user551

    Here’s the Orange Nebula image, for those interested:

  39. flash_659

    I’m running Vista SP1 and the installer is an .efw file and when try to open it nothing happens. I went into the properties of the file and its says that its an HIPS Email Attachment or something. Help please.

  40. Daniel

    Sorry to double post I fixed the problem, cant wait to use logon studio.

  41. geek860

    I’ve installed and uninstalled it 3 times so far, each time I try to open it it simply ‘Stopped Working’. Never opens properly. Always installed with Run As Admin. Vista SP1. Anyone else have this problem?

    Great program but unable to use it…(and yes I did download the vista version)

  42. agacult

    I absolutely LOVE!! my cool new logon screen! Thanks again for all the great tips geek.

  43. Jim Mills

    Thank you so very much for this and many other Vista tips, Geek.

    Also, a big thanks to user551 for the link to the Orange Nebula background.

  44. 2of3

    I am a skinner at and can assure all of you that Stardock’s software is completely safe to use.

    I used to do a lot of logons and upload them to WC when I used xp. With Logonstudio Vista, you can only change the wallpaper at the moment. Great for personal use, but not worth uploading a logon that took 3 minutes to make!

    I hope that sometime soon Stardock will make a version of LS vista which will allow me to skin all aspects of the logon.

    My gallery at Wincustomize:

  45. Ulrik Grove

    Does anyone know how disable Vista’s fading to the login background during shutdown? My problem is that when I choose to shutdown, vista fades to the blank login background, then goes back to my desktop, and then fades once again to the login background with the message “shutdown…”. I’m thinking that disabling the annoying fade might increase the shutdown speed. Any help would be appreciated.

  46. Ag

    Doesnt work on x64 versions of vista

  47. Ricky

    how do you get the windows golden vista logon for your logon screen??

  48. 2of3

    You can download this wallpaper:

    Then load it into Logonstudio Vista

  49. sebastian

    Does anyone of you have an idea how i can chang the logon screen manual ???

  50. Josh

    I have Vista and I downloaded the logon application for Vista. However, from what I can tell it lacks the ability to change the screen like the application that was designed for XP. With the XP version I was able to edit text, colors and placement of boxes. Is there a way I can do this with the Vista program?

  51. mu

    i was actually wondering the same thing. it would be awesome to re-position the User Account pic and login box but as far as i know, it’s impossible at the moment. stardock is logon app is the best choice right now for any changes to the logon so im waiting on its developers to come up with something.

    (just for the record, ive been searching high and low for a program, patch, regedit, etc. that would allow me to adjust such settings but so far no luck. when i say ‘high and low’ i mean over 50 sites featuring tweaks and the like.)

  52. Mark

    I got the logon studio but everytime I try to apply my picture it just puts me on the original logon screen. There is no password needed, so why is vista locking me out for trying to mess with it?

    Help is need please Mr Geek man!

  53. sam

    is there a way to save the orange nebula picture so i can have that as my background and not just my logon screen. i like that picture! or a link to where i can get it from. thankyou! :D

  54. Jooza

    Sam, read the comments above. The orange
    nebula image question has already been asked.

    If u don’t want to take the time to use your head
    and READ, then messing with settings in windows
    is not the kind of fire you should be playing with.

  55. Lovee Sachdeva

    Great Work. Thanx.

  56. amit

    Hey i have a better idea……

    just download reshacker……(if u do not have any idea about how to download just use google search ……)

    run this program ….. and klick on “file” then “open”……

    in little window open “c:\windows\system32\imageres.dll”

    click on view and choose “expand tree”.

    now u will find here all logon screen u can change these screens easily using this small tool……

    enjoy buddies…………

    bye and have a nice time………….

  57. John


    Not true, for XP, you do not need LoginStudio to change the logonui.exe file, all you have to do is boot into Safe Mode and replace the file. I’ve done this many times. Why are you promoting LoginStudio so hard anyway? I’d use the Safe Mode method any day over a 3rd party software.

  58. Wolferz

    Thank you Amit! This is truly the thing I was looking for to modify my Login. I did not want to install any additional software, ad was unsure of it working on a 64bit system at any ate, especially 7. The ResHacker worked great and there are many imaes there. Now I just need to find out the resolutions of the images and I will be set!

  59. Jamal Alleyne

    I tried using this program on my PC but it just crashes. Is it strictly for ultimate only because i use premium and it never works.

  60. sum1else

    Is there any way to make it that my screen will turn off while on my login screen with this program? If I don’t lock my computer, my screensaver will work, and then my screen will turn off. Whenever I lock it, it stays on the screensaver and won’t turn off. I have it set to turn of my screen after 10 minutes, but it won’t all night if I lock my computer. Anybody have any solutions to that or notice that happening?

  61. Pablo24k

    Once you create the logon wallpaper you want with stardock is there a way to locate that created wallpaper and replace vista’s original with it…So that stardock is not needed any more…..?

  62. Ryan

    1) Does this also change the Log Off Screen?
    Does it apply the same image to both the Log/on & Log/Off or can I have 1 for each?
    i.e. a hello screen & a goodbye screen

    I am still weary though after having experienced slow load issues when I tried this with XP a couple years back (using Chameleon XP).

    Why doesnt Microsoft just ship this functionality with the OS itself… Seems like a no brainer to me…

  63. paco

    great utility and great thread.
    one thing i can’t figure out is the frame of the logon pic you choose always has that glow on the top half. anyone know how to configure it so it displays the image you select _without_ that filter on half the window?

  64. mikey

    I would like to know if there is any way to remove the version of windows from the login screen, because I found one with letters there, and it looks like a mess with both. It would be great if I got an answer, or if i’m directed to somewhere with the answer.
    Thank you!

  65. Conor

    I need to know how to download it without the administrator’s password!

  66. hill

    i installed the logonvista but when i try to open it the application closes please help

  67. Raze

    does anybody know how to get rid of the windows sign and info at the bottom of the logon screen?
    it kinda spoils the whole pic.

  68. Jean

    this is great info, but is it possible to change the screen saver that appears when this screen goes idle?

  69. Shail

    How Come Your Picture Is Bigger?

  70. Rahul

    As requested by a previous comment, is it possible to remove the ‘glow’ off the log-in picture. It’s bloody annoying and ruins the pictures. Much appreciated.

  71. Alex

    Can I possibly install this on my school laptop (Vista Business) without any admin rights?

  72. Carl

    Thanks for the share The Geek, question though, how do I modify the “Windows Vista Ultimate” logo below the login screen?

  73. Kalle

    I can´t open the program! I need help…

  74. diana

    help?? my desktop is sideways how do i put it back????? my 3 year old touched something and i cant get it back the right way?

  75. chiefcreeper

    @AG works fine with 64 bit

  76. Britta

    Worked PERFECTLY, looks incredible and didn’t slow down a thing. Thanks!

  77. Alice

    How do I make my user picture larger on the log in screen?Because its small unlike the example above.

  78. lolskinib

    I tried downloading LogonStudio, but when installing, it always stops at 99%. Is there a way to fix this or maybe another way to customize the logon screen? Thanks.

  79. Qazi Nisar Ahmed

    How do I make my user picture larger on the log in screen?Because its small unlike the example above.

  80. shawna

    Hey I just wanna say I downloaded this and it is awesome. I am glad its free and also glad I could change my logon screen. Was sick of lines and colors. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!! :)

  81. Corrupted

    Can you change the colour of the fonts? I already have LogonStudio, but If I select a light coloured background I can’t read the font. Thanks in advance.

  82. rahul


  83. jay

    i download and did everything and my logon screen never changed any trouble shoot here please

  84. DEEPAK

    can i use vista logonstudio on my window xp……………..does it works

  85. jade

    doesnt work piece of crap

  86. Bree

    I Have This Screen That Pops Up When I Turn My Computer On And It Says That It Will Capture Pictures In 3 Seconds I Hate It And I Want It Off But I Dont Know How To Get It Off Because It Pops Up Everytime I Want To Login I Just Want To Get Rid Of It Plz Tell Me How To Get It Off.

  87. Dawn

    Hey! I got so excited when I saw this. :) I downloaded it successfully but even though i clicked on each picture it remains the same old blue log on screen. I’ve got vista starter so i guess it doesn’t match? Or maybe I did something wrong.. Well, anyway I just hope I can make it work. Thanks!

  88. Tommy

    thanks guys…it looks really awesome….:)

  89. Computer Tech from B C Web

    I don’t use any programs I replace the file in the windows folder in windows vista ultimate.TIF with a differnet image with the same name but you need photo shop or some program that will let you save an image to a (.TIF) file.

  90. Donovan

    Please help I installed a login screenchanger on windows 7 and now when I stArt up all I get is a black screen with mouse pointer…. Please help

    Email me

  91. Ryan McCurry

    Hello. i am wondering where the logon screen file is stored in windows Vista. i am trying to look for it for a friend. and I dont have Vista could anyone help?


  92. ashish

    it’s really amazing

  93. RacerMaster

    Try pressing Alt – Up Arrow. If that doesn’t work, open NVIDIA Control Panel or ATI Catalyst Control Center and look at the display options there. (I have an ATI only, so the following may not apply to you)

    ATI Catalyst Control Center
    Right click the desktop. Select “Graphics Properties” or “NVIDIA Control Panel.” In Catalyst, you might see a setup screen. Choose the “Basic” option and continue. Then click the “Quick Settings” tab. On the side panel, select “Display Setup.” Then select “Rotate the desktop image” and click “Go.” Make sure “Landscape” is selected on your display. Then click “Finish.” Then click “Exit.”

    Is this your own computer? If it isn’t, then why are you installing this software in the first place? If this is your own, you should know what the Administrator password is. When you first set up the computer, you made the account and chose a password for it (this wasn’t required, though). Most likely, the first account you made is the Administrator. If you don’t know the Administrator password and this is your own computer, then try this: This has to be your OWN computer. You cannot be a secondary user, you must own it.

  94. RacerMaster

    @flash_659: You sure that you downloaded the correct file?

  95. RacerMaster

    Please, go to the HTG forums instead of commenting. More people will notice your topic and respond.

  96. Miz

    My sister managed to change hers without having to download anything. I’m not sure how, that’s why I searched it, but she didn’t have to download a thing at all.

  97. Adam Mureiko

    If I copied the loginUI.exe file from XP to Windows 7, would 7 use the old XP login screen with the old user icons? How would you go about doing that? I like old looks.

  98. Phee

    Thanks for this site! My question is can I get rid of the little picture at the Logon screen. I can change the wallpaper and everything no prob I would just like to get rid of that little pic. I’m on Vista Home premium.

  99. iphoness

    Great job..thank you for giving such a excellent and quality product.

  100. WOndering

    I have the exact same question as Phee. I have the GAYYYY picture (of a flower). I want to vomit all over my keyboard.

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