Make Windows XP Use a Custom Theme for the Classic Logon Screen

By Lowell Heddings on May 16th, 2008

This article was written by our excellent reader Leon Steadman.

In a previous article, we covered how to customize the logon screen for Windows XP, but that method only worked if you are using the regular logon screen. What about all the people that are forced to use the boring classic logon screen instead?

image

For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming that you are using one of the custom themes for XP, either official or unofficial.

Copy Background Image to Logon Screen

You can copy your current background image to the logon screen desktop using Tweak UI. Just navigate down to Logon \ Settings on the left-hand side, check the box for Wallpaper and click the Copy Now button:

image 

Choose Custom Theme for the Logon Screen

In order to copy the custom theme to the Logon screen, we’ll have to do a little digging, and then some registry hacking.

First, go to %SystemRoot%\Resources\Themes in Explorer and go into the folder of the name of the theme you wish to use on the logon screen, e.g. %SystemRoot%\Resources\Themes\Royale Remixed. Make a note of the name and path of the .msstyles file, e.g. “Royale Remixed.msstyles”.

image

Next, in Regedit go to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ThemeManager and double-click the DllName key. Now change the value to the path of the .msstyles file you just made a note of (however be sure to replace the “C:\Windows” part – or wherever your Windows folder is – with %SystemRoot%).

image

Back in Explorer, navigate into the Shell folder inside your theme folder and make a note of the name of the folder of the colour scheme you wish to use on your logon screen, e.g. “Noir”. NB this may not exactly correspond with the colour scheme listed in the Appearance tab of the Display control panel dialogue, but you can make an educated guess.

E.g. for my theme there are three colour schemes listed in the Appearance tab (Royale, Royale Noir and Royale Zune) and three folders in Explorer (Noir, NormalColor and Zune).

image

Back in Regedit, double-click the ColorName key and change the value to be the name of the folder you just made a note of retaining capitalisation/spaces etc.

image

Close Regedit and log off. You should now see that your logon screen has the same theme as your desktop.

logon

The custom theme used in most of the images is called Royale Remixed and can be found at DeviantArt (requires uxtheme patch).

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 05/16/08
More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!