Configure the login and Welcome Screen in Vista

5 October 2007 by Snakefoot | Comment » | Trackback Off
The Welcome Screen is enabled by default and is shown at startup, where one can choose one of the available user-accounts (Just like in WinXP). The old classic logon screen is no longer available.
Secure login screen with CTRL + ALT + DEL before login
  1. Press the Start-button and run this command:

    control userpasswords2

  2. Change to the Advanced-tab and enable Require users to press CTRL+ALT+DEL

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows NT \CurrentVersion \Winlogon]
    DisableCAD = 0

    This change should also match the following Local Security Policy (secpol.msc) -> Local Policies -> Security Options -> "Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL".

Note after pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL then the normal Welcome Screen will show with all the pretty user account icons.
Only display the user name and password prompt at login
  1. Open Control Panel and select System and Maintenance
  2. Select Administrative Tools and double-click Local Security Policy (secpol.msc)
  3. Expand Local Policies to Security Options
  4. Enable Interactive logon: Do not display last user name

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \System]
    DontDisplayLastUserName = 1

Now it will only display the input fields for username and password, and it will no longer display all the available accounts with their user names and icons.
Hide a single user account from the Welcome Screen
By adding the username of the account to a special list in the registry, then it will no longer appear on the Welcome Screen. Just create DWORD registry value at the following location:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows NT \CurrentVersion \Winlogon \SpecialAccounts \UserList]
NameOfTheUser = 0 (1 = Show, 0 = Hide)

More Info MS KB942956

Note in Vista the Administrator account is disabled by default and when activated, then it will be displayed on the Welcome Screen automatically. More Info MS KB 926183
Customize the picture shown on the Welcome screen
To change the picture shown on the logon screen for a user:
  1. Open Control Panel and select User Accounts-
  2. Click Change Your Picture and select the picture you want.
Note the available user account pictures are located in the following directory:

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

Note the default user account picture is located here (Can be replaced with another 128x128 pixel bmp image):

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

Note the picture currently selected by the user is located here:


Prevent users from changing their logon picture
This can be useful is wanting all users to use the company logo as user logon picture.
  1. Start and Run...


  2. Expand to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Control Panel -> User Accounts
  3. Double-click Apply the default user logon picture to all users and change to Enabled

    This change should match the following DWORD registry setting:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    UseDefaultTile = 1

Note the picture shown on the Start-menu will be replaced with an empty frame, when enabling this policy.

Note to change the default picture, just overwrite this bitmap file with another picture-file (128x128 pixel bmp image). If this bitmap-file doesn't exist then it will show an empty frame on the Welcome Screen.

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

Disable the Welcome Screen by enabling automatic login
Automatic Login can be enabled, which will bypass the need to logon (turns off the Welcome Screen). This is done with the following steps:
  1. Run this this command to open the advanced user management:

    control userpasswords2

  2. Uncheck "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" and provide the username and password for the account to use by default.
Credits Rob Farley

Updated: 5 March 2010


Comment by Bill - 31 December 2007 @ 18:49 Reply

This does not explain how to customize the Vista Logon SCREEN! @$%#
This will merely change the user’s account picture.

Comment by Snakefoot - 3 January 2008 @ 22:09 Reply

This does not explain how to customize the Vista Logon SCREEN!

Well after wielding my google powers this came up Stardock’s LogonStudio Vista, Vistelangancy For Vista and Change Logon Screen Background

Comment by drew - 10 June 2008 @ 22:59 Reply

what if you want to add the user name profile to home prem. logon screen and you can not find the option for local security policy? per your instructions?

Comment by ern - 16 June 2008 @ 22:46 Reply

The “Hide a single user account from the Welcome Screen” is dangerous. If you’re not careful, you can lock yourself out for good.

Comment by Snakefoot - 17 June 2008 @ 3:30 Reply

The “Hide a single user account from the Welcome Screen” is dangerous. If you’re not careful, you can lock yourself out for good.

It should be possible to boot into safe mode (Press F8 at startup), and it will allow you to logon with an administrator account.

Comment by Leet Hacks - 22 October 2008 @ 18:20 Reply

Lookup reshacker if you want to change the vista logon background. And if you press ctrl alt del twice from the vista gui login, you get bumped back to a prompt where you can manually enter your user credentials (circumventing the need for safe mode)

Comment by Jack - 1 November 2008 @ 17:22 Reply

Plzzz show me how can i make the logon logo bigger back ! thz !

Comment by John - 7 November 2008 @ 7:12 Reply

I have my logon screen set to display the user name/password prompt just like you describe above.

Is there any way to get rid of the blank user-picture holder? It looks really dumb and annoying, IMO. I would appreciate the help if anyone knows how to get rid of it.

Comment by spork - 28 January 2009 @ 1:31 Reply

this does not explain how to change the “Welcome” screen, just the logon screen.

What I want to do is change the “Welcome” (after the logon screen where it literally say “Welcome” after logging in) to something like “Greeting!” “Hello Master!” or even “Greetings Jedi Virus”.

thats an original please don’t steal my net handle (jedi virus) in any form.

Comment by kyle - 23 February 2009 @ 22:16 Reply

thanks for the helpful guide

Comment by R. J. - 2 March 2009 @ 21:03 Reply

Not if you hide the Administrator account. CTRL + ALT +DEL isn’t taking me to the login and pass boxes. Very frustrating… Guess I’ll have to go the Safe Mode route.

Comment by rudy - 29 May 2009 @ 15:06 Reply

i need to know how to change the user piture’s border in the logon screen,any1 can help? :S

Comment by Woo Wong - 25 June 2009 @ 2:42 Reply

is there a way to make the time/date/weather display on the welcome screen?

Comment by Peter Fyall - 20 May 2010 @ 22:27 Reply

Most of this does not work on my version of vista

I Have Home Premium…

Comment by gemini - 13 June 2010 @ 3:47 Reply

How do you disable the “Welcome” screen (after you’re logged in it just says “welcome” and stays there for few seconds as if the computer is doing a fetch) right before the desktop opens?

Comment by gemini - 13 June 2010 @ 3:53 Reply

by the way I forgot to mention that I’m using vista home premium laptop which happens to boot and shutdown slow–that’s another problem I need help tweaking

Comment by Stipe - 22 June 2010 @ 13:39 Reply

Thank you man, very helpful guide, i found here everything what i needed.

Comment by Shaker - 19 May 2011 @ 22:25 Reply

I recommend Stardock Logon Studio easy to use utility! Delete all the junk wallpaper screens that it comes with and drop in your favorites.

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