Windows 8.1 – Login-screen

Prelude

Hello folks,
everyone, who started using Windows 8.1 (and Windows 8 as far as I know) has been faced with a difficult problem: The login-screen. Don’t get me wrong, they could have made it worse, but it still looks … annoying…. colourful, but annoying.

Yes, I mean this one here:

 LockScreen___1024_0768_notdimmed

Yep… like I said, they could have done worse, but still…

Anyway, I’d wager that a lot of you guys are as annoyed of that screen as I was. Unfortunately it is not done just by changing some settings in the control panel. Microsoft doesn’t want you to personalise your Personal Computer that much.

You can change the Lock-screen which is nice if you have a laptop. If you don’t shut it down every night, you will have you personalised Lock-screen every time you open up you laptop. But as soon as you shut down or log out, you will see that old boring standard screen again. Worse even if you have a Desktop PC, every morning you start up your PC, you’ll be looking at this boring screen.

After looking a bit through the Google pages, I stumbled across some posts which describe how to change your Login-screen, but not many written “How To’s”.

Well, I hope I can help out with this one.

 Important Information

 Make sure you are logged in with an Administrator Account!

If you are not well versed with computers, Windows and its administration, I recommend you do not change any other setting. Make a backup to be sure, but it would be fatal if you’d had to reinstall your Windows again.

 How To

Righty, of we go.

Change you general folder settings to “show hidden files, folders and drives”.

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Go to your main partition where your operating system is located (commonly named “Local Disk”).

Open it and look at the list of folders. You now should see a folder called “ProgramData” with a slightly transparent folder icon.

That is where you have to go. Open up the folder until you get to the following path:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows

Look for the folder “SystemData” in the directory and open up its properties.

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Switch to the tab “Security”. Now by default, there shouldn’t be any entry in the list.
The reason for this is that by default, this folder does only belong to the system, this way it can be accessed by the system without problems. In order to be able to even work with the folder, you will need to change the ownership of the folder. Click on the “Advanced” button.

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The options for managing the advanced ownership will look like this:

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If you click on “Change”, the following dialogue will open:

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Just enter your username into the big entry field, click on “Check Names” to make sure the System uses the right username and click on “OK”.
Your “Advanced Options” should now look somewhat like this, with your name or username of course.

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Now go deeper into the folder “SystemData”, you will see a folder called “S-1-5-18”. Open this one, any other folder is not of importance to us!!
Open the subfolders which should lead you to the final path of

 C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly\LockScreen_Z

You should see a couple of pictures which you cannot see. Their filenames should have the following structure: “LockScreen___[X-Resolution]_[Y-Resolution]{_notdimmed}”

The extension “_notdimmed” might be there or not, I had two pictures with and without that extensions. For “X-Resolution” and “Y-Resolution” just put in the resolution you are running your windows (probably the highest). Just an example:

 “LockScreen___1920_1080”

Go into the properties of those pictures and change to the “Security” tab. Similar procedure like last time, but now you don’t need to go into the “Advanced” options. Just click on the “Edit” button (1), click on the “Add” button in the next dialogue (2), enter your username like above (3), check your name (4), click “OK” (5), assign full control to you (6), apply and close every open dialogue.

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Do it for all pictures to be sure. Now you can either refresh your folder-view (press F5) or you can open the pictures to look at them. You should have at least three pictures in your folder, “LockScreen___1024_0768_notdimmed”, one “_notdimmed” and one without the extension in your current (or main) resolution.

To change your Login-screen, you will have to change those in your current resolution. Look for the picture you want to see when starting up your PC. Make sure it has the exact resolution as the pictures you are going to substitute them with. If not, use any capable picture editor and change the size of your picture to your current resolution (might look bad if you have to enlarge a small picture).

Without having renamed it, copy your picture into the folder twice. Rename the old pictures by adding the extension “_old”. (You never ever should delete a file completely from system-folders. There are are a few exceptions like the temp-data folders, but that’s about it.)

Rename you picture of choice into ““LockScreen___[X-Resolution]_[Y-Resolution]” and the other into “LockScreen___[X-Resolution]_[Y-Resolution]{_notdimmed}”.

One last thing to do before enjoying your personalised Login-screen.

Open the properties of your new pictures, change to the “Security” tab. Click on the “Edit” button (1), click on the “Add” button in the next dialogue (2), enter “System” into the entry field (3), check the name (4), click “OK” (5), assign full control to it (6), apply and close every open dialogue.

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That’s it.

Test it out by logging out and enjoying your new personalised screen.

If it doesn’t work properly, go through the steps again and check it out.
If it still doesn’t work, send me a message, I will see what I can do then.

I hope this little How-To helps out making it easier to enjoy Windows 8.1.

Cya around folks!