Blog -> Tim

Customize Lock Screen for Windows 8

If you wonder how to brand your enterprise's Windows machines with your company logo through Group Policy, here is a little howto.

For Windows 8

Run the Group Policy Management Console from a windows 8/2012 machine.

You will find the policies needed here: Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->Control Panel->Personalization

  • Prevent changing lock screen image: Enable
  • Force a specific dafault lock screen image: Enabled,
    • Path to background file, eg: \\file\ComputerBranding$\Backgrounds\backgroundDefault.jpg

and enter the path and filename of the image you want to use.

This will set the image as the default lock screen image at next gpupdate.

Microsoft seems to have placed a transparent black filter on top of the lock screen background, which unfortunately dims the background you chose. I just assume that this is for the Time/Date indicator to be visible, as well as the other lock screen apps you have enabled. I still haven't figured out how Windows 8 handles different resolutions and aspect ratio for the lock screen, so I just ran with the most commonly used screen resolution we had, 1920*1200 for the image.

For Windows 7/Windows Vista

Run the Group Policy Management Console from a Windows 7/Server2008R2 or later.

First you need to enable "custom logon background" Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Logon

  • Always use custom logon background: Enabled

Now you need to make sure all the background files end up in the %windir%\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds

Make sure to read and understand the naming schema for the images:

First, place all the images on a file share on your file server, eg. \\file\ComputerBranding$\Backgrounds

How to setup a group policy to copy all the files to your target computers:

In the Group Policy Management Console: Computer Configuration->Preferences->Windows Settings->Files

Right click and choose New->File

  • Action: Replace
  • Source Files \\file\ComputerBranding$\Backgrounds*.*
  • Destionation File: %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds

Go to the Common Tab:

  • Remove this item when it is no longer applied: Check
  • Item-Level targeting: Check

Press the "Targeting..." button

  • New Item: Operating System
  • Product: Windows 7
  • New Item: Operating System
  • Product: Windows Vista

Make sure the second OS you add uses the Item Operation: OR, otherwise this policy will never hit the windows7/vista machines as it requires the os to be both at the same time:P

Windows XP

Tic toc tic toc, support is running out..

by Tim Schönberger
Published 2012-11-30, updated 2012-11-30