Windows 8 Server – How to change background logon screen

Hello World;

Since I have installed a Windows 8 Server (beta) version, I can do some test right away.  One of the first things I like to do is to customize a little bit my operating system.  In general, we change the logon background and the desktop background in order to provide a corporate identity within our IT infrastructure.

Today, we will see how you can (partially) customize your Windows 8 environment.  Let’s do this

Installing the necessary features

We assume that you have already installed a Windows 8 Server in your infrastructure.  In order to customize (by the way MS uses the term of Personalize..), you wil need to ensure that the Desktop Experience is installed on your Windows 8 Server.  This component is not installed by default.  Using powershell, you can check if the feature is installed or not by issuing the following command :

  • Get-WindowsFeature *Desktop*

If It’s not installed, you can installed quickly from your Powershell console by issuing the following command :

  • Add-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience 

Note : In Windows 8, you do not need to import the ServerManager Module. It’s done automatically for you…Sweet

We also assume that you have downloaded the image you want to use as background image and possibly an image that will be used to represent the account you will be logged in.

Start Customizing your Desktop environment

To set a new background image, you know that you can click anywhere on your desktop and select the option personlize.  From the control panel applet, you simply select the image (or browse) you want to use for your Desktop Background.  This step was the easy one.

Now, we want to personalize a little bit more our infrastructure.  Windows 8 comes with some built-in capabilities.  If you right-click at the bottom right side of your screen, you will see the ‘Menu bar” that will be displayed.  From there, click on the option Settings

perso_1

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

A new left menu will be displayed.  If you have installed the Desktop experience component, at the bottom of this menu, you will see a tiny link called more PC Settings.  Click on it

 

perso_2

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

The control panel App will be displayed. In the left pane, you will see that the first option is set to Personalize.  In the right side, on the top section, you can see which settings you can personalize. These are Lock Screen, Start Screen and the account picture.

perso_3

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

In the Lock Screen, Click on the Browse button. This will open the following windows where you can locate the file that needs to be used. When you have selected it, click on the image and then click on the Choose Picture Button  

perso_4

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

 You should end up with something similar

perso_5

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

In the Start screen section, you will see that you can change the background color used by the Start Menu.  The colors are pre-defined and cannot be changed from this location.  I wanted to use a black color but this one was not available. I went for the dark grey one.

perso_6

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

In the Account Picture section, you can click again on the browse button and locate the image you want to use.  When this is done, click on the image and click on Choose picture

perso_7

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

 You should end up with something similar

perso_8

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

 

Testing your changes….

It’s time to test your changes.  If you do a Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence, you will be presented with the following screen.  Click on Lock

perso_9

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

You will see that your changes have been successfully applied.  In the lock screen, now, the background image has been set to the one you have selected

perso_10

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

Again, if you press now the Ctr-Alt-del sequence, you will see that the login page is showing a background color based on the color you have chosen when you were configuring the Start Screen settings.  After login in, you will see that the Start Menu is also using the background color you’ve specified

perso_11

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

 If you reboot your machine, you should see that the Background image is also customized and using the background image you have set.

perso_12

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

However, if you decide to sign out from the computer, you will notice that you get back the default screen.  Your changes are not set…..

perso_13

Click on picture for Better Resolution 

 

Final Notes

I was wondering how Windows 8 would allow us to personalize our operating system in order to fit our needs or to create a corporate image through the IT Infrastructure.  I can see that Microsoft has made some efforts and offer a way to customize the appearance.

However, the things you can do are limited (maybe because it’s still the beta version). For example, you have a set of predefined colors that can be used to customize your start screen. We would like to have more colors to be used.  The other things that strange is that if you reboot your machine, you have your nice customized background. But, if you simply sign out, your changes are reverted to defaults.  Annoying….

I hope that this will change in  final release of the software.  I also hope that some group policies will be created in order to centrally customize these settings

 

Till next time

See ya

 

 

3 thoughts on “Windows 8 Server – How to change background logon screen

  1. Hey Griffon,

    If you not not know already aware it looks like Microsoft made this a group Policy via Cumulative update back in November of 2012, the 8 forums posted the link for the update and a How to Article, just follow this link…

    www.eightforums.com/tutorials/14485-lock-screen-background-image-set-default-windows-8-a.html

    V/R
    John M. Keller
    AKA The ITBeast

  2. Hello John,

    Yes we are aware of this. Since Windows 7, there are gpos that allows you to perform these operations in a centralized way.
    Never got the time to write about it

    Thank you for the visit and the link

    Till next time
    See ya

Leave a Reply