While it’s pretty easy to customize the background and lock screens in Windows 10 (from the personalization panel), there is no built-in option for customizing the logon screen. In fact, up until now, the only way to customize the logon screen involved changing some system files which was, at best, inconvenient.
The ability to customize the login screen is a particularly useful feature for folks who run Surface tablets in an enterprise setting because they can use a custom logon screen to display legal or disclaimer information to users. Even if you aren’t using your Surface in an enterprise environment, you may still simply want to be able to customize the login screen just because it’s cool.
In either case, there’s a free app you can download to let you do just that. It’s called W10 Logon BG Changer…
Customize the Windows 10 Logon Screen on Surface: Set a New Image
You can use this simple application to easily set your own custom logon screen, to get started follow these steps:
- Download the latest version of the software from here: Github
- Once downloaded, open the Zip file and move the GUI folder to your desktop
- Run the W10 Logon BG Changer.exe application. You may get a warning from your anti-virus, if you do, unblock it or add the application to your white-list depending on your anti-virus package. The reason your anti-virus may alert you is because the program is modifying system files that normally aren’t modified. In this case, it’s nothing to worry about.
- Click through the UAC and “EULA” prompts. By the way, the EULA will only appear once. Subsequent uses of the program will skip it; however, you will get the UAC popup every time you run the application.
- In the Background Filename Appears Here field, tap or click the picture icon (on the right) to open a standard “Select an Image” window.
- Select the picture you want to use for your custom logon screen. You can choose a resolution option with the Image Scaling pull-down. I recommend the My Resolution option.
- Alternatively, you can select a solid color to use instead of a picture. To do so, simply use the options under the OR label.
- Tap or click Apply Changes. You will get a success prompt like the one below. Click OK when you do.
That’s it. You will now have a custom Windows 10 logon screen. You can tap or click the Lock Windows option in the upper right corner of the application window to try it out.
As the “EULA” indicates, there is a possibility this will screw up your Surface; so, don’t try this if you’re nervous about that. And, of course, if you try this it will be at your own risk. That said, I did it with my Surface Pro 2 and Surface 3 multiple times without any problems, so take that for what it’s worth.
Also, just so it’s clear, this new logon screen will be set for every user on this device.
Customize the Windows 10 Logon Screen on Surface: Restore the Defaults
If you decide you don’t like a customized image for your lock screen, you can easily go back by running the W10 Logon BG Changer application and selecting the Restore Defaults button in the lower right corner of the window. Do NOT press Apply Changes after pressing the Restore Defaults button.
The defaults will be restored by simply pressing the Restore Defaults button. Pressing Apply Changes will reapply the customizations.
Customize the Windows 10 Logon Screen on Surface: Other Options
While the 188.8.131.52 version of the application allows you to easily customize the Windows 10 logon screen image, there are a couple of other features that don’t seem to work quite yet. In particular, if you select App Settings from the upper left of the Window, there are options to Hide User Information and Show Glyphs (the icons in the lower right of the logon screen). These options appear to function while in the application but I wasn’t able to get them to work when I actually locked my screen.
Oh, you can also set the language the application uses from this panel. In case you saw it in the picture, yes, International Klingon is a choice and it does make the application list everything in Klingon. No, it won’t reset your logon screen to list everything in Klingon.
That’s it, you can now customize your logon screen ’till your heart’s content. Overall, I like this app and I had a lot of fun configuring it – my wife called me a geek when I went with the Klingon language. Enjoy!
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.