[Fix] Can’t Change Lock Screen Background Image and User Account Picture in Windows 8 and Later

I have received so many emails from several Windows 8 users complaining about the same problem i.e. not able to change lock screen background image and user account picture in Windows 8.

Actually Windows 8 users can change lock screen background or user account picture using PC Settings page which can be accessed from new Charms Bar. You can show Charms Bar on screen by moving your mouse cursor to top-right corner or by pressing Win+C keys together. Then click on Settings charm and there you can access PC Settings by clicking on "Change PC settings" link given at the bottom. Once you open PC Settings page, you can change lock screen background or user account picture by clicking on "Browse" button as mentioned here.

But many times when you click on browse button, nothing happens. The screen flickers and that's it. You don't see the page to select desired images.


Generally if your Windows 8 is not activated, you can't customize Start Screen, lock screen or user account picture so first make sure you have activated Windows 8 successfully. You can check Windows activation status using System Properties.

If your Windows is activated but still you are not able to change lock screen background and user account picture in Windows 8, this tutorial will help you.

METHOD 1: By Restoring Homegroup Registry Key

Actually this problem occurs when a required Registry key is missing in Windows 8. It might be deleted accidentally or intentionally by the user or it might be deleted by a 3rd party software. It might be also possible that you applied a Registry script downloaded from a website which automatically deleted the key without your knowledge.

So the bottom line is that you just need to add a key in Windows Registry to fix the problem. This key is related to Homegroup feature of Windows. Many websites suggest deleting this key from Registry to remove Homegroup icon from Desktop or My Computer window so its possible that you followed their advice and deleted the Registry key to get rid of Homegroup icon which started causing this new problem as a side effect.

If you are also facing this strange problem in Windows 8, just create the Registry key using following steps and your problem will be solved:

1. Press "WIN+R" key combination to launch RUN dialog box then type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:


3. Now look for a key {B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93} under NameSpace key. If it exists, click on it and in right-side pane, check the value of (Default). It must be set to Other Users

If the key doesn't exist, right-click on NameSpace key and select "New -> Key" option. Now set the new key name to {B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93} and in right-side pane change value of (Default) to Other Users as shown in following screenshot:


4. That's it. It'll immediately fix the issue and you'll be able to change lock screen background image and user account picture in Windows 8.

NOTE: If you don't want to edit Registry or if you are not familiar with Registry, download following ZIP file and extract it. You'll get a ready-made Registry script which will automatically add the required key in Windows Registry:

Download Registry Script to Fix Lock Screen Background and User Account Picture Problem

METHOD 2: By Restoring Libraries Feature

If the above fix doesn't work for you, it might be possible that you disabled "Libraries" feature in Windows 8 using a Registry tweak given in following tutorial:

How to Disable "Libraries" Feature in Windows 7?

If it is true, restore libraries feature by running "Restore Default Settings.reg" script present in the downloaded zip file given in above mentioned article, restart your system and now you should be able to change lock screen background and user picture without any problem.

PS: Check out following video showing the whole method live in action:

METHOD 3: By Renaming SystemData Folder

If above mentioned solutions don't work for you, try following solution:

1. Press "Win+R" keys together to open RUN dialog box. Now copy following string in text box and press Enter:


It'll open "Windows" folder which contains many other sub-folders inside it.

2. Now take ownership of "SystemData" folder.

Check out following tutorials to learn about taking ownership of a file or folder in Windows:

3. After taking ownership, rename the folder to some other name such as SystemData_bak, etc.

That's it. It'll fix the problem.

METHOD 4: By Using "Restore to Defaults" Option

You can also try following fix:

On Lock Screen personalization page, right-click on an image thumbnail and select "Restore to Defaults" option.

That's it. It should fix the issue and you'll be able to browse and select different image as Lock Screen background.

Also Check:

[Fix] Lock Screen Slide Show Feature Not Working in Windows


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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thank you so much for the fix. Worked like a charm. My Windows was activated and genuine but still I was not able to change backgrounds. Your method solved the prob. Thanks again. :)

  • THIS IS AMAZING!!! You're a lifesaver! I'm almost gonna cry over this issue but then I followed your steps! SO helpful! :D

  • Somewhere else I found an additional action that solved the problem for me: renaming C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData (after taking ownership). After that: problem solved.

  • I was getting "Lock screen error" when I tried changing from PC settings-Lock screen. If you are getting the same error, try the following:

    1. Press Windows+I to go to the settings panel on your right.
    2. Select Change PC Settings at the very bottom right of your screen.
    3. On "Personalize-Lock screen", right click on one of the images displayed and choose "Restore to Defaults".
    4. If you do not get the "Lock screen error message" again, you can now browse for any other photo of your choice from your computer.

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