How to Install and Apply Custom 3rd Party Login Screens in Windows without Replacing Default LogonUI.exe File?

First of all lets show you the benefits of this tutorial:

  • The biggest benefit: you will not need to replace any system file to change login screen
  • You'll not need to use TuneUp Utilities or any other 3rd party utility to apply login screens
  • This method will also help you in fixing various login screen related problems mainly caused by malware

We all know about Login Screen present in Windows OS. Its also called Welcome Screen, Logon Screen or Startup Screen. Its the screen where you see user accounts list and enter your password to log into Windows. Login screen UI is generally changed with each new version of Windows.

Windows_Login_Screen.png

If you are a Windows customization lover, you might be already using a custom 3rd party login screen in your Windows to get a refreshed welcome screen each time you start Windows.

Many people modify or download 3rd party login screens from Internet to customize default login screen look. We have also shared many login screens for Windows XP in past. Some of them are Windows 8 login screen, Mac OS X Lion login screen and Windows 7 login screen for XP.

Windows XP login screen resources are stored in a system file "LogonUI.exe" which is present in Windows\System32 folder. Whenever you want to modify or install new login screen, you need to replace this default system file with your new customized file using Replacer. Or you use 3rd party software such as TuneUp Utilities to apply new login screen.

But TuneUp Utilities is not a free software and replacing system files is a bit dangerous task. If you make a mistake while modifying the file or if the downloaded login screen file was corrupt, you'll not be able to boot into Windows.

That's why today in this tutorial, we are going to tell you a very easy to use and safe way to install and apply custom 3rd party login screen in Windows XP. In this method, you'll not need to replace existing system file. You just need to edit Windows Registry and modify an existing String value to point it to your new login screen file. Its very similar to our custom Explorer.exe file method which we posted recently:

How to Apply and Safely Use Custom User Interface (Shell or Explorer) in Windows?

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial:

STEP 1. First copy your modified or downloaded login screen file "LogonUI.exe" to a safe place such as D:\ drive or any other desired location and note down the full path of it.

STEP 2. Now type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

STEP 3. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\

STEP 4. In right-side pane, look for a String UIHost. Its value would be set to logonui.exe by default.

STEP 5. You just need to double-click on UIHost string and change its value to the full path of your new logonui.exe file.

For example, if you renamed the new downloaded login screen file to MyLogonUI.exe and copied it to E:\ drive then set the value of UIHost to E:\MyLogonUI.exe as shown in following screenshot:

Apply_Login_Screen_without_Replacing_LogonUI_EXE_File.png

Its not necessary to rename the file. You can use any desired name of the file or you can use default logonui.exe name. It doesn't matter. But you'll need to provide correct full path of the file along with its name.

STEP 6. That's it. Close Registry Editor and restart your system and get ready to enjoy new login screen.

PS: This is the same method which is used by TuneUp Utilities to apply new login screens.

Bonus Tip 1: You can also use this method if you are facing problems with login screen. Many times virus and malware install their own logonui.exe file in your system and set the value of UIHost to their malicious file. You can reset value of UIHost to logonui.exe to fix login screen related problems.

Bonus Tip 2: Sometimes if the value of UIHost is changed to new login screen file and in future if the file is deleted by you, you'll start getting classic login dialog box instead of new welcome screen. In such case you can again reset value of UIHost string to logonui.exe and your problem will be solved.





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows XP


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Comments

  • Excellent tutorial, but...

    Is this only applicable to Windows XP?

    In Windows 7 the reg key UIHost is not present, can you provide a similar trick for Windows 7 or do I need to create the UIHost key?

  • VG

    ^^ Unfortunately its only applicable to Windows XP because Microsoft changed the login screen in Windows Vista and 7. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, login screen resources are stored in authui.dll file.

  • Its a Safe way for Windows XP Users.....

    Thanks VG !

  • @SCBright

    VG has a tutorial for Windows 7 logon screen changing here:

    http://www.askvg.com/windows-7-supports-login-screen-customization-without-3rd-party-software-how-to-instructions-inside/

  • Great tip Vishal, superthanks ! ! ! ! ! !
    Any simiral tutorial for the XP bootup ? ? ?

  • Hi... Can you say same to change boot screen in xp.

  • Yeah, being able to change the bootscreen will be a great help.

  • VG

    Here you go guys:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-install-and-apply-custom-3rd-party-boot-screens-in-windows-without-replacing-default-ntoskrnl-exe-file/

  • No UIHost string is there in Winlogon any help? :(

  • VG

    ^^ This trick is only for Windows XP. I think you are using Windows Vista, 7 or Windows 8.

  • I am using Windows XP Professional 32-bit.

  • VG

    ^^ Then its not possible. Please double-check the key location.

  • Hey VG, I'm using Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 3, with RocketDock, your SevenVG RTM Normal, Styler, and WinShake, but this tutorial doesn't seem to work. It takes me to the basic screen, the one that looks like THIS: windowsnetworking.com/img/gif_wxp/wxplgn10.gif I hope you can help!
    ~John (It may help to know I'm try to use your windows 7 login screen)

  • VG

    ^^ It might be possible that the login screen which you are trying to use is corrupt. Did you try the same login screen using other method i.e. replacing existing logonui.exe file in your system? Does it work?

  • VG- I didn't. I will try a different logon screen! Thanks for the help. And the LogonUI directly in System32 doesn't work either.

  • Dude thx but when I try to replace it it says, "cannot import and all this crap, please help.

  • VG

    ^^ Did you take ownership of the original file?

  • Anyway to do this in Windows 8?

  • VG

    ^^ No.

  • Thanks VG,
    It works nicely.

  • Hello, I was wondering if you could make a tutorial on HOW TO CREATE A CUSTOM LOGIN SYSTEM [not wallpaper but the entire login sequence for Windows] to enable a Joystick based login or a special USB security disk based login

    I know this post is irrelevant but this post in this website is the best related to what I want.

    Thank you

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