Apply the default user logon picture to all users in Vista

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to set a default user account picture for all user accounts in the system, then this article is for you. There is a new Group Policy setting in Windows Vista using which you can apply a default user logon picture in the Welcome Screen for all user accounts.

Note: As Home Editions of Windows Vista do not include the Group Policy Editor, you need to configure this setting using a Registry-based Policy. See section Registry Fix below.

1. Click Start, type gpedit.msc and press ENTER

2. Go to the following branch:

Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Control Panel | User Accounts

3. Double-click Apply the default user logon picture to all users

4. Set it to Enabled

5. Exit the Group Policy Editor.

This policy setting allows an administrator to standardize the logon pictures for all users on a system to the default user picture. One application for this policy setting is to standardize the logon pictures to a company logo. If this Policy is enabled, the Welcome Screen uses the default user picture which is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\user.bmp. The default guest picture is stored at %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\guest.bmp. If the default pictures do not exist, an empty frame is displayed. To display your preferred image or the company logo, replace the file user.bmp (128×128 px) in the following folder:

%PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\User Account Pictures

Also note that if you enable the above Policy, you’ll see an empty frame at the top of the Windows Vista Start menu where the user account picture normally displays. And the Change your picture option in the User Accounts applet will be removed.

Registry Fix

Download and save to Desktop. Unzip the contents and extract the files to a folder. Double-click usedefaulttile.reg to run it. Restart Windows for the change to take effect. To undo the setting, run the file usedefaulttile-undo.reg.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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