How to Fix Empty User Accounts Picture in the Windows 7 Welcome Screen

When you start your computer, the user accounts listing in the Welcome Screen may show up with an empty frame. Result would be the same if you open the User Accounts window in the Control Panel. Also, the user accounts icon may be missing in the Start menu.

This happens if the policy Apply the default user logon picture to all users (Registry Value: UseDefaultTile) is set, but the source BMP file is missing in the system. This policy setting allows an administrator to standardize the logon pictures for all users on a system to the default user picture. 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 resolve the problem, you can either 1) Replace the file user.bmp (128×128px) to the above folder or 2) Set the Policy setting to Not Configured.

To disable the Policy “Apply the default user logon picture to all users” via Group Policy Editor, use these steps:

Note: As Home Editions of Windows do not include the Group Policy Editor, you need to configure this setting using the registry or use a third-party tool named Policy Plus. 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 Not Configured
  5. Exit the Group Policy Editor.

Registry Fix

  • Download and save to Desktop.
  • Unzip the contents and extract the files to a folder.
  • Double-click w7-restore-user-pic.reg to run it.
  • Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

You should have got the user account picture back for all accounts.

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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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