After a little while it can be nice to freshen up the appearance of the things we use each day. I’m sure that many of us start off the morning with a Windows login prompt on the screen, and with a quick DLL replacement you can make that Windows 7 login screen look completely different than what ships with the stock OS.
I’m going to focus on getting the login screen you see in the screenshot above, which is modeled after the Longhorn project. It’s actually very close to the Longhorn login screen, which you can see in this screencast I had made.
Once you head on over to this DeviantArt page you’ll see three different sets of DLLs that you can grab. One doesn’t have the Windows flag, another one has it (this is the one in the screenshot above), and another one has an embedded version that is located inside the transparent glass. Grab which ever one you want, and make sure you get the correct version (32-bit or 64-bit) depending on what you have installed. You can even grab all three, and replace the DLL a few times to figure out which one you like the appearance of more.
The file you will be replacing is the authui.dll that is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. However, before you’ll be able to replace the DLL you’ll need to take ownership of the authui.dll file. To do so I highly recommend using the registry script here, which will add a “Take Ownership” option to the context menu. The download includes a second script that you can run to remove the option from the context menu after everything is done, or I’d say it is useful enough to keep around.
Now that you’ve taken ownership of the authui.dll file you can go ahead and replace it. You should then be able to logoff or lock your machine to immediately see the changes.
The DeviantArt page also references the background image they use in their screenshots as well as a free (no-install) application you can use to update the background image to anything you want. Personally I like the native Windows 7 background with this design, so I’ll be keeping it around for the time being.