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If you are responsible for managing Windows 7 systems that are open to the public or have multiple user accounts, you may want to add a security message to the logon screen. Fortunately, doing so is easily accomplished by making some minor changes to the existing registry settings and adding a new setting.

In this post, I’ll show you how to delve into Windows 7’s registry to make the appropriate changes.

Editing the registry

It is important to keep in mind that the registry is vital to the operating system and changing it can be dangerous if you inadvertently make a mistake. As such, you should take a few moments to back up your system by creating a Restore Point as well as by creating a system image in the Backup and Restore tool. That way if anything goes awry, you can restore your system and get right back to work.

To launch the Registry Editor, click the Start button, type Regedit in the Start Search box, and press [Enter]. When the UAC dialog box appears, respond appropriately.

Getting started

Once the Registry Editor launches, locate the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

The warning message

The warning message that you’ll add to the Windows 7’s logon screen is actually made up of two parts: the title and the message text.

To add a title to the warning message, locate and double-click the legalnoticecaption value. When the Edit DWORD dialog box appears, type the title in the Value data text box, as shown in the image below, and click OK. As you can see, for my example I chose to use a Welcome message, but you can essentially type anything that you want for your title. You can use up to 80 characters, including spaces, for the title.

To add the warning message, locate and double-click the legalnoticetext value. When the Edit DWORD dialog box appears, type the warning message in the Value data text box, as shown below, and click OK.

You’re done! You can also set this by Group Policy and Appsense.