How to configure Windows Server 2003 to display a message when users log on

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Article ID: 310430 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

You can configure Windows Server to display a message to users when they log on. You can use the message display functionality to personalize the logon process, provide news or information, and for other similar purposes. The message appears after the user presses CTRL+ALT+DEL and disappears after the user clicks OK. After the message disappears, the user can complete the logon process.

How to Use a Group Policy Setting to Turn On the Message Display

To configure Windows Server to display a message, you can either use a Group Policy setting to configure a domain, an organizational unit, or a computer or you can use Registry Editor to modify the registry on the target computers.

Configuring a Group Policy Setting for a Domain

  1. On the domain controller, start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
  2. Right-click the domain object in the left pane, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab.
  4. Click Default Domain Policy, and then click Edit.
  5. Expand the following folder:
    Configuration\Windows Settings \Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options
  6. In the right pane, double-click Policies, and then follow these steps to create the message text:
    • On a Windows Server 2003-based domain controller:
      1. Click Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
      2. Click Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on, and then type the text of the message that you want to appear in the message dialog box.
    • On a Windows 2000-based domain controller:
      1. Click Message title for users attempting to log on, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
      2. Click Message text for users attempting to log on, and then type the text of the message that you want to appear in the message dialog box.

Configuring a Group Policy Setting for an Organizational Unit

  1. On the domain controller, start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
  2. Right-click the organizational unit object in the left pane, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, and then click New.
  4. Type a name for the Group Policy object (GPO), and then press ENTER.
  5. Click Edit.
  6. Expand to the following folder:
    Computer Configuration\Windows Settings \Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options
  7. In the right pane, double-click Policies, and then follow these steps to create the message text:
    • On a Windows Server 2003-based domain controller:
      1. Click Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
      2. Click Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on, and then type the text of the message that you want to appear in the message dialog box.
    • On a Windows 2000-based domain controller:
      1. Click Message title for users attempting to log on, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
      2. Click Message text for users attempting to log on, and then type the text of the message that you want to appear in the message dialog box.

Configuring a Group Policy Setting for Windows XP

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click Administrative Tools.
  2. Double-click Local Security Policy.
  3. In the left pane, expand Local Policies, and then click Security Options.
  4. In the right pane, click Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
  5. In the right pane, click Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on, and then type the text of the message that you want to appear in the message dialog box.

Configuring the Group Policy Setting by Using Registry Editor

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
  3. In the right pane, double-click legalnoticecaption, and then type the text that you want to appear in the title bar of the message dialog box.
  4. In the right pane, double-click legalnoticetext, and then type the text that you want to appear in the message dialog box.
  5. Close Registry Editor.

Troubleshooting

If you use a Group Policy setting to configure Windows Server to display a message when users log on, the operating system writes the registry changes that are described in the preceding section. However, the same registry values appear in the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
You can set the registry values described in the preceding section to this key to get the same results as if you configured a Group Policy setting. However, if you set the registry values in both registry keys, the values in the following registry key take precedence:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
Note If you do not use carriage returns in your display message, the maximum number of characters that you can add to the logon box is 512. If you add carriage returns, you can add up to 2048 characters (512 characters per line).

Properties

Article ID: 310430 - Last Review: February 13, 2008 - Revision: 8.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, 64-Bit Datacenter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
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