Logon Banner - Displaying Warning Message

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

Legal notices can be set in Windows NT using the following Windows NT registry keys.

Key: Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
add or modify the following values:

Name Type Value
LegalNoticeCaption REG_SZ Short Caption
LegalNoticeText REG_SZ max 255 chars
LogonPrompt REG_SZ displayed in standard logon screen
Welcome REG_SZ displayed in standard logon screen

If you want to simulate paragraphs in the Legal Notice text, enter the text with a space where the paragraph should break. Edit the value using Binary and replace the space character with 0D00 . Remember that one letter of normal text is equal to four characters in the binary editor.

Windows 2000 does not seem to use the LegalNoticeCaption or LegalNoticeText registry settings. I used the Local Security Policy console to set a legal notice, and the above registry keys were empty although Windows 2000 was displaying a legal notice and title.

  • Click Start/Settings/Control Panel
  • Double-click Administrative Tools / Local Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options
  • Set Message text for users attempting to log on
  • Set Message title for users attempting to log on
  • Logoff/Logon to test
This sets the local pc security policy. If the PC is part of a domain, the domain security policy value will override if it exists.

Without notice on each entry into the network (each workstation/server) via such legal notice messages, one has little chance to prosecute intruders. CIAC has published an informational article Creating Login Banners covering the issue for various platforms in some detail.

Default message in windows is delivered is Welcome. LegalNoticeCaption/LegalNoticeText create a text box displayed prior to logon which one must respond "OK" to before one can continue the logon process. LogonPrompt is displayed in the standard logon screen (this probably makes LogonPrompt less "distinct" and less useful for legal notices purposes). The logon screen variables are usually used to personalize the logon dialog such as setting the Welcome value ="Welcome to Wayne's Computer". This works in Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

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