How to Login to Windows With a Legal Message

This post is for a PC Windows 10 Operating System having multiple users or several PCs in a small business environment. We are going to change the Windows Registry to provide a Legal Message at login. I am using a lot of screenshots to ensure you are successful.

First and foremost, lets backup your PC Registry. This is extremely important in case you update the wrong key or your registry has problems. I want you to have a safe experience. Changing the Registry is tricky and not for the “faint of heart”.

Starting in Windows 10 Version 1803, the Windows Registry is no longer automatically backed up. You can change this behavior by following these instructions. This requires editing the Registry. Instead, I recommend using a software program to backup the Registry.

This is for Windows based operating systems

The RegBak Software Utility

The program I recommend is called RegBak, a freeware program. You can download the program here. Click the Download button for RegBak then click the regbak.exe file at the bottom of the screen and follow the install instructions. Once installed, you should see a screen like the one below:

RegBak Install
After installing RegBak

To backup your Windows registry:

  • Click the New Backup button
  • Enter a Description (this is optional)
  • Click Start

Below is a screenshot:

RegBak Install
Starting to run RegBak
  • Click Close

Your screen will look like the below image:

RegBak Results
Results of running RegBak
  • Click Close to exit

Your screen should look like the below image:

RegBak Results
Registry backup complete

To Restore from a backup: Note! only do this if your Registry is corrupt.

  • Highlight a backup entry
  • Click the Restore button
  • Click Close

You can also delete a backup by highlighting an entry and clicking on Delete. Feel free to check out the Options button. I would just leave the default options as is.

Setting up the Legal Message

Now lets edit the Registry for our Legal Message at Windows login:

  • Type “regedit” (without quotes) into the Cortana search box to open the Registry Editor
  • Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and keep expanding until you reach HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Your screen should look like the below image:

Registry screenshot for editing legal caption and legal text

In the right hand pane, find these two listings: legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext.

The value of legalnoticecaption acts as the heading of your legal message.

  • Double click on legalnoticecaption and change its value to something like “Important Notice!” (without quotes).

Your screen should look like the below image:

Legal Caption
Adding a legal message caption
  • Click OK

Now we will do the same for the Legal Message text.

  • Double click on legalnoticetext and enter something like “Remember to keep all passwords private!” (without quotes).

Your screen should look like the image below:

Legal Message
Adding a legal message text
  • Click OK

What if you wanted more than one line of text for your Legal Message? This requires hexadecimal editing and is not recommended. However, if you need this:

  • Complete the text field first
  • Right click the legalnoticetext key
  • Select Modify binary data

Your screen should look like the below image:

Binary Data
Before modifying the binary data for the legal message
  • Find the appropriate spot for a paragraph break. Click the space just after the last character in the message where you want to put the carriage return.
  • Enter this four digit code for a carriage return, 0D00. Finding the right spot to insert a carriage return can be tricky.

In my example I am entering a carriage return just after the word “passwords”.

Below is a screen shot:

Binary Data
After modifying the binary data for legal message

When the changes are complete click File>Exit to save your work and close the Registry. The next time a user logs into the Windows 10 PC they will have to acknowledge the Legal Message by clicking the OK button before they can move on to the normal login screen.

If you applied a carriage return in the binary data and it doesn’t work, try entering the 0D00 in a different spot for the Legal Message text. To do this, remove your text message and reenter, then insert the carriage return key.

Important Note

Its important to understand, that the Legal Message will appear each and every time the Windows 10 PC is booted. At some point, you may wish to cancel the Legal Message. In that case, repeat the above steps for editing the Registry and remove the text in legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext keys to cancel the message. This will resume the typical login sequence.

I Would Like to Hear from You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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