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How to change an account picture on Windows 7

Windows 7, like its predecessors, has the ability to post a personalized icon for the login/welcome screen. In addition, this personalized user account picture shows in the Start menu as a reminder of which user is logged in.

Changing the user account picture is not difficult. There are many images that come with Windows 7. However, a user might want to use their own image, which may or may not require some manual manipulation first. The first step is to decide whether or not to use a custom picture.

Choose whether to use a built-in image or choose one supplied by the user.

Modify the user-supplied image if necessary.

Microsoft provides decent instructions for changing the picture in their article “Choose a picture for your user account and Start menu”. However, one thing that is missing as of this writing (a suggestion has been sent to them about this), but it is mentioned on Windows Seven Forums and Windows 7 Themes.Net, is that the image really should be limited to 128 x 128 pixels. If the image goes beyond these dimensions, it may be cropped.

Images should be one of the standard image formats: BMP, GIF, JPG or PNG. Others may work, but they are not listed on the official Microsoft site (link above). Most graphics editing programs, including Microsoft Paint, can not only handle any required resizing, but they usually can convert from one format to another.

Navigate to the Choose a new picture for your account dialog. There are at least three ways to do this, and they are listed in order of ease, easiest first:

Click on the Start button. When the Start menu pops up, left-click on the current user account icon. Click on Change your picture.

Find an empty space on the Windows 7 desktop and right-click on the desktop. Choose Personalize (near the bottom of the context menu). In the left-hand navigation panel, click on Change your account picture.

Click on the Start button, find Control Panel and click on it. Click on User Accounts and Family Safety. Under User Accounts, click on Change your account picture.

From here, it is easy to choose from the account pictures that come with Windows 7. Selecting any of the images allows the user to then click on the Change Picture button, which will change the user account picture on both the login screen and the Start menu.

Under the system-supplied images, there is a link to Browse for more pictures…. Clicking on this link will take the user to their Pictures library. From there, they can navigate to the image that was prepared in step one. Clicking on the image and then the Open button will select the image for the user account picture on both the login screen and Start menu.

Clicking on the Start menu will show the image as a sanity check.


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