Can’t Change Lock Screen Background Image and User Account Picture in Windows 8 (8.1)

One of the biggest fascinations of Windows 8/8.1 is the ease with which personal settings and various customizations can be performed using the now introduced PC Settings Interface. One can seamlessly navigate through the colorful platform, and do tons of ‘playful’, as well as ‘serious’ computer stuff, including checking Devices, switching Users, Performing PC Refresh and Reset, etc. However, with great power comes great responsibility, right?

The foremost solution which is always encouraged is checking your PC primary healthiness and restoring any discrepancy that perhaps is bringing about the disturbance:

  • Step 1 : Download Systimizer – PC Cleaner Tool (Compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7 & XP)
  • Step 2 : Click “Scan” to find Windows issues
  • Step 3 : Click “Fix” to eliminate all troubles

Unfortunately, the Interface cannot live up to this promise, always. One typical letdown noticeably troubling Windows 8 users is the failure of using the Personalized function housed in PC Settings, specifically the Lock Screen and Account features. What happens is that the user is either thrown back to the Start Screen when attempting to change his Lock Screen/Account Picture, or is simply unable to bring the applied changes into effect. Regardless, the experience is annoying, and you demand an immediate fix. Well, of course, your wish shall be granted. So without further ado, read this article and follow the detailed solutions one-by-one till you achieve success.

Method 1: Check Windows Activations

Firstly, check whether you are an obedient Windows citizen and have the operating system properly activated. Otherwise, the system will disallow any Start Screen, Lock Screen, and Account Picture customizations to occur. You can check this status by accessing System Properties:

  • Enter Start Screen (Windows key)
  • Type Computer
  • Right-click icon from results
  • Choose Properties from the menu below
  • Scroll down to check Windows activation

If necessary, activate your product by following the thorough steps described in Windows 8 (8.1) Activation Guide. Once done, repeat the problematic task and check if this resolved the issue. If not, proceed to the next solution.

Method 2: Restore Homegroup Policy Registry Key

Homegroup Policy is a Windows feature responsible for monitoring network shares (files and printers) on a defined Homegroup. If you have accidentally deleted, or modified this essential function from the system, you will be deprived of managing your files, including the Lock Screen/Account pictures, throwing you in this messed up dilemma.

Fortunately, you can manually edit your Registry, and fix this error. Follow the steps listed below carefully to execute this job:

  • Press Windows + R keys to open Run box
  • Type regedit and hit Enter
  • In the Registry Editor box that opens, navigate to the following key:
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace
  • Scroll down to locate the following key:
  • B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93
  • If not available, create this key using these steps:
  • Rightclick NameSpace ,Point to New , Choose Key
  • Set the name to B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93
  • Doubleclick Default string displayed at the right
  • Ensure Value data is set to Other Users. Click OK
  • Close Registry

Try changing your images now. Hopefully, this method will regain you appropriate rights and fix the problem. However, if the issue persists, continue with the next resolution.

Method 3: Restore Default Libraries

Sometimes, the system fails to access the content stored in this database, obstructing user activities completely. This can resolved by deleting the concerned library and then restoring all data using the restore default feature, demonstrated here:

  • Open File Explorer
  • Right-click on Pictures and clikc Delete
  • If prompted, click Yes to confirm your decision

Note: deleting the library will not delete the content it contains. However, you may need to re-add your folders manually, if required

  • Right-click Libraries from the navigation pane on the left
  • Choose Restore default libraries

Retry accessing the troubling Settings again. If the issue persists, continue with the troubleshooting.

Method 4: Rebuild Index

Windows indexes all files and folders for gaining access into the directories. However, if the file is corrupt, you may encounter such issues frequently. Therefore, it is suggested you rebuild the index and check by referring to these steps:

  • Press Windows + W keys and type index.
  • Press Enter to launch Indexing Options box
  • Check whether your System Drive (typically C:) is listed. If not, follow this procedure before advancing further:
  1. Click Modify button
  2. Tick System Drive
  3. Expand to ensure Users is selected
  4. Click OK
  • Click Advanced
  • Click Rebuild located in Troubleshooting section

If none of the methods relieved your cause, it is suggested you rename SystemData folder and get a cleaner copy. This should fix your error instantly.

SystemData is one of the special Windows folders that contains application-specific data, including your Lock Screen and Account images. Renaming  this directory will lose contact with Windows, which will then create a fresh copy when required to access the content. This will remove any potentially corrupt data that was hindering your process, and obliterate the trouble completely.

Firstly, ensure you have set appropriate settings to unveil hidden folders:

  • Open Control Panel by Searching in Start Screen
  • Type Show hidden files and folders in the Search field
  • Click the link
  • Enter View tab
  • Locate and enable Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  • Click OK

Now, proceed with the following to rename SystemData:

  • Enter C:\ drive from Computer
  • Go to ProgramData
  • Double-click Microsoft
  • Locate and enter Windows
  • Right-click SystemData and Rename it to SystemDataOld
  • Redo the problematic activity
  • Notice the creation of a new SystemData. This cleaner folder should fix your problem

Note: You might have to take ownership of SystemData to perform this procedure. This is illustrated below:

  • Right-click SystemData and go to Properties
  • View Security tab
  • Clikc Advanced button
  • Clikc Change link displayed in front of Owner
  • Under Enter the object name to select text field, type your account name
  • Click Check Names and notice your entry underline
  • Click OK
  • Check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects
  • Click OK and then confirm your decision to grant full rights over this object

Related Article:

Fixing “Please Wait Screen” Problem in Windows 8 (8.1)

16 comments to “Can’t Change Lock Screen Background Image and User Account Picture in Windows 8 (8.1)”
  1. Damn! You are a genius! I followed your “Method 3” and it totally solved my problem! Thanks! you are a life-saver 😀

  2. Thanks. Method 5 worked. My issue was that I fudged w/ Windows’ System Data, which contains the default lock screen photos in it. So basically, I took ownership of the folder sometime previously, which is what most likely screwed up my ability to set a lock screen photo custom for my profile.

  3. so i named the system data folder SystemDataOld and tried to change my user picture and i didn’t get a new systemdata folder?

  4. Method 5 did the trick.

    I had tried deleting the lock screen folders inside earlier but that didn’t work. Had to delete the entire folder for it to work.

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