Windows

SolutionBase: Customizing the XP boot logo

Replace the Windows XP boot logo with one of your own choosing.

You've probably noticed the Windows XP Professional logo appear on your workstation every time you start it. Although it's nice to see a quick reminder of Microsoft and your operating system, you may want to change the boot logo to display something different, such as your company's logo. Doing so is difficult, but it's not impossible.

Before you begin
Don't confuse the boot logo with the desktop background or the system login screen. What we're referring to here is the Microsoft Windows XP Professional flag that you see before you log into your system.

For the purposes of this article, we'll be replacing a key component of Windows XP. Make sure you have a full backup of your system before attempting to make these changes. If you make a mistake, you may have to completely reinstall Windows XP.

Not for the faint of heart
Back in the Windows 9x days, it was easy to modify the boot logo. All you had to do was replace one simple file and you were set and ready to go. Microsoft made the task much more difficult under Windows XP.

Windows XP's boot logo is embedded within the NTOSKRNL.EXE file. This is the main kernel for the entire operating system. That means that you can't just swap out one image file for another. Instead you have to hack the NTOSKRNL.EXE file, find the XP boot logo, replace it with your new logo, and save the NTOSKRNL.EXE file.

It may sound simple, but it's not. And, as I said before, NTOSKRNL.EXE is a key component of Windows XP. If you damage the file and make a mistake, you won't be able to boot your workstation. There are ways to do this manually that you can find on the Internet. Doing research for this article, I discovered that manually hacking the NTOSKRNL.EXE file can be an exercise in frustration.

Fortunately, there's an easier way. Using a freeware utility called Boot Editor, you can change Windows XP boot files relatively quickly.

Getting ready
Before you dive into the process, you'll need a few things in advance. First, you'll need a copy of Boot Editor itself. You can find out about the program by going to the Boot Editor Home Page. Unfortunately, at the time this article was prepared, you can't download Boot Editor from this site. Instead, you can obtain Boot Editor here. The file you want, booteditor.zip, is under 700 KB in size, so it will download quickly.

Second, you'll need a copy of the logo you want to use in place of the Windows XP logo. The boot logo restrictions are very tight. The file you use must be in BMP format. Additionally, it must be at 640 x 480 resolution. The color depth must be 16 color. You can use any graphics program you want to create the file, but you must meet those restrictions. With a little bit of additional hacking, you can increase this color depth, but that's beyond the scope of this article.

Third, you'll need a copy of the NTOSKRNL.EXE file. You don't want to modify the original in case you make a mistake. You'll find the NTOSKRNL.EXE file in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory. Create a copy of it called NTOSKRNL2.EXE. Just use the Copy and Paste function in Explorer. Do NOT rename the file. This is the file you'll be modifying. To play it extra safe, you may want to create a copy of the NTOSKRNL.EXE file on a floppy diskette.

Hacking the file
Now that you've made your preparations, you're ready to go. Create a subdirectory on your C: drive named BootEditor and extract the files in the booteditor.zip file into it. Unlike most Windows programs, BootEditor doesn't include an installation wizard. All you have to do is extract the files. You'll also need copies of msvbvm60.dll and comctl32.ocx. Download the files to the BootEditor folder and extract their contents.

Next, double-click Booteditor.exe. Boot Editor will ask you if you want to read the Readme doc. Primarily the Readme file contains information about version history, but you should read through it anyway. After you do so, you'll see the screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Boot Editor allows you to change XP boot logos.


Click File | New Boot Screen. You'll then see the screen shown in Figure B. Here, you'll enter the name of your new boot screen in the Name Of New Screen field. Leave a check on the Put A Copy Of Ntoskrnl.exe checkbox. This will cause Boot Editor to create a copy of NTOSKRNL.EXE in its temporary folder for modification.

Figure B
Create a new boot screen.


You'll then see the default Windows XP boot screen appear, as shown in Figure C. You can view other bitmaps in the NTOSKRNL.EXE file by selecting the screens from the Bitmap drop-down list box.

Figure C
Boot Editor loads the default boot logo from NTOSKRNL.EXE


The first thing you should do is save the palette for the boot logo to a temporary file. Click Save As PAL. Provide a file name in the Save As screen.

You'll have to apply this palette to the BMP file you want to use as your new boot logo. XP is very picky about the boot palette, so if you don't apply it to the logo before importing it, the logo may not look the way you want when you restart the computer. How you do so will vary depending on the paint program you're using, so I can't tell you specifically how to do it here. I used Paint Shop Pro and got good results.

After you've modified your boot logo, right click the current XP boot logo in Boot Editor and select Load A New Image. When the Open window appears, find your new logo and click Open. You'll then see the screen shown in Figure D.

Figure D
Load your new image into Boot Editor.


As you can see, the Professional label and the blue load graphic still exist on your new image. That's because these items are actually stored in different layers of the image. You can remove the Professional label by right-clicking it and selecting Delete This (Temp) Bitmap. You can also drag the blue load graphic up and down vertically on the image. You can't locate it anywhere else on the logo, however.

When the image appears the way you want it to, click File | Make Boot Exe. You'll then see the screen shown in Figure E.

Figure E
You can now create your new boot file.


Here you want to make sure the Clear All checkbox in the Overlays box is selected. Additionally, make sure that Delete Unused Bitmaps is selected. Click OK. Boot Editor will then create a new NTOSKRNL.EXE file with your new bitmaps applied.

You'll also see a dialog box appear noting that Boot Editor has copied the new boot kernel to your Windows\System32\ folder called NewBoot.exe. As part of the process, it also modifies your Boot.ini file to add a copy of the new boot screen to your workstation. Click OK to clear the screen.

You can now view the new boot screen. Shut down your workstation and restart it. When the workstation restarts, you'll see XP's Boot menu. Select OS For Testing Boot Screen and press [Enter]. (If you allow the default setting of Microsoft Windows XP Professional, then you'll see the original boot screen, not your new one.)After you select the test boot screen, your logo should appear the way you saved it.

Making the new boot screen permanent
Once you've got your boot screen the way you want it, you can make it permanent. To do so, you must modify boot.ini. Right-click My Computer and select Properties. When the System Properties screen appears, select the Advanced tab. Click the Settings button in the Startup And Recovery box.

When the Startup And Recovery screen appears, click Edit. This will launch Notepad with a copy of your boot.ini file. Be very careful when making changes to this file. If you make a mistake, you may cause your XP workstation unable to boot.

Look for the line of the boot.ini file that says something similar to:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="OS for testing new boot screen" /fastdetect /KERNEL=NewBoot.exe

Go to the line that references the test boot screen. Edit the line and replace "OS for testing new boot screen" with something more descriptive such as "XP's New Boot Screen." Close Notepad to save the changes.

Click OK to close the Startup And Recovery screen. Click Settings again to reload the screen. Click the Default Operating System dropdown list box and select the new boot screen choice you just entered. Remove the check from Time To Display list Of Operating Systems. Close System Properties and reboot your workstation. It should now start with the new boot logo. To reenable the original boot logo, follow the above procedure but this time select the original line.

Completely eliminating the boot logo
If you want, you can complete eliminate the XP boot logo altogether. Doing so will make XP boot up a little faster, but it will also cause you to miss boot up messages such as disk checks.

To turn off the boot logo, right click My Computer and select Properties. When the System Properties screen appears, select the Advanced tab. Click the Settings button in the Startup And Recovery box.

When the Startup And Recovery screen appears, click Edit. This will launch Notepad with a copy of your boot.ini file. Be very careful when making changes to this file. If you make a mistake, you may cause your XP workstation unable to boot.

Look for the line of the boot.ini file that says something similar to:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

Add /noguiboot to the end of the line so it looks like this:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noguiboot

Save the file, and click OK to close the Startup And Recovery screen. Close System Properties and reboot your workstation. It should now start without a boot logo. To reenable the boot logo, follow the above procedure but this time remove the /noguiboot switch from the end of the line.
8 comments
griesner
griesner

There's a MUCH EASIER and safer way to do this. I don't recall where I found it, but I've tried it and it works beautifully. 1) Create your new splash screen. Name it Boot.bmp and stash it in C:\Windows 2) Edit the BOOT.INI file line that usually ends with /fastdetect and add: /bootlogo /noguiboot Save the file. Restart the PC and voila - new splash screen!

wolf13
wolf13

download tuneup you get thirty day trial can use any picture to make your own boot screen stays with you even if you dont want the software pretty simple

wlportwashington
wlportwashington

The files, msvbvm60.dll and comctl32.ocx were unavailable for download. It would be nice if the links actually worked this way the program can be tested.

scorpNZ
scorpNZ

Bootskin can be downloaded from download.com at cnet as can logon studio,both are free as for skins wincustomise or any other skinning site is worth a look for free skins

charles.thompson
charles.thompson

It doesn't work. is the "/bootlogo" suppose to be the file name?

wolf13
wolf13

Make your own boot screen with this program simple easy to use free for thirty days -- by the way this is a sweet program have had no problems with anything it does even the registry cleaner(amazing as most reg cleaners i have found have screwed up something) http://www.tune-up.com/

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