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Manually changing the Windows XP boot logo - Create Custom

After showing you guys how to tweak every last bit of performance out of your installation of windows XP there's some personalization tweaks that you're going to want to do. The first part I'm going to cover is making a custom startup screen. There's a number of shareware applications like StyleXP or bootxp that will do this for you ThemeXP even has a ton for you to download. I don't want to use shareware applications nor did I find anybody else's instructions adequate (That I found sitting atop google at least). What am I going to do if I want a truly custom boot screen AND don't want to use an annoying shareware application?

Lucky for us somebody has provided us a truly FREE solution. UserXP, you ROCK! Download his boot editor app HERE.

DISCLAIMER: Before we go any further you must realize that things within this article can REALLY mess your system up. I try to make some precautionary steps. You may render your system unbootable if you don't follow directions properly. Backup your original ntoskrnl.exe and boot.ini. the boot.ini is usually c:\boot.ini and the ntoskrnl.exe is in your windows\system32 directory.

After extracting the archive to wherever you want you may need to register a couple of files. Move the dll and ocx files within the archive to your system32 directory. After this has been completed go to the command prompt and enter "regsvr32 AxImage.ocx"

Now you should be able to start the program.

Once in the program the first thing you should do is hit ctrl-N which will open a new project for you to work on.

Click the box where it says Name of new screen and type in what you want to call this. Make sure the other settings are exactly the same as mine. For this demo I'm calling my screen IANAG.

After you click OK you should be seeing the default startup screen.

You'll probably want to map what image editing program you'd like to use. I personally am using Image Ready here. This makes it so that when you double click on the image it'll open right up in your editing program for easy editing.

If you already have your .bmp ready you can just right click somewhere around the windows logo and select delete this temp bitmap. You'll be prompted to hit OK. After that right click again and select load a new image. Browse to where it's at. You will most likely be prompted that it is not in a 16 color format. Hit yes to convert it. If you get some kind of RGB scale warning just ignore it and hit OK. I've found that this doesn't actually cause any problems in MY CASE.

After this you'll see there's still a couple more items to change. The word Professional (Says Home on Home editition) is in the way and the loading bar is too. Make sure that you keep the loading bar in mind when you're creating this. You will only be able to drag it around Vertically and not horizontally with this program. Yes it is possible to move it horizontally, but it involves hex editing.

First lets move that loading bar down to where I want it.

Now that it's where I want it we can move on to getting rid of the overlay that contains the word Professional in it. (If you're using the home edition it will say home) Towards the upper left you will see where you select which bitmap. In my case I am choosing Overlay (Pro) The home edition people need to use Overlay (Home).

You will need to create a 1 pixel by 1 pixel image that will blend into the image you have behind it. After you have the image created right click where it says Pro or Home and select delete this temp bitmap. Then right click and select load a new image. Browse to that 1x1 image and click OK.

Now all of your image editing should be done. The next step is to save things.
Click on save All.
Click OK to overwrite all previous bitmaps
Before we Make it lets make sure that you have an extra line in your boot.ini just in case

Hit ctrl-o and it'll pull up your options. In the bottom left you'll see a box labeled select OS. Click it. You'll see a list of what's in your boot.ini file. Just click add and get back to the main screen.

From here we're ready to click the Make button. Here's what mine looks like:

I would suggest you do exactly the same with yours. Click ok whenever you're done.

The last thing that I would do is open up your boot.ini and set the timeout to something like 10 while I'm testing. This program also adds the line on the bottom of the boot.ini in order for it to be the default you will have to move this new line to the top of the list. My boot.ini looks like this:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
signature(85b37567)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="OS for testing new boot screen" /fastdetect /KERNEL=NewBoot.exe
signature(85b37567)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="(default)Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

The line that is for the new custom image is this one:

signature(85b37567)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="OS for testing new boot screen" /fastdetect /KERNEL=NewBoot.exe

You should now be ready to click on test. After that go ahead and reboot your system. After you've tested everything you can bring the timout in your boot.ini back down to 0 to never see it again.

Anybody want the IANAG one that Joe made for me? Here it is. Thanks again Joe for the groovy graphic.


I felt the need to write this cause it's SOOO hard to find good instructions for doing this without using some crappy shareware programs. I am a believer in Linux, open source and anything free. I hope you found these instructions useful and I hope google puts this guide above those crappy guides telling you to use shareware programs.