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Windows XP and Vista expert tweaking guide

Have Windows your way. Today

Change your Windows boot screen

Got a problem with Windows? There's no need to put up with elements that don't suit you. We've got the tools to help you get XP or Vista looking and acting just right.
Tired of seeing the same old Create or find a 24bit .bmp graphic for your new boot screen. You'll need two versions of the graphic: one that's 1,024x768 pixels in size and one that's 800x600.

If you can't create them yourself, use Google image search. Under each result you'll see the dimensions of the graphic. Adding the word 'wallpaper' to the search subject may help.

Don't worry if you come across a Jpeg graphic. You can still use it, because Internet Explorer (IE) can save it as a .bmp. Right-click the image in IE, select 'Save Picture As' and, in the 'Save As Type' drop-down menu, select Bitmap (*.bmp) and click Save.

Save time by finding one 1,024x768-pixel image, then resizing it an 800x600-pixel file (in addition to its original 1,024x768 size). A great, free tool for achieving this is IrfanView. Download, install and run Vista Boot Logo Generator. Click 'Browse for image' to select your graphics.

Select File, Save Boot Screen As, then save the file to any location on your hard disk. The program will save the files as a single file: winload.exe.mui.

Copy the saved file to C:\Windows\System32\en-US. There will already be a
file in that folder named winload.exe.mui. Make a copy of it first.

Now run the MSConfig utility by typing 'msconfig' at the Search box or command prompt and pressing Enter. Click the Boot tab, select 'No GUI boot' then click ok.

Restart Windows to see your new boot screen in all its full-colour glory.
Note that, depending on your configuration, Vista may not allow you to overwrite the winload.exe.mui file. If that's the case, you'll need to do some extra work.

Run the command prompt as an administrator – type 'cmd' at the Search box and press Ctrl, Shift, Enter. Then enter the following command: 'takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui'.

You'll get a message that you have ownership of C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui. Type 'cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G xxx:F' (where 'xxx' is your username) at the command prompt and press Enter.

You'll be asked whether you want to proceed. Press the 'Y' key and then press Enter. After that, you'll see the message: 'Processed file: C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui'.

You can now go ahead and copy winload.exe.mui to C:\Windows\System32\en-US and proceed with the tweak.

Boot screen

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