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Create a Custom Boot Logo for Windows Vista

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT WORK WITH VISTA SP1. IF YOU ATTEMPT THIS IN SP1, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BOOT YOUR COMPUTER.

If you are a desktop customization kinda guy, one of the first things you’ll want to figure out is how to create a customized boot logo. There’s a little utility that you can use to create the boot logo formats.

DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS UTILITY IF YOU HAVE VISTA SP1

First you’ll need to download the Vista Boot Logo Generator 1.1 utility, which we’ll use to create the correct logo image type. Once it’s installed, you need to make sure that you run the application as administrator:

We should choose an appropriate logo file. Since I’m a big fan of linux, and not as big a fan of Windows Vista, I chose an image of Tux making windows suck that I found over here.

Choose two versions of the image, one needs to be 800×600 at 24 bit color, and the other 1024×768 at the same color depth. Both files must be in Bitmap(BMP) format. Save the file somewhere like your desktop, because we can’t yet copy directly to the correct directory, until we take ownership of the file.

To take ownership of the file, you’ll have to open an administrator command prompt. (type cmd into the start menu search box, and hit Ctrl+Shift+Enter), and then run this command:

takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui

Now run this command, substituting geek for your username:

cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F

Now copy the file that you created into the C:\windows\system32\en-US\ directory. Make sure you choose the overwrite option.

Now you’ll need to use the msconfig utility. Just type msconfig into the start menu search box, and then click the Boot tab:

Check the “No GUI boot” option, and we’re all ready to reboot and test it out. Sweet!

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/25/07

Comments (74)

  1. karmaghost

    That’s cool, but in that logo, it’s it Tux (or Linux) that’s “sucking?” i.e. “Linux sucks?”

  2. The Geek

    Actually it’s a picture of Tux sucking on a Windows juice box that says “Windows – we suck more”

    =)

  3. Gav

    Hi Geek,

    I’m having some troubles with this one. Have claimed ownership of the file but when i run the 2nd command i get the message ‘The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect’

    Any ideas?

    Thnx

  4. The Geek

    Gav,

    Did you try changing directory into the full directory path and then running the command?

    Alternatively, you can browse down to the file in windows explorer and go into the properties, security options. From there you can also set permissions on the file.

  5. Gav

    Thanks Geek. Using explorer did the trick.

  6. Mike

    I got a message that it can’t be done on x64 systems or the system will become unbootable…

    So, will it work with x64 or not?

    thx

  7. The Geek

    Mike,

    I wouldn’t use it with x64. I’m assuming that it doesn’t work there.

  8. Mike

    Well….crap. I got a nice pic of Jessica Alba from Sin city just begging to be a startup screen. :)

  9. Roy

    Would you mind posting a link to the 2 BMP’s you are illusrating in your article “Create a Custom Boot Logo”

  10. Guest

    How can i get an animated gif — such as a loading animation to come up if it is bmp file??

  11. dizzybro

    I followed everything in the tutorial, but I only get the hidden aurora boot screen and not the one that I made.

  12. adam

    my computer didn’t come with the logo when it loads… do you know where i could get the default image?

  13. todd

    i gave up trying to figure out how to get my pics to be that exact size

  14. Konur

    I was be able to change it. However, can I change the windows vista button showsup after the custom boot logo?

  15. joel

    Wow, I’m a novice and it worked perfect….thanks a lot bud

  16. Ghanshyamsinh

    hai this is very nice but will be better if worked on x64.

    find a solution man

    replay me when got solution for x64

  17. Jey

    This is a nice enhancement, but do you know how to keep this in place after sysprepping? The file stays there, but the noguiboot option gets turned off. Is there a command line method of turning it back on? Thanks!

  18. Monkey

    Does work for x64 now, jsut cant use the program on a 64bit os, the program must be run on 32bit os, and then the pic can be moved over. Ive got custom screen working, just wanna figure out if anyone has been able to change the “resuming windows” screen

  19. Chris

    How do you get back to the Aurora bootscreen after adding your own?

  20. Tevin

    I followed everything in the tutorial, but I only get the hidden aurora boot screen and not the one that I made.

  21. Bern

    Hey, any idea how to completely remove the Vista Window when the PC boots up? It seems this is what takes the longest to boot up, yet it’s not even needed. Cheers..B

  22. robgroove.com

    answer to burn: its there for a reason. its there because your computer is working to load everything up you cant just turn your computer on and have everything instantly there can you.

    answer to chris : i have added the original winload.exe.mui file to my website you can find it in the forum under “customize vista”

    i will also be posting my own boot and logon screens on my website for your downloading pleasure.

  23. Paolo

    What as awesome add-on.

  24. Eric Torres

    I tried to change the permissions by trying either the command prompt or Windows Explorer for the first step, but I can’t do it in either one of them for some reason.

    C:\Users\Eric Torres>takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui
    ERROR: The current logged on user does not have ownership privileges on
    the file (or folder) “C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui”.

    Be aware – I’m the only user of this computer. Maybe Windows File Protection or something isn’t letting me do this?

  25. JOSE

    Hi Geek,

    I have followed everything step by step but When I try to overwrite the existing file It Says I dont have permission . Any tips that might solve the prob?

  26. Daryl

    Just Click Start>>Accessories>>Command Prompt Right Click Command Prompt and type the command

  27. Peeti

    Hi!

    It sounds great! Is there a way to change the logoff screen? I mean the blue one similar to the default wallpaper (maybe blue aurora?)

    Thanks!

  28. Hunter

    Hi geek, i get ownership just fine, but when i go to do the second prompt I get a message saying “cacls is deprecated, please use Icacls”, then when i use Icacls in the same line, it says “Windows cannot find the specified path. Successfully processed 0 files; failed processing 1 file.”

    Any suggestions?
    im running Vista Home Premium…if that helps at all..

  29. Pras

    Same problem as hunter!! Also running Vista Home Premium .

  30. michael

    hey.

    this sound awesome but when i get to the take ownership part the second command asks iff im sure.. i say yes then it says. the folder cannot be found?? whats with that???

    help would be much apreciated =]

    thnx

  31. michael

    disregard that last comment..

    i got it to work by typeing it in the wndows explorer.. and now i have a madd halo 3 war boot screen.. =]..

    thanx how to geek.

  32. Muhammad Javed

    Hi, Thanks for these informations, i used and secceded in changing boot logo.

    Thanks

  33. Jey

    Anyone find a way of automating the portion of the process where you are selecting the No GUI Boot option?

  34. Silverchild

    Hi.

    If you use vista and get ‘”cacls is deprecated, please use Icacls”‘, you can still ‘manually’ change the permissions.

    Just right-click the file : property : security, and edit the permissions. Give yourself full access. After that, just rename the file ( or delete it I guess ). Thats what I did, and now it works fine :)

  35. prat

    hey when i type cmd into start menu search box and hit ctrl+shift+enter it opens a site calfornia micro devices.how do i administer???

  36. Becky636

    I followed all instructions, however just received the aura on reboot . NOt my pictures

    Any Idea..

    I have Vista Ultimate

  37. Becky636

    For some reason I still can not get it work. What program do you use to convert picture to 24 bit?

  38. PoppaDon56

    I used Adobe CS3 to save as BMP 24 bit. Followed procedures as outlined and had no problems.

  39. KaLei Kristy

    Hi.. I got the first part done.

    When I got to the second part where I got to type in this command line:

    “cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F”

    It replied me with

    “No mappy between account names and security IDs was done.”

    Now, my Vista account name is KaLei Kristy, with a space in between. Is this what’s stopping me?

    How can I solve this please?

    Many thanks!!

    KaLei Kristy

  40. drumthrasher109

    Yeah but you don’t have a progress bar.

  41. Oilyrag

    This is soooooo cool, I love customising windows and this is a great way to start a dreary day. Geek you are a star of the highest order.

  42. rambler

    I did all the things without any problem, but the boot screen is the old Aurora. I even searched for other possible locations of windows.exe.mui, i found another one in C:\Windows\System32\Boot\en-US and also replaced it.
    Nothing happens. I mention that i have a Genuine Vista Business license (purchased it).
    Please someone email me if you know the solution.
    Best regards everyone!

  43. mdnomohammad

    I did all the things exactly.but Nothing happens.
    What is The problem?

  44. Higham

    Hi Geek,

    Thanks for your advise! It worked fine my laptop because I have a custom boot logo screen of a picture with llamas.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  45. justin

    in reply to eric.
    when you type in the command stuff you you have to change geek to whatever your username on your computer is. then when the cmd asks you if you are sure type in y and hit enter. then follow the rest of the directions. i had the same problem but then i fixed it with that

  46. cory

    anyone know if this supports animated .bmp’s?
    i’d rather not go through the trouble (and space) of making a couple to no avail…
    not to mention if it would slow down start-up time..

  47. bighy

    I did all the things exactly.but Nothing happens.

  48. gobel

    You wrote, quote: “Choose two versions of the image, one needs to be 800×600 at 24 bit color, and the other 1024×768 at the same color depth”

    OK, so we have two files, one 800×600 and one 1024×768

    then you say, quote:”Now copy the file (singular) that you created into the C:\windows\system32\en-US\ directory. Make sure you choose the overwrite option”.

    but I have created TWO files (1024×768 AND 800×600). I guess I move the two files (what about their names ? – Or I undestood something wrongly

    thanks

  49. Unicron

    gobel: you must make an winload.exe.mui from the file menu, then copy THAT to you dir, not the pics.

    And to everyone who can’t get it to wor after following this guide exactly, i suspect you have to put the file in the dir according to YOUR Vista’s language, e.g. i am sitting on a norwegian system, so i must place it in “C:\Windows\System32\nb-NO” instead of “C:\Windows\System32\en-US”.

    If this turns out to be the case, please correct your guide, Mr.Geek

  50. Unicron

    Sorry for double posting, but it seems i was partly correct. You indeed have to put it in the dir accordinly to your language, however, it doesn’t seem to work on native norwegian systems(not using language file). When i compared the generated to the original, it looked like it was corrupt, seeing as the original had a readable hybrid between html and xmls(?) and some other data, while the generated did NOT conain ANY coherent words. looks like it still needs alot of work.

    Any chance you could make it norwegian compatible?

  51. gobel

    Thanks and great …. nice tweak …. it works ….
    or does it?
    Vista open with the new nice 1024×768 picture, some 5 seconds, then there is another 5 seconds of black screen, and then the normal Vista desktop.

    I have the impression that the 800×600 image is not used.
    (On Toshiba Satellite A135, res. 1280×800)

  52. Evan

    hey, if you have a widescreen laptop like mine, if you get pictures that are 1024×768 and 800×600 they are going to look streched. so what you have to do is find a widescreen image (that fits your screen perfectly) and simply resize the pic to 1024×768 and 800×600 . it may look odd and distorted, but when you boot your computer up, it should look perfectly normal.

    no animated images can be used due to the fact that it has to be a bmp img.
    if you have a lot of problems with the premissions, it might be worth it to start it in safe mode (hit f8 or f9 after the Bios screen)

  53. Hostile80

    1. Download Dan Smiths Vista Boot Logo Generator.
    2. Install and run from the link in the Start Menu.
    3. Hit Browse for image and select both the 800×600 and 1024×768 resolution bitmap files for your boot screen.
    4. Click on File and select Save Boot Screen File As to save your file.
    5. Next, you will need to replace the winload.exe.mui file in C:\Windows\System32\en-us with the one you just created. Before you copy in your new file, make a backup of the original. You will need to take ownership of all files in the en-us directory, and also give your account file permissions to replace the files in order to overwrite the original file with the new winload.exe.mui file.

    To do so, log on as an administrator (if you have not done it by now). Open Windows Explorer and go to the C:\Windows\System32\ folder. Right click on the winload.exe.mui file and select Properties.

    * Next, click on Security tab and click Advanced.
    * Click on the Owner tab, and click Edit.
    * If you are prompted with the User Account Control Box, click Continue.
    * Click to select the Administrator account, or better, the user that you’re currently using and which has Administrative capabilities, in my case, horstl. Click OK.
    * Back in the Security tab, click Edit to add your user account.
    * If you are prompted with the User Account Control Box, click Continue.
    * Click Add, select the desired user account (in my case – horstl), and click OK.
    * After it is shown in the list, select it and click the Full Control checkbox. Click OK all the way out.

    6. Now you can save the modified logon file in the C:\Windows\System32\en-us directory. You will be prompted to overwrite the existing file, click OK.
    7. Next, you’ll be prompted to change the boot setting in the MSCONFIG tool. Click OK.
    8. Now, click on the Start button and type in “MSCONFIG” in the textbox.
    9. If you are prompted with the User Account Control Box, click Continue.
    10. Once the System Configuration tool loads, click on the Boot tab.
    11. Under Boot Options check “No GUI Boot”.
    12. You will be prompted to reboot. If you want to, press Restart to see the new screen.

    IT WORKED FOR ME AND IM RUNNING VISTA EASY MONEY AND QUITE KEWL !!!

  54. Prophet07

    Copy the test below to a TXT file & save it as Boot.BAT

    @echo off
    takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui
    cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /grant %UserName%:F
    ren C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui winload.exe.mui.original
    Copy winload.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\
    exit

    Now place your new boot file along with this in your C:\ drive & run…:)

  55. Magikus

    Hi this was working fine for me until I installed the new vista service pack. I redid it after the service pack install because it was not showing up……… Anyways does anybody know how to do it with the service pack installed??? SP seems to make this not work anymore

  56. drumthrasher109

    Got a quick question, does this program work for SP1?

    The thing thats actually keeping me from using this is the fact that you don’t get the animation bar on the bottom of the bootscreen…correct me if i’m wrong.

  57. The Geek

    I’m not sure that this works for SP1 anymore… might have to wait until the author of the application updates it.

  58. DMaster

    Having problems. Steps # 1 thru 3 I have no problem with.
    Step 4 (Now run this command, substituting geek for your username:
    cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F) Just will not work for me.

    Things I have done: inserted my name where ‘geek’ is – selected YES for
    are you sure’ copied (and drag and drop) winload.exe.mui (my version) into C:\Windows\System32\en-US\
    but everytime I try to drag & drop or copy & paste VISTA says ‘You’ll need to provide admin. permission to move to this file; I select continue and it comes up again with
    Try again’

    What am I doing wrong? Can someone help me please?

  59. Prophet07

    @ DMaster You are trying to hard..You dont need to change anything in the batch command..Ive updated it for you..Just make a new TXT file & copy whats below into it & save as .BAT instead of .TXT then place the batch file & your boot file in your C drive & run..Thats it..YOU dont need to edit your own user name or anything just run the file its fully unattended..:)..Its part of a program ive made..It autoruns giving you a GUI with a picture of each bootscreen..when you click on the pic you like it copies both files to the C ready for running..

    @echo OFF
    TAKEOWN /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui
    ECHO Y| CACLS C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G %UserName%:F
    COPY winload.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\

  60. laius

    i have the same problem:

    Eric Torres
    I tried to change the permissions by trying either the command prompt or Windows Explorer for the first step, but I can’t do it in either one of them for some reason.

    C:\Users\Eric Torres>takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui
    ERROR: The current logged on user does not have ownership privileges on
    the file (or folder) “C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui”.

    Be aware – I’m the only user of this computer. Maybe Windows File Protection or something isn’t letting me do this? what do i do?

    cheers,

    laius

  61. Prophet07

    Will you people just all grown a brain FFS…Ive posted a fully working fully automated way of applying BootScreens..Just use the above txt to make a batch file & it all works…Stop trying to do the long winded crap up top cos you obviously dont have the aptitude to get it to work..Pft

    @echo OFF
    TAKEOWN /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui
    ECHO Y| CACLS C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G %UserName%:F
    COPY winload.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\

    Make a Batch file from this & place both files in your C drive & run the batch file..It automates the permissions & applies the boot GUI for you…

  62. mittfh

    If by any strange chance following the above instructions doesn’t work, two things you may consider:
    1) User Account Control – try temporarily disabling it.
    2) Enable the hidden Administrator account (google for instructions) and try using that.

    However, bear in mind a few little niggling caveats about changing your Vista startup screen:
    1) It’s a static image, so no animation – unlike Win 9x, you can’t put a set of coloured bars at the bottom of the image and expect Windows to animate them.
    2) Your 24 bit images are higher quality than the rather muted version of Aurora supplied as default, therefore will (a) increase the filesize of winload.exe.mui and (b) result in a slight delay to bootup as Windows loads the image.
    3) As others have commented, there is no immediate transition from your boot image to the orb and “Win-dows Vis-ta” jingle, so you’ll have to face a few seconds of black between the two.

  63. Adam

    If you have Vista SP1 DO NOT DO THIS.
    I did it again after installing SP1 and when i restarted I could not access my computer due to a system file not having a valid digital signature. Had to take my hard drive out and go to my bro’s house to copy in an original version of the file. Microsoft sucks!

    geek, I think you should remove this page until a solution is found. Or if you know how to disable this need for digital sig, please email me!

  64. The Geek

    @Adam

    I’m going to put a note at the top of the article stating that.

    So far I haven’t come up with a solution for SP1.

  65. Adam

    cheers mate. perhaps you should add “you will not be able to access your computer” to the warning just in case! hopefully a fix can be figured out.
    when i tried to start windows it said, if you want to continue, please disable digital device driver checking, however i have no idea how, and couldn’t do it anyway – due to being unable to access windows! would this work?

  66. jai bautista

    Hi Guys!

    The Geek is right, as well as the others.

    THIS DOES NOT WORK IN SP1.

    I tried doing the same trick before i installed SP1, It won’t work.

    I just hate the boring aurora boot logo.

    The Geek, please update us if there’s a solution for SP1 already! I miss my apple boot logo. :((

    Thanks!

  67. josh

    Hi Geek, im having trouble finding a picture of windows vista as a bmp file any idea’s?

  68. The Geek

    @josh

    You’ll have to use an image editing application to save as a bitmap.

    Keep in mind that this article DOES NOT work on Vista SP1.

  69. Pish

    I followed the original instructions and only get the hidden aura boot screen not my image?? What do I do?? Thanks =)

  70. Europa

    I had this working, but it doesn’t work anymore. Probably because I installed the service pack? How can I check if I do have service pack 1? Does anyone know of any alternative methods change the default boot screen?

  71. Daryl

    Hey guys I know how to change the vista sp1 boot screen just download tuneup utilities 2008 and use tune up styler 2 and you can figure it out there.

  72. weylinthedirty

    Geek,

    When I type the second command “Cacls …” into the command prompt and then type Y to confirm, I get an “access is denied” message.

    I am logged in as the Super Admin and trying to do so for Administrator which is my account name

  73. mr.Ak

    hi geek.
    i’m having problem with the format stuff i thing.i converted a .png file to a jpg file via paint, and when i try to select the image for the boot screen it says “bitmap image is not valid” any ideas?

  74. The Geek

    I am closing comments on this post.

    THIS METHOD DOES NOT WORK IN VISTA SP1.

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