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Enable Hidden BootScreen in Windows Vista

The Windows Vista BootScreen is pointless, but Microsoft decided to hide a more visually appealing boot screen that can easily be enabled with very little trouble. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the boot screen better.

If you really want a better boot screen, you can check out my article on creating a custom boot logo.

Here’s the default boot screen:

And here’s the hidden one, called “Aurora”

All you have to do is type msconfig into the start menu search box, and hit enter.

Click the Boot tab, and then check the “No GUI boot” checkbox.

Hit OK and reboot the computer. You should see the new boot screen immediately.

Note: You may get a Windows Defender error on the next startup. You can enable the system config utility using the tray icon and this error will go away.

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 02/11/07

Comments (49)

  1. Paul Stamatiou

    Thanks for the tip, worked flawlessly!

  2. Dreamchaser

    That was a sweet and smart Tip. Tested and worked fine and I never got any issues with Windows Defender as you stated in the article.

    Again thanks for the short and sweet tip :-)

    Cheers,
    Dreamchaser

  3. Charles

    Cool. Now all you have to do is find where that image is located, back it up and then go about changing it. Except they probably made it complicated, like changing the image in XP.

  4. Tobbi

    Looks very nice :)

  5. Xofis

    They hid it to speed up boot.

  6. Duckling

    The new boot screen is extremely similar to the default for when resuming windows and instead of displaying “Starting Windows Vista” it displays “Resuming Windows”.

    So it isn’t all totally new, but yes does make a nice change from the current starting screen.

  7. ilovedanica

    OMG the hidden one is a million times better

  8. everton

    I was a bit disappointed – I prefer the original screen!

  9. thedude

    Meh. I prefer the minimal, quasi-retro original version. If I could get it to move back-an-fro whilst playing a midi file of the Knight-Rider theme…

    But thanks for the tip, nonetheless.

  10. joost musik

    Really nice, aurora borealis type look

  11. Paul C.

    Sio what are the other boot options for? The base video? Guess I will try it and see.
    I was hoping this would have had some movement to it, like a rea aura borealis.

  12. Terrence C

    yea..i dont like it..iwas hoping the windows orb will have a spinning light and has transitions like the logon screen.

  13. Fyr

    I also liked the original boot screen but how to change the not so pretty shut down screen?

  14. Kyle

    the screen is neat but i wish there was a progress bar on it why would theymake another boot screen if they were going to hide it on us?

  15. Joe

    The reason they hid it because, on average, it makes Vista boot up 6 seconds faster than normal.

    Oh, and it doesn’t work for me. With /noguiboot on, I get nothing but a blank screen until the welcome screen appears.

  16. bv_andy

    When I enable the hidden “AURORA” boot screen it takes a minute to boot… maby thats why they hid it.
    I have a god pc experience index is 3.8 (GF 7300GT) andy AMD 64 3000+

  17. Frank

    your computer must be pretty crappy then my lappy with an experience of 2.0 a turion 64 2.2ghz takes the same amount of time with this hidden boot screen if not a few seconds faster!

  18. Ghanshyamsinh

    hi,

    this is cool i loved you each and every article it’s really nice. i like to heard from you some more thing about vista x64. keep righting dude.

    regards,
    ghanshyam

  19. Monkey

    Any idea how to change the Resuming windows screen? id like to customize that too

  20. dBLOOD

    I’m not sure… Is it moving/changing, or still?

  21. GOUTTAM

    this is good

  22. wattkisson

    I tried this tweak. It changed the bootscreen, but now Windows will not boot. How can I correct this when I can’t get in Windows at all?

  23. dBLOOD

    Try to boot up with vista install disk, there will be a repair option… somewhere…

  24. Kevin

    I read somewhere that the reason the boot screen is so plain is that Microsoft asked its vendors to stop adding so much stuff to the boot screens for their own products, and decided to lead by example. I can’t remember where I saw that, though, so it could be nonsense.

  25. Gianni

    How do i get back to the original bootup screen??? my pc boots up much slower now that i have switched to the hidden one

  26. randy

    i did your tweak but all i got was black screen and i waited and it loaded like normal no aurora any suggestions?

  27. Stygian

    Personally, I prefer the “OS Boot Information” setting instead. This gives you an NT4 style boot that shows all kernel drivers as they load, the kernel version, the number of CPUs and amount of ram detected, then shows the results of the drive check options. After this, the GUI appears normally.

    To do this same tweak to an XP machine, open your boot.ini file, and add /SOS to the end of the boot line.

    Also, if you don’t have it already, search Google for “TweakVI”, and install it. It’ll let you tweak every aspect of Vista, and allow you to take much of the control back.

  28. Andrew

    I just did it now windows will not load just a black screen When i try to do a vista repair there does not show any op system installed anyone else had this problem and got it repaire?

  29. Marc

    All your tips are great, very “actionable” and directive. At the end of the tip on enabling the hidden bootscreen in Windows Vista, is the comment: “You may get a Windows Defender error on the next startup. You can enable the system config utility using the tray icon and this error will go away.” Can you give me some actionable information. I’m not sure what to do.

    Thanks!

    Marc / Tristin

  30. Lens.

    what puzzles me is if they hid it to speed up the startup why put it on at all just to hide it??

  31. AJ

    Liked the screen, but it made my Toshiba DVD player not be able to find the video output. Undo the check and it works again.
    Oh Well,
    AJ

  32. Michael

    Wait, if you anble it, does it speed up the boot, or does it slow down the boot?

  33. Roger

    It is better than the original, but I confirm that it slows down the boot. My expirence score is 5.0.
    Some specifications: AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-64
    3 gb memory
    Vista Home Premium

    PC : Toshiba Satellite P300D 10V. :)

  34. Vitali

    A) All your experience base scores suck, mine is 5.9, but that is the maximum there is so mine is probably a lot higher.

    B) People that can no longer boot into window after doing this just reboot, and while it’s booting, press F8 multiple times, and then select safe mode. Then untick the box

  35. allan

    the new boot screen is used when you turn your pc on from hibernate

  36. Swebbe

    Thats no hidden bootscreen… That “bootscreen” comes up when u put your pc in resting mode and shows when powering up the computer from it… But i guess it works as a bootscreen to :P

  37. WallpaperFreek

    I’m trying to find this image in a jpg or png file so I can use it as a wallpaper…anyone know where I can find this, or how I can possibly get the image from the bootscreen file?

    Thanks in advance!

  38. dBLOOD

    Probably that file is in some dll or exe somewhere…
    Maybe logonui.exe, or some system file that can be loaded early at boot…

  39. jorgen

    Damn, i’ve been search how i changed this boot screen.
    Have SP1 running no gui option is turned on and have a different picture.

    Had to test an utility and stumbled upon that option.
    Now I want this on my home pc as well.
    Let you know when i (re) find it.

  40. Zargon0225

    Stardock has a utility that will do this automatically for you called Bootskin Pro.

    http://www.stardock.com/products/bootskin

  41. TheR

    If you have a gateway or any computer with startup repair (i.e. Gateway, Some Dells, Alienware, Most high-end computers) the startup repair will insist that windows is damaged and you will be forced to perform a full restore of windows.

  42. Frank

    When i press “No GUI” nd restart vista

    it doesnt show the aurora boot screen it shows all this other stuff and codes in a black screen, while my normal boot works fine.

  43. GoS-ExiGo

    Strange, The hidden boot screen (No Gui Boot) boots my PC faster than the default one.. Is it normal ?

  44. sohail20

    lol it works good my rating is 4.0 works great
    do the same methos in windows 7 and see that windows 7 bootscreen is just wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. panflute

    DO NOT do this unless you have a separate (not onboard) video card. A lot of the built in cards do not like the aurora screen or do not have enough video memory to display it, or hiccup when it loads. I have tried it on several machines with and without a video card and found this to be the case.

  46. wayne malone

    i did what you said and now screen is black with nothing green power lite is on,but nothing tried starting hitting F8 nothing. hit space bar nothing.it had vista installed over XP and i have none of disk i do have a recovery set of disk for vista Hp computer but i seem to be having with the DVD drive reading them that is why i wanted to restore factory XP.i could not boot up with F8 so i tried msconfi and went throgh step and ended up with black screen

  47. Douglas Loper

    I tried this and didnt like it, so I switched back and now I get a boot manager missing error whenever I start windows. HELP!!

  48. Megan

    Moreons

  49. Helper!

    think about it no GUI stands for NO GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE helloooo!!!!

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