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Windows Logo Modding Guide!

Date : Wednesday, 20 October 2000
Author : The Doc

I'm sure most of you are aware that you can change several logos in windows, mainly the splash screen during bootup, and the System Properties logo. This is a quick guide for those of you who've wanted to try these customizations, but are not quite sure how to.

May be worthy to note that these mods will work only in Windows 95/98/ME, with the exception of the System Properties mods, which may work in WinNT/2000 also.

Windows Splash Screens
Starting in Windows 95, you were able to change 3 screens: the bootup splash screen, "Windows is now shutting down" and "You may now turn off your computer". These files were LOGO.SYS, LOGOW.sys and LOGOS.SYS respectively.

You will be able to find LOGO.SYS in C:\ and LOGOW.SYS and LOGOS.SYS in C:\Windows. They will be hidden, so make sure you have explorer set to Show all Files. Don't panic if you don't seem them, though. Starting in Windows 98 these files were built into windows libraries, and aren't separate files anymore. This isn't a problem though, because if the separate files exist, Windows will use those instead of the built-in ones.

So without further adieu, lets make a bootup splash screen (LOGO.SYS). I'm gonna use Paint Shop Pro 7 for our purposes. We're looking to create an image that's 320x400 pixels, at 256 colours (8-bit).

I may as well tell you this right now, this is the first time that I've ever used PSP, so any emails sent to me about doing stuff in it will fall on deaf ears :). Check out this sweet PSP tutorial site instead. Now, create!

Simple, yet effective (click to enlarge)

When you've got your screen ready, save the file as a bitmap, filename is C:\LOGO.SYS.

We'll have to do one more thing so windows will recognize the logo properly. Right click on the file in explorer and hit properties. Right at the bottom make sure the 'Hidden' attribute is checked.

Don't worry about the archive attribute (click to enlarge)

Alright, reboot windows and see if it took! If so, grab a beer (or your favourite drink) :)

AHH theres a border!
So, you've just started up and the logo looks great, except theres a border around your image. Well, Windows creates a border using the first colour in the palette. I don't think theres a way to turn this off, so if you don't want a border, just make sure the first colour in your palette is the same colour as the background of your image (in my case, black).

Animated Splash Screens
OK, creating a custom splash screen has been done a million times. But not many have been able to animate them. You've probably noticed the "progress" bars that MS sticks on the bottom of their logo screens. How do they animate? They set 20 out of the 256 colours in the image to "scroll" (called palette scrolling). This creates the illusion of animation without having multiple frames of one picture. You'll notice that MS set the last 20 colours in the palette for this.

Win95's LOGO.SYS (click to enlarge)

And It's palette (click to enlarge)

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