Thought I'd share what I've found out about replacing boot screens. There are 2 options, using a 3rd party application or directly editing the boot.ini file.
First things first though:
This can stuff things up if you muck it up causing Windows not to boot so only do this if you're confident and don't mind so much if you bugger things up.
Right, that's out of the way (note, it's unlikely things will break badly but there's always a chance.)
So, the 3rd party way. This is a fairly straightforward process but it does add extra software to the PC. In my experience it didn't seem to slow things down but the reality is there is one more process going on. Head over to http://www.stardock.com/products/bootskin/
to grab a copy of Stardock's Bootskin. Dead simple, run it, select the new boot screen from the choices or get more skins online (there are loads), make your selection, apply and done. If you want to create your own bootskin for Stardock to use, I found a good tutorial here
. You can even have an animated boot screen with this method.
The other way is less mucking about and you are editing your boot.ini file so it may be wise to back it up first, just to be safe or at least set a System Restore point. This method only allows for a static image.
First, create your boot image remembering it needs to be 640 x 480 pixels at 16 colours and saved as a bitmap. If you have a 16:9 or 16:10 screen you will need to factor in distortion as the image will be stretched horizontally. This is more trial and error than anything. Any program will do for this, Paint, Photoshop etc but if you are importing an existing image into Paint, chances are that when you downgrade the colours to 16 it will go screwy. If you have access to Photoshop this is a better option. One way to do it is use the 'Save for Web' option and save as a 16 colour GIF then open in Paint and save as a Bitmap 16 colours. This will have far less effect on the colours this way.
Save the file as boot.bmp to the Windows folder, eg: C:\Windows\boot.bmp
Right click My Computer then select Properties.
Click the Advanced tab then go down to Startup & Recovery and click Settings.
Under System Startup click the Edit button to open the boot.ini file in Notepad.
You are looking for the line that starts out "multi(0)...." At the end you will see /fastdetect
Directly after this type the following /bootlogo /noguiboot
Now the end of the line should look like /fastdetect /bootlogo /noguiboot (those spaces are meant to be there so be sure to put them in.
Save the file (Yes to overwrite if prompted), exit Notepad, click OK the Startup & Recovery dialogue then OK on the System Properties dialogue and you're done.
When you reboot you should see your shiny new logo instead of the XP one.The format MUST be 640 x 480, 16 colours, if it is not the image won't load and all you'll get is a black screen. Windows should still boot but you won't have any boot screen at all so be sure your image is correct. Saving the final bitmap out in Paint is a good way to ensure the colours stay as they should