Change Windows XP Splash Screen

In Windows XP it is possible to change your splash screen, but there are a couple of limitations that you need to be aware of:

  1. Your picture must be a 640 x 480 pixel bitmap (.bmp) file.
  2. The picture file is limited to 16 colours.


Before you start this procedure we strongly recommend that you create a System Restore Point, as you will be editing a Windows boot file later on in this procedure that could cause your system not to boot correctly – Having the restore point will allow you to go back in time to before you made the changes should anything go wrong. (Click Here to see how to manually create a restore point.)

To make the changes use the folowing procedure.

  • Create your 640 x 480 pixel bitmap file, and ensure you set the colour depth to 16 colours – Any competent paint package such as Paintshop Pro will suffice.
  • Save the bitmap in the Windows directory with the file name boot.bmp
  • Now we need to edit the ‘boot.ini’ file to enable your new loading screen, so right click on ‘My Computer‘ and select ‘Properties
  • Click the ‘Advanced‘ tab and select the ‘Settings‘ button from the ‘Startup and recovery‘ section.
  • Make a note of the entry in the ‘Default Operating System‘ dialog, and hit the button marked ‘Edit’
  • The ‘boot.ini’ file will now load up in notepad (or your default text editor), locate the line with your default OS in, it will look something like: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn where the text after WINDOWS= is your default operating system.
  • At the end of this line add the following extra code /bootlogo /noguiboot
  • Save the file and exit Notepad.

When you next re-boot you will see your splash screen (without the Windows progress bar). If you have any difficulties when you re-boot, you can always boot into ‘Safe Mode’ and either apply your system restore point to the one you created before you started this modification, or edit the ‘boot.ini’ file to remove your changes.