Windows XP – How To Change your XP Boot Screen

Windows XP

Everyone wants to customize their XP boot screen, but be careful it could cause your system to become unstable if you truly decide to do this and don’t follow instructions!

“The theme file formats are not public; Microsoft retains the design control for themes, to allow a consistent user interface and ensure design continuity. A theme developer’s kit will not be available with Windows XP.”
— Microsoft

Fortunately, the theme API has been flushed out and now anyone can make a full-blown theme. Themes can consist of many different components (“visual style” window settings, wallpapers, sounds, screensavers, icons, cursors, even Windows Media Player skins), but they currently focus on the visual styles and wallpapers.

Follow the directions below or if you would like to download a new boot screen, visit or to make your own follow this link.

  • Backup (copy) the file %windir%\system32\ntoskrnl.exe (most likely C:\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe – the boot screen) to another directory on your disk drive
  • Download the above .zip to your computer (important: Be sure to get the right version, XP or XP SP1)
  • Extract ntoskrnl.exe to a directory other than %windir%\system32 (most likely C:\windows\system32)
  • Reboot your computer into Safe Mode (hit F8 after restarting your computer and before the boot screen then choose Safe Mode from the menu of choices) or into true DOS if your using FAT32 from a boot disk.
  • Make sure and verify you copied to a backup folder the ntoskml.exe file.
  • Overwrite the file %windir%\system32\ntoskrnl.exe (which you should have backed up) with the extracted exe.
  • Reboot your computer as you normally would.