Hello and welcome to another exciting issue of Tech Tips! In this issue, I’m going to show you how you can change that boring old Windows XP boot screen to something more exciting and enjoyable.

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The image that is displayed during boot up has been pretty well hidden away by Microsoft. It is located in the WINDOWS directory inside the system32 embedded within a file called ntoskrnl.exe. Experienced users of windows often have hacked this file to display their own image during windows boot up. So then all you have to do is find somebody who posted their hacked version of ntoskrnl.exe on the internet and replace the file on your computer, right? WRONG! There are so many versions of Windows for different languages and Microsoft always is making new updates to windows, so just replacing your ntoskrnl.exe with somebody else’s is probably not going to work because chances are you have a slightly different version of windows. And when you start up your computer instead of displaying a nice lovely new boot screen you will probably get some nice text that says “C:\Windows\System32\ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt.”

So how do you safely change the boot screen? A free program called Boot Skin makes it an easy and safe process. Start by visiting www.bootskin.com to download and install the program. Once you get it installed, open up Boot Skin. Look through the default boot screens or visit www.wincustomize.com/Skins.aspx?LibID=32 to download additional boot screens. Click the preview button to preview the skins and once you find one that you like just press apply and you will see it next time you boot up. It’s that easy!

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