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Hack Your XP Login Screen

If you're really into bland stuff, the default Windows XP login screen is right
up your alley. But I want my computer to greet me with gusto, so I have some ser
ious plans for my own login screen. As far as I'm concerned, that dull default X
P password-prompter has got to go.
On tonight's episode of "The Screen Savers" I'll show you how to turn that yawn-
inducing XP login screen into a devil-may-care thrill ride of customizable excit
ement! For free! Can I get a what-what from my peeps in the back of the club?
Back up your files first
To change your XP login screen, you need to make changes to a file called "logon
ui.exe," which you can find in the c:\windows\system32 folder. Before you do any
thing, make a copy of logonui.exe in your System32 folder and rename it "logonui
If you don't see logonui.exe in your System32 folder, perform the following magi
c trick.
1. Go to Tools > Folder Options.
2. Select the View tab.
3. Under the Advanced Settings header, make sure the button is selected next to
"Show hidden files and folders." Also make sure the box is unchecked next to "Hi
de protected operating systems files."
Once you've located the file, open logonui.exe in your favorite resource editor.
If you're still looking for a resource editor, I recommend Resource Hacker or R
Once you open logonui.exe in a resource editor, you'll see the breakdown of bitm
aps and text info associated with the file. As you can see, there are a lot of i
ndividual images to edit.
Now you've got two options.
Option No. 1: the hard way
You can build your own login screen from the ground up by creating your own imag
es to replace the default bitmaps. Once that's done, you can save the file as a
new executable with a name such as "new_logonui.exe."
I went over this process in my Hack Your XP Boot Screen Windows Tweak, so visit
that page for a step-by-step tutorial.

Option No. 2: the much, much easier way

If you don't want to go through all those steps, use a premade login-screen them
You can download them from a variety of online sources, but my favorite is Theme
XP. Click the Logins link in the left navbar for thousands of login-screen choic
Once you download the Zip file and unzip it, select the executable (.exe) file.
You replace the original logonui.exe file with this file. You can further edit t
his new file with your resource editor, if you want to.
Finalizing your new login screen
However you decide to edit logonui.exe, you'll need to save your changes by over
writing it with your new file. Just restart in safe mode with command prompt.
1. Reboot your machine and press F8 before your boot screen kicks in. This will
bring up a menu screen with a choice called "Safe mode with command prompt." Sel
ect it and press Enter.
2. Log in as administrator.
3. At the command prompt, type "cd c:\windows\system32" (without the quotes) and
press Enter.
4. At the command prompt, type "copy new_logonui.exe logonui.exe" (no quotes) an
d press Enter. Make sure you use the actual name of the new logonui.exe file.
5. At the command prompt, type "yes" (no quotes). Press Enter to overwrite the o
riginal file.
6. At the command prompt, type "shutdown -r" (no quotes). Pressing Enter will th
en restart your computer.
Now when you boot up, you should see your new settings! Take that, boring old lo
gin screen!