I've searched the whole freakin' web once more (I've been searching and reading forum after forum after article after howto, etc., for about 4 days straight now. Maybe I'm doing it wrong ^_^U) trying to figure out how to customize the boot-screen on Windows XP Pro SP3, and I can't seem to find anything on SP3 itself, except that it's different to change it on SP3 than on the previous two service packs (gee, that helps, doesn't it?).
So I have 2 questions for the community here, but I should probably explain the background information on both of them first.
Now, I've seen just about everything there is on the internet about Changing the Windows XP boot screen manually. You have to open up resource hacker, and change ntoskrnl.exe for SP2, and ntkrnlsp.exe for SP1, and it looks like it was ntkrnlpa.exe for without service packs installed. It's usually good practice to BACKUP your kernel before doing this, of course. Another good practice seems to be editing the boot.ini file to have a second entry, exactly like the first, with "/KERNEL=customkernelname.exe" at the end, with "customkernelname.exe" changed to whatever you renamed your new kernel after modifying it (of course, you need to save it to the same directory, c:\windows\system32 )
While changing it, you open it in resource hacker, and take out bitmaps 1, 8, and 10 for professional, or 1, 7, and 9 for home (some sites say 1, 9, and 11, but I can't confirm this; I don't have Windows XP Home installed on any machines). You need to have the windows system 16-color palette in order to edit them, or even see what they have, since they all look black when you open them. I'll attach my copy of "16.act" for photoshop users, other users might want to find the palette somewhere else (I'll have links in the appendix at the end). If using Photoshop CS4 to edit them, you need to "open as..." or hit ctrl+alt+shift+O, and open the .bmps as bitmaps, with "maintain indexes" checked (if you have the option), then goto Image->Mode->Color Table... and load 16.act. You should then be able to see the images as they appear upon booting. 1 is the background, 8/7 is the progress bar, and 9/10 should be the version "Home" or "Professional".
The problem I run into is that I don't have bitmaps 1-10 like I should, I have 1-8 and 13-15. 13 seems to be the corresponding version bitmap, but when you open it it says "Server Family" instead of "Professional" like it should. I know it says "Professional" when I boot, and I'm not using a Server Family edition of Windows XP, I'm using Professional. This is a fact.
So there's my dead-end with doing it manually; there seems to be no information on the net on how to do it if you have bitmaps 1-8 and 13-15 instead of 1-10. A couple of people have posted questions regarding it in forums, but no replies were made to these posts, nor did the person ever post that they figured it out.
So the question arises regarding doing it manually, "How do I edit the boot screen for SP3/when I have bitmaps 1-8 and 13-15 instead of 1-10?"
There's plenty of software out there that gets the job done for free, but I have absolutely no confirmation ANYWHERE of anyone with SP3 installed getting them to work. UserXP's LoginUIBootRandomizer is a popular free tool, but it only supports SP1 and SP2. On the home page of the program, it says "LogonUIBootRandomizer DOES NOT WORK WITH SP3!", meaning this one won't work. Bootskin (from StarDock) doesn't seem to even support Windows XP anymore, and everywhere I look, they only say that it works on SP1 and SP2, and say nothing about SP3. I've seen tons of references to free software online that changes the boot screen on Windows XP, but either they don't seem to say anything about SP3, or they are abandon-ware that you can't even find a good download for them.
So the second part of this 2-part question is "has anyone gotten any software to work for changing the boot screen on Windows XP SP3? What software worked?"
I kind of created this thread hoping not only to get a solution for me (I'm not even that interested in doing it anymore, just knowing how.), but also sticking the information on the web somewhere so the next person who tries to do it can, since the documentation for this problem online is limited at best.
So thanks again, guys, for any information you can give me.