Sarasota PC Monitor


Practicing the Black Art (10/00)

Having fun with Windows' Splash Screen

by Vinny La Bash
Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc.

blackart0010a.jpg
LOGO.SYS

What's a Splash Screen? Well, I thought you'd never ask. A Splash Screen is a graphic that's displayed on your monitor while a program is loading and getting it's act together. Instead of watching a mostly meaningless succession of messages scroll by during program load, you are given something to keep you occupied while waiting to get started. When you turn your computer on, the splash screen you are most likely to see is a bitmap file called LOGO.SYS as you see in the illustration.

Perhaps something different would be more interesting. Many folks find images on the Internet, download them and turn them into wallpaper for desktop backgrounds. However, there is no reason that these images can't be converted into your own customized splash screen. Anyway, who wants to give Microsoft additional free advertising? If you are reading this article, chances are pretty good that you are a loyal member of SPCUG. Why not use our logo as your new splash screen? Give your PC a happy face, learn something and have some fun. Before you begin, however, rename the current LOGO.SYS file to something like LOGO.1ST. If you ever want it again, it will be there for you. Now, let's go change that splash screen.

  1. Fire up your Web browser and make your way to http://www.spcug.org. (Why am I telling you this? You already have our home page book marked or listed as one of your favorites, right)?
  2. When the home page displays, right click on the SPCUG logo and select Set As Wallpaper as illustrated in Figure 1.

If Internet Explorer is your browser, you can find the image stored as C:\Windows\Internet Explorer Wallpaper. Netscape stores it as C:\Windows\Netscape Wallpaper.

Saving the image as wallpaper automatically saves the graphic as a bitmap file. This removes any hassle connected with converting from one file format to another. Since Windows will not use any other graphic format except bitmap to display a splash screen, matters are greatly simplified by saving in this fashion.

Your next step is to convert the new wallpaper file into a specific bitmap format that windows requires before it will treat an image file as a splash screen.

3. Load your favorite graphics program. In this article we will use the Paint program that comes with Windows, as we can be sure you have this graphics editor installed on your system.

4. Navigate to the Windows folder and open the Internet or Netscape Wallpaper bitmap image into Paint.

5. From the Image menu, select Stretch/Skew.

blackart0010b.jpg

Stretch and Skew

6. When the Stretch and Skew Dialog box appears, change the Horizontal box to 80% in the Stretch box area and click OK.

Why 80% and not some other number? Windows is extremely finicky about its splash screens. It insists that the images be:

a.in bitmap format

b.exactly 320 pixels wide and 400 pixels deep.

c.no more than 256 colors

We don't know why Microsoft designed splash screens this way, but if any of these conditions are not met, Windows will not display the file during startup. The original image saved as wallpaper measured 400 x 305 pixels, and 80% of 400 pixels is 320 pixels. Whenever you convert a bitmap image to a file, the Stretch percentage may require some calculation, or trial and error if you don't want to do the math. Now that the width is set, change the length to 400 pixels.

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Attributes

7. From the Image menu in the Paint program, select Attributes.

8. In the Attributes dialog box, change the width and height to 320 and 400. The 320 setting should already be there.

9. Make sure the Pixels option button is selected in the Units area.

10. Select the Colors option button in the Colors area.

11. Click OK.

All that's left is to save the file.

12. Click the Save button on the Toolbar.

13. In the File name: text box, save the file as C:\LOGO.SYS

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Loss of Color

14. In the Save as type: text box, select 256 Color Bitmap (*bmp,*dib).

You will probably get a dialog box like the one on the right. Click yes and the job is done. Color loss can cause the image to have an undesirable appearance. If this plagues you, consider using a more sophisticated program like Paint Shop Pro. From now on, whenever you restart your system, the SPCUG logo will be your new splash screen. :

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Copyright 2000. This article is from the October 2000 issue of the Sarasota PC Monitor, the official monthly publication of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., P.O. Box 15889, Sarasota, FL 34277-1889. Permission to reprint is granted only to other non-profit computer user groups, provided proper credit is given to the author and our publication. We would appreciate receiving a copy of the publication the reprint appears in, please send to above address, Attn: Editor. For further information about our group, email: admin@spcug.org/ Web: http://www.spcug.org/

The Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc. has 1,600+ members and was established in 1982. We are members of the Assoc. of PC User Groups (APCUG), the Florida Assoc. of PC Users Groups, Inc., and we are members of the America Online Ambassador Program.

See http://www.spcug.org for all reviews from the Sarasota PC Monitor, go to the Newsletter Section.