It’s possible that something will go wrong with your new boot screen, so before making the change, create a System Restore point by choosing Control Panel Performance and Maintenance System Restore and following the instructions. If something goes wrong, you can revert to that restore point.
To choose from already created splash screens, go to http://www.themexp.org and click on Boot Screens. You’ll find over a thousand of them, organized by categories such as Sports, TV/Movies, and so on.Once you’ve found the image you want to use as your splash screen, download it. It will be downloaded as a .zip file
Unzip the contents of the .zip file into the folder. There will be one or more files, including ReadMe files. The boot screen itself, however, will be named ntoskrnl.exe. If you have XP Service Pack 1 installed, you may have to use a different file, named ntoskrnlSP1.exe, that may also be in the downloaded .zip file. Check the documentation of the file you download to make sure. If you’re not sure if you have Service Pack 1 installed, it’s easy to find out. Right-click on My Computer, and choose Properties General. Your version of the operating system will be displayed. If you have Service Pack 1, it will say so on that screen.
The ntoskrnl.exe file is an executable file that contains the XP bootscreen. During the boot process, XP executes this file, found in C:\Windows\System32, which in turn displays the bootscreen graphic. So, to change your bootscreen, replace your existing ntoskrnl.exe file with the one you just downloaded. But wait: there’s more.
You might think that all you have to do is copy the new ntoskrnl.exe over the existing one and then restart your computer in order for the changes to take effect. That’s not quite the case, though. You first have to get around a feature of Windows XP that protects system files from being overwritten. Windows File Protection automatically replaces certain files with the original XP version of the file if they’ve been replaced, and ntoskrnl.exe is one of those files. However, if you make the change in Safe Mode, Windows File Protection won’t kick in and you can safely copy the file.
Windows File Protection protects many other files, not just ntoskrnl.exe. Also included are .dll, .exe, .fon, .ocx, .sys, .tff files, and, depending on your system, other file types such as .ax, .cpl, .cpx, .dll, .exe, .fon,. inf, .ocx, .rsp, .sys, .tff, and .tlb.
Reboot your PC and press F8 immediately to get into Safe Mode. Now go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder and find the ntoskrnl.exe file. Copy it to another folder or rename it as a backup so that you can revert to it when you no longer want to use your new bootscreen, or if something goes wrong when you install the new screen. Now copy the new ntoskrnl.exe file into C:\Windows\System32. (If you have to use the ntoskrnlSP1.exe file, rename it to ntoskrnl.exe first, and then copy it over.)
Reboot your computer again but don’t go into Safe Mode this time. Your new splash screen will now appear every time you start your PC. To revert to your old splash screen, repeat the steps, copying your original ntoskrnl.exe file over your new one.