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Customize Windows 7 for XBMC

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baijuxavior

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This is a small guide I wrote in xbmc forum on how to configure your win 7 system to get a complete htpc feel. I have discussed some of this topic in my htpc thread, but thought a dedicated thread will be useful for HTPC enthusiasts.

Warning: Eventhough I haven't experienced any problem while customizing my PC, remember that the steps described below changes system files which may lead to system instability. I'm in no way responsible for any damage that may arise to your system.

Tools Needed

This hack makes use of different tools. Click the links to get the tools. The linked webpages have descriptions on how to install and use them.

  • Bios logo updater to change bios logo. Usually these tools are provided on the motherboard driver cd.
  • Resource Hacker. This tool is used to hack the system files.
  • Take Ownership Shortcut. Used to take owner ship of the files you want to hack.
  • Windows 7 Logon Background Changer. Used to change Windows logon screen background.
  • Windows 7 boot Animation Updater. Tool to change windows boot animation.
  • Video2PNG. Tool to create png image files from any video files. The generated images can be used to create your own boot animations.
  • XBMC Splash screens. Images to use as logon screen, desktop background etc. I am using this green xbmc screen.



    Another one of my favorite.



Step 1: Change BIOS Logo

Changing bios includes flashing of bios rom. So use it very carefully. Most motherboards can be flashed from within Windows 7 itself using tools provided by the mobo vendor. For example asus provides MyLogo2 to change bios logo. There is a similar tool for Gigabyte E350N USB3. You can use any image as the bios logo and the application will resize it to fit your system. If your motherboard has no such tools then skip this step.

Step 2: Change Windows 7 Logon Background

Start Windows 7 Logon Background Changer and choose the folder where your background image is located. Select the image you want and Apply it.



Step 3: Create Boot Animation

You can use the tool Video2PNG to create boot animation from video files. Drag and drop any video file onto the 'video2png.bat' file and it will generate 105 png image files. You can download the animation file I'm using from https://www.box.com/s/de7829c837ffddef1aec

Step 4: Change Boot Animation

Open 'Windows 7 boot Animation Updater' and select the folder where you have created the image files. Change the message to 'Starting XBMC'. If you use '.bs7' file then select it from File > 'Load Boot Skin'. You can also save your animation to .bs7 file. Apply it to change the animation.



Step 5: Change "Welcome" Text Message at Log On

I'm not going to describe the steps here as it is explained clearly in Welcome Log On Text Message - Change - Windows 7 Forums

Step 6: Change "Shutting down..." Text Message at Shut Down

Shutting down... Text Message - Change - Windows 7 Forums


Step 7: Remove Branding Logo and Ease of Access (Accessibility) Button

How to Remove Branding Logo and Ease of Access (Accessibility) Button from Windows Vista and 7 Login Screens? - Tweaking with Vishal
 

arnprasad

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I aint no techie and wouldnt want to attempt changing my system files. I was searching for htpc and found this thread and just thought 0 replies ain't fair. Hence just typing this so that it has atleast one reply!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

YPS

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May 27, 2012
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Baiju you have done a amazing job bro.......this is really very helpfull......and it realy makes my life easy as i have Antec Remote Cabinet, for which i need to run 3 diff softwares for xbmc but after your software everything well configured and loaded in once.........thanks a lot buddy........expecting more updates of this software :-D
 

Shivam

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More important than changing the look, I feel its changing the functionality that is important.
Most important is getting the Windows 7 to see SMB shares for NAS.
Next should be disabling all the not needed services and stripping down the shell for basics.
 

ukjeyaraj

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It will be fun changing the look. But for better performance, I second the thoughts given by Shivam.
 

sam9s

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baijuxavior where did you get the green one, I am using the red/black one for pretty long now and I wanted to change it for Novelty ...... the link you have provided does not have that green splash screen .....
 
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