MAME Diary 010: Nice boots


Remember in the initial install when I customised my autoexec.bat file to show a nice splash screen when booting?

Of course you do. How could you forget?

Oh those heady halcyon days ………………

Well while I didn’t do that here I did remove the default XP boot logo and that is done by editing the file boot.ini which is found in the root of C Drive. There are two ways you can do that; either in msconfig or by editing the file directly in Notepad. I favour the msconfig method simply because I will be going in there anyway to stop any unwanted processes from running at boot up.

(1) Click Start and then click Run and type the command msconfig
(2) Click OK then select the BOOT.INI tab
(3) Go down to Boot Options and tick: /NOGUIBOOT
(4) You can also select the STARTUP tab and see a list of startup
processes and programs
(5) Untick any that you don’t want to run every time your computer is booted
(6) Click Apply then OK to close msconfig
(7) You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect

The splash screen will now be gone but it can be re-enabled by going back into msconfig and unticking /NOGUIBOOT.

If you want to edit boot.ini directly simply open it in Notepad and add the switch

/noguiboot

after the switch

/fastdetect

To re-enable it just edit boot.ini again and remove the /noguiboot switch. Bear in mind that removing this splash screen will also remove any boot-up messages that might come up such as chkdsk but if your system runs without any problems then it shouldn’t matter.

If you want to go to a little extra trouble and create your own splash screen for the boot process then you can do it following the instructions here. Be careful though, making changes like this to Windows can have an adverse effect if done wrong and can even require a full reinstall.

Once Windows has booted you will have a short delay before your Frontend runs so you will temporarily see the desktop wallpaper. To make it look less obtrusive simply use a gaming related picture as your wallpaper and remove all the icons that you can from the desktop. This will be everything apart from the Recycle Bin by default, but even that can be removed in a couple of ways.

The neatest way is by applying one of these registry patches to add the Delete option to the Recycle Bin’s own context (right click) menu, or you can edit the registry directly. Again take care when editing the registry as you don’t want to have to reinstall XP all over again, especially if you have already screwed up the splash screen earlier.

To edit the registry
(1) Click Start and then click Run and type the command regedit
(2) Navigate to the value
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
(3) Double-click the NoDesktop value if it exists
(4) If not, create it. Select EditNewDWORD
Value
, and type “NoDesktop” for its name
(5) Enter 1 for the value, and click OK. (Just delete the value entirely
to undo this.)
(6) Click on the desktop, and press [F5] to refresh the desktop and see the change take effect

Once you have done that you need to go into the Control Panel and change a few more settings such as turning off any screen savers and power options that will stop the disks or turn off the monitor after inactivity. You also need to change the option for shutting the PC down when the power button is pressed. To do that double click on the Power Options applet and under the setting “When I press the power button on my computer” change it to “Shut down” so that we can kill the cab with a single press of the external button.

While you are in Control Panel go into the Sounds and Audio devices applet and change the sound scheme to “No Sounds” to remove all the default beeps and dings whenever Windows does something. Now you can put in a couple of your own sounds for the two options Exit Windows and Start Windows. Now on power up and power down your cab will play those sounds. You can use your own .wav file if you like but I used the two .wav files (startup.wav and shutdown.wav) from ArcadeOS.

All of these G.U.I. (Graphical User Interface) changes and little tweaks can be done with a program like TweakUI, but to be honest any performance gains there may be will be lost simply due to the fact that TweakUI is running in the background, and these changes aren’t that difficult to do so I recommend you do it the way I’ve described here rather than using a third party application to do it.

Plus it’s way more fun obviously.

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