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What are the exact steps required to remove Windows branding from WES7? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've used XPe for many years to create high-end media servers/players.  I wanted to move to Windows 7 Embedded (WES7) for HD Audio amongst other things so I've spent the past month or so evaluating WES7 and WES7 SP1 and after many weeks of hitting it with a big stick I managed to get it into a state that was usable as an embedded device (EWF on flash DOM), but that's another topic as why it's so difficult to get it function as an embedded platform.

    I understood from the help that using an eval version would display some branding to "remind" you that it's an eval version!  So I requested from the power that be to purchase a license for the tools and to get a runtime product key.  When I added the runtime product key to ICE (i found 2 locations that I could add the key so I put it in both) answer file and reinstalled the image but the logging on/welcome and shutting down screen with still being displayed.

    I've added the Custom Logon Desktop Background Images, Unbranded Startup Screens and set the UIVerbosityLevel to 0.

    I've spent a few hours yesterday reading all the posts and have yet to see any full solution, so please could someone from Microsoft list the exact steps required to remove all branding?

    Kind regards, priestuk.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:03 AM

Answers

  • Here is a quick list of things to delete and/or change, I used ResHacker to edit the dll and mui.

     

    1.  Add ICE Packages:

    “Unbranded Startup Screens” gives you a black screen which can be changed in bootres.dll, use a dll that had the existing animation in.
    “Custom Logon Desktop Background Images”  (probably not needed as I'm settings OEMBackground).

    2.   C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll (status animation) aka (toilet bowl of death)

    Bitmap | 5000 - 5013 | 1033

    3.   C:\Windows\System32\en-US\wininit.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002,  "Shutting down..."

    4.   C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winlogon.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002,  "Welcome"
    1003,  "Logging off..."
    1005,  "Welcome"

    5.   bootres.dll  (startup animation) aka (Windows 7 firefly)

    RCData | 1 | 1033
          RCData_1.bin.wim
                 activity.bmp

    6.   Login/out screen

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background] "OEMBackground"=dword:00000001

    Create and place jpg in C:\
    Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds\backgroundDefault.jpg

    Use takeown and icacls to allow you to update the file on a live system or boot into WinPE:

    takeown /F C:\Windows\System32\en-US\<filename>
    icacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\<filename> /grant <username>:F

    I would prefer to have an Official way to do this but ..........enjoy.

    p.s. this is the level of detail I would expect in the help, not the name of this package on disk/in the command line is blah blah and then nothing else!  Visual Studio/.NET MSDN help is very good.



    • Edited by monkeyPriest Friday, May 27, 2011 4:34 PM missed an i off mui
    • Marked as answer by monkeyPriest Friday, May 27, 2011 4:34 PM
    Friday, May 27, 2011 4:28 PM

All replies

  • I've added the  Custom Logon Desktop Background Images, Unbranded Startup Screens and set the UIVerbosityLevel to 0.

    I've spent a few hours yesterday reading all the posts and have yet to see any full solution, so please could someone from Microsoft list the exact steps required to remove all branding?

    Very good, cause we all discussed this many times.

    A) Yes, WES7 sucks for branding reasons. XPe was much more flexible.

    1. Bootscreen
    2. LogonUI (Background)
    3. Welcome message
    4. Shutdown/Please Wait messages
    5) Unbrand the Edition

    Official Ways:

    1. bcdedit /set bootux disabled (results in a black screen)
    2. Custom Background Component in ICE (kind of annoying because of missing informations)
    3. UIVerbosityLevel (Great! but was mentioned by a user and not from microsoft which is kind of disapointing.)
    4. no solution. (Also with UIVerbosityLevel you will have shutdown messages like "please wait"
    5. Unbranding component.


    Possible Ways:
    1. editing the bootres.dll (custom Logo/Animation and Test) (http://www.sevenforums.com/customization/106861-how-change-boot-animation-windows-7-a-78.html)
    2. same way as possible but here you get better/more information (http://www.withinwindows.com/2009/03/15/windows-7-to-officially-support-logon-ui-background-customization/)
    3. You can edit the .mui resources. (e.g. \system32\en-us\winlogon.exe.mui) there you can remove text and some more stuff. 
    4. This will also be the/a mui. (haven't investigated)
    5. the Component from the official way just replaces one dll which doesn't contain the Edition (WES) Images. If you edit the dll you can brand it yourself. (shellbrand.dll or something similar, just look in the unbranding cab to figure out the right filename,)

    hope this helps.


    "Mark/Propose As Answer" if you got one.
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 11:24 AM
  • Thanks Knarz!

    I've added OEMBackground registry settings and placed the backgroundDefault.jpg in the C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\Background that I read in another article and that changed the standard logon/logout screen, but as you pointed out that UIVerbosityLevel still leaves (toilet bowl of death) Please wait... when restarting.

    One of the main purposes of embedded versions of Windows is being able to brand the product to the company creating it (and reduce the footprint, overlay protection etc..).  I don't see a logging on/off screen on a Xbox 360 or Windows Phone 7.  Microsoft created the OS so Microsoft can do whatever they want so they can't say "it's not possible" and I'm confused as to why customers were not consulted on requirements of WES7.

    Our customers don't want an PC in a box they want a well crafted product and having Windows branding spoils the illusion as it looks like a normal Desktop PC, and thus devalues the product.

    I know other people have already been asking about this but I'm so frustrated that I've wasted so much time trying to get something that should be very simple to work that I had to ask another question in the hope that someone is reading this at Microsoft and understand that branding is one of the three main requirements for an embedded OS.

    I'm going to contact our distributor and I would recommend that everyone else does as well!

    I'll try to work out how to remove the (toilet bowl of death) Please wait... until Microsoft release a patch/fix for this problem as I can't wait.  I'll post back when I know more. 

    Kind regards, priestuk.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 2:13 PM
  • As i said you can res-edit the MUI file to remove the please wait message and you have a good chance that this mod will stay forever. msft updates the binarys and not the mui files (expect they have to) so the changes to the muifile will stay also with updates. mui files aren't signed.
    "Mark/Propose As Answer" if you got one.
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 3:31 PM
  • The need to custom brand a WES7 image continues to be voiced...

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 4:11 PM
  • I've tried to remove the "Please Wait..." text from the winlogon.exe.mui but it still remains on shutdown.  I took ownership and adjusted the permissions on the file before replacing my version.

    As a test I removed the UIVerbosityLevel registry setting and changed the "Shutting Down..." text in the wininit.exe.mui which did work but I am left with the (toilet bowl of death).

    I'm thinking that I am either doing something wrong or the "Please Wait..." is from somewhere else i.e. not in the winlogon.exe.mui.

    I did find in gpedit - Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | System | "Remove Boot / Shutdown / Logon / Logoff status message" but it didn't do anything either.  Then I noticed "Supported on: Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 operating systems only"! :(

    If anyone knows where the animation for the (toilet bowl of death) is located then I could remove that and thus not have any messages or animation on startup and shutdown!!

     

    kind regards, priestuk.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:20 PM
  • Have you found a solution for replacing the boot screen firefly animation?
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:39 PM
  • @beemr look at Possible Ways: 1.
    "Mark/Propose As Answer" if you got one.
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:55 PM
  • hi there and welcome to the forum Your question is one that has been long outstanding. I agree that the branding (de) is very important and having the device seen as an appliance is crictical and the branding issue affects this perception very much. There are ways to achieve exactly what you are requesting, but as always they are not official Microsoft ways. I know of several utility software solutions that can drastically alter the way that the WES 7 will look. But you run the risk of introducing possible security flaws and the like. On projects where the unit was isolated i have used these solutions, with the customers knowledge.

    As with any problem related to Embedded there are solutions but there are levels of risk associated with implementing them. It will boil down to how much risk you are prepared to expose your device to as well as how much the customer is prepared to accept.

    The issue of branding is a long running one, and does not look like it will be solved at a higher level for some time to come.

    I recommend some serious internet searching to identify those software solutions that are existant currently that address the issues you have.

    Good Luck

     

    Richard


    http://www.avnet-embedded.eu/ MCTS WES2009 MCTS WES7
    Thursday, May 26, 2011 7:53 AM
  • I'm spent a couple of hours yesterday looking at various files in Windows and as a result I think I have found all the places where Windows branding lives, so hopefully today I will have removed all the Microsoft branding and replaced it with my own.  This includes startup animation, login/out screens, (toilet bowl of death) status messages (welcome, logging in/out, shutting down etc..)!

    I'll post my finding when I have a 100% solution, it's a bit of a mission to do it all but at least it looking like it's possible now, so there is no excuses now and that Microsoft can relaese an official version (cough cough) for the embedded customers.


    • Edited by monkeyPriest Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:38 AM typo
    Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:36 AM
  • As off about 2 minutes ago I have successfully managed to remove all the Windows startup and shutdown branding/artefacts/statuses.  I've not had time to replace the started up animation yet as it's still a black screen, which is good enough for now.  Going to lunch now and then have meetings for most of the day.  I'll try to document what I did soon :).


    • Edited by monkeyPriest Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:17 AM typo
    Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:16 AM
  • Here is a quick list of things to delete and/or change, I used ResHacker to edit the dll and mui.

     

    1.  Add ICE Packages:

    “Unbranded Startup Screens” gives you a black screen which can be changed in bootres.dll, use a dll that had the existing animation in.
    “Custom Logon Desktop Background Images”  (probably not needed as I'm settings OEMBackground).

    2.   C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll (status animation) aka (toilet bowl of death)

    Bitmap | 5000 - 5013 | 1033

    3.   C:\Windows\System32\en-US\wininit.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002,  "Shutting down..."

    4.   C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winlogon.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002,  "Welcome"
    1003,  "Logging off..."
    1005,  "Welcome"

    5.   bootres.dll  (startup animation) aka (Windows 7 firefly)

    RCData | 1 | 1033
          RCData_1.bin.wim
                 activity.bmp

    6.   Login/out screen

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background] "OEMBackground"=dword:00000001

    Create and place jpg in C:\
    Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds\backgroundDefault.jpg

    Use takeown and icacls to allow you to update the file on a live system or boot into WinPE:

    takeown /F C:\Windows\System32\en-US\<filename>
    icacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\<filename> /grant <username>:F

    I would prefer to have an Official way to do this but ..........enjoy.

    p.s. this is the level of detail I would expect in the help, not the name of this package on disk/in the command line is blah blah and then nothing else!  Visual Studio/.NET MSDN help is very good.



    • Edited by monkeyPriest Friday, May 27, 2011 4:34 PM missed an i off mui
    • Marked as answer by monkeyPriest Friday, May 27, 2011 4:34 PM
    Friday, May 27, 2011 4:28 PM
  • Nothing new, except the your toilet bowl of death.

    As i already said:
      "Unbranded Startup Screens" is exactly: bcdedit /set bootux disabled
    “Custom Logon Desktop Background Images” : is discribed in the link i posted. (also 6. Login/out screen)

    Editing of 4. C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winlogon.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002, "Welcome"
    1003, "Logging off..."
    1005, "Welcome"

      Isn't necessary if you use UIVerbosityLevel  (only "please wait...." needs to be edited).


    5. bootres.dll (startup animation) aka (Windows 7 firefly)

    RCData | 1 | 1033
    RCData_1.bin.wim
    activity.bmp

    is discussed many times and the link i wrote in my first post relates to a tool which can change the animation and doesn't currupt the boot. Digitla Signature get tricked.

    So please take a closer look to the links i posted.


    "Mark/Propose As Answer" if you got one.


    Friday, May 27, 2011 5:47 PM
  • Isn't necessary if you use UIVerbosityLevel  (only "please wait...." needs to be edited).

    I tried removing "Please wait..." but it still appeared as I said before unless I did something wrong $(.  Might try it again if I have time.

    I was just creating a summary of the steps that I did to remove all the branding to make it easier for anyone else looking for a solution instead of them being scattered about in different locations and also it was to help raise more awareness that branding is an important feature to have on embedded platforms.

    Anyway on to the next problem :)  Hope you have a great weekend!


    • Edited by monkeyPriest Friday, May 27, 2011 7:06 PM type removed more
    Friday, May 27, 2011 7:04 PM
  •  Editing of 4. C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winlogon.exe.mui (status text)

    String Table | 63 | 1033

    1002, "Welcome"
    1003, "Logging off..."
    1005, "Welcome"

      Isn't necessary if you use UIVerbosityLevel  (only "please wait...." needs to be edited).

    Editing of C:\Windows\System32\en-US\authui.dll.mui

    String Table | 751 | 1031

    12001, "Please wait..."


    Best regards

    Vladimir


    • Edited by eleowal Friday, December 9, 2011 7:15 PM
    Friday, December 9, 2011 7:14 PM
  • Hi

    how is it possible to change "bootres.dll" with my custom "bootres.dll"? Because if I tried to rename the original one I always get the error message that I didn`t have enough rights to do that (as member of the administrator group). If I take a look in the preferences I can see that only the "Trustendinstaller" has the rights to do any changes to this file. I also installed a additional useraccount in ice which belongs to the group "TrustedInstaller" but I also do not have the rights to change anything.

    Moreover I wrote my own module where I placed my "bootres.dll" with the path "C:\Windows\Boot\Resources"  - is this enough that my own "bootres.dll" file will be installed during the windows embedded setup? Or will this file be replaced by windows?

    best regards

    Bernd



    • Edited by bsu Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:13 PM
    Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:45 PM
  • how do you get rid of windows 7 untimate from the bottom of the shutdown screen?

    i have changed or gotten rid of everything accept this.

    thanks

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1:36 PM
  • Do you have to have Unbranded Startup Screen package in the image, and the run time license key must also be in the answer file? If there is no key, the branding will remain.

    Sean Liming - Book Author: Starter Guide SIM - www.annabooks.com / www.seanliming.com

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017 3:32 PM