ContentsPrevious ArticleNext ArticleHome

Customizing the "System Properties" Display

On many pre-built computers, the "System Properties" sheet displays a manufacturer's logo and a button you can click to get support information. How is this done? Can I customize it myself?

Yes, you can display your own graphic and associate a custom text display with the "Support" button. It's just a matter of creating a couple of files and placing them in the proper folder. When you right-click on the My Computer icon and choose "Properties" or run the Control Panel "System" applet, Windows looks for two files, oemlogo.bmp and oeminfo.inf. If present, it uses them to customize the System Properties display.

It's fairly easy to do your own customization using no more than the tools that ship with Windows:

  1. Create oemlogo.bmp. The standard Windows Paintbrush application works fine for this purpose. This logo graphic should be designed to look OK with the baseline Windows 16-color palette. It's also a good idea to create this bitmap image with the same background shade of gray (RGB: 192, 192, 192) used in the Properties dialog. Otherwise, you risk letting Windows make its own judgments regarding color contrast and background shading. The largest logo I've created is 180x75 pixels. You actually have a bit more height to work with, but 180 pixels is the maximum width.

  2. The oeminfo.ini file is straightforward and may be created with Notepad. The format is pretty obvious if you look at the file contents (see the "example" page).

  3. Copy the two files you've created to the Windows "system" directory. If you are running Windows 95, 98 or ME, this is usually c:\windows\system. For Windows NT and Windows 2000, it is typically c:\winnt\system32. (Yes, this trick works for all 32-bit versions of Windows.)

If you want to see how this works in practice, the "example" page shows how we customized the System Properties display on Katharine,  one of the computers on our LAN. (Our systems are named after the Wright brothers and their close relatives. Katharine was their sister.)

References: None. I had to figure it out for myself.

This article was instigated by SandyG.