How to replace Vista's startup sound

Vista is the first version of Windows to include a non user-customizable startup sound. This is played while the Pearl (or Orb) animates. By default, the sound either plays or it doesn't. Changing this sound cannot be done using the Sound control panel. Instead, follow these steps:

1) For best results, boot out of Vista and into an alternative OS, such as XP. (This is assuming you dual boot.)

2) Locate the file "imageres.dll" in Vista's System32 folder. For instance, E:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll. Copy that file into a different location, i.e. your desktop.

3) Download ResHacker.

4) Open ResHacker. Open the imageres.dll file in ResHacker.

5) Find the folder that reads "WAVE" and expand everything below that. This is what it should look like:

6) Right click 1033 (this could have a different name depending on your locale), and click Replace Resource. Click "Open file with new resource", and find the wave file you want to replace it with. Once you're done, in Resource Type, type "WAVE", in Resource Name type "5051", and under Resource Language type "1033" (or whatever number you have). Once done, click Replace.

7) Click File, then click Save. Now you can copy this file to Vista's System32 folder. Keep the imageres_original.dll file ResHack left behind in case you want to revert back to the original sound.


Robert said...

logged in as local admin, cannot rename or overwrite imageres.dll.

any suggestions?

Adrian said...

You need to take ownership of imageres.dll and then give yourself write permissions before you can change it. I did this by right clicking imageres.dll > Properties > Security tab > Advanced > Owner tab > Edit. Then I double clicked "Administrators (computername\Administrators)"

If you hit apply it should say "If you have just taken ownership blahblah etc." Close and reopen properties.

Now, back at the security tab click Edit, highlight "Administrators" and Allow Write Permission by ticking the checkbox. There's some other permissions you can view if you click Advanced at the Security tab.
You should now be able to modify it.

I did this while in vista, but in order to copy over it you need to be in your alternate OS.

I still have a problem myself though, instead of playing the wave I chose, it plays nothing and doesn't even show the windows logo. It'd just a black screen before the welcome screen shows up. I'm off to try and fix this now, hope this helps anyone!