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Quick tip: change your Mac start-up screen

26 January 2011, Nick Peers

Apple is as much about its looks as its substance, which begs the question: why that drab, grey start-up screen with the darker grey Apple logo superimposed over it? Hardly inspiring stuff when you boot your Mac first thing in the morning.

Thankfully, there’s a free tool out there that can help you transform this dull and uninspiring backdrop into something more colourful and personal. BootXChanger runs on Intel Macs sporting Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later, and is simplicity itself to use.

Once downloaded, double-click the disk image file to open it, drag the BootXChanger folder into Applications and launch the program. You’ll notice the disk image also contains a folder full of sample images, so open this and drag one of the icons onto the BootXChanger window – you’ll see it replaces the current icon, and immediately looks a little brighter. Click Apply, enter your password and then reboot to see the new effect.

That’s all well and good, but why not go a little further? You can drag just about any image on to the window, so if you’d prefer a family snap or a more colourful backdrop, try that instead. The only possible problem will occur if you choose an image that’s larger than the desktop – it’ll either be resized or ignored, so save yourself time and manually shrink it in your image editor to fit the screen.

Also beware using images containing transparency, as the transparent pixels will be automatically replaced with the current background colour. This will affect the image itself, so work on a copy.

And what of that drab background colour? No problem – just click the appropriate button to jolly it up, or choose a shade more in keeping with your chosen image.

BootXChanger is a fabulous little hassle-free tool for those wanting to inject a little bit of colour into their start-up sequence – go on, give it a go (you can always restore the default, drab logo with a single click if it doesn’t meet your needs).

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