Monthly Archives: February 2009

Custom Logonscreen Background

By default Windows Server 2008 has a (boring) blue logonscreen background. This tutorial will help you to customize the Windows Server 2008 x86|x64 (Build 6001) loginscreen with Vista’s or your own background. Members of the forum found out that using the authui.dll file from Vista SP0 (Vista without any Service Packs) allows you to modify the logonscreen background and (as far as we tested) doesn’t have side-effects. You can do this either autmatically or manually. You can test if this also works for newer builds of Windows Server 2008, but at your own risk!

After overwriting the authui.dll file(s) you will get the default Vista logon background. To modify this, use the free Vista Visual Master, the commercial Stardock LogonStudio or any other Vista Logon Screen modification tool to edit the background.

Modded Windows 2008 Workstation logonscreen
Customized Windows Server 2008 logonscreen

Automatically

I extracted the authui.dll files for the x86 and x64 architecture respectively from the x86 and x64 MSDN iso’s of Windows Vista (SP0) RTM. See names of iso images below.

Download: authui.dll_VistaSP0_x86x64.zip (1.91MB) from Rapidshare and run install.cmd. This installer works for both the x86 and x64 architecture.
Contents:

install.cmd
x64
     System32authui.dll
     SysWOW64authui.dll
x86
     System32authui.dll

Manually

x86
1. Get the authui.dll file from the C:WindowsSystem32 directory of a clean Windows Vista SP0 pc or extract it from the MSDN iso with name en_windows_vista_x86_dvd_X12-34293.iso.

2. Go to your Windows Server 2008 pc and take ownership and get permissions for the C:WindowsSystem32authui.dll file. To do this follow the instructions in the “Take Ownership/Permissions” article.

3. Rename the authui.dll file and copy the authui.dll file you got from the Vista SP0 pc to the System32 directory.

x64
1. Get the authui.dll file from the C:WindowsSystem32 and C:WindowsSysWOW64 directory of a clean Windows Vista SP0 x64 or extract it from the MSDN iso with name en_windows_vista_x64_dvd_X12-40712.iso.

2. Go to your Windows Server 2008 pc and take ownership and get permissions for the C:WindowsSystem32authui.dll and C:WindowsSysWOW64authui.dll file. To do this follow the instructions in the “Take Ownership/Permissions” article.

3. Rename the authui.dll files and copy the authui.dll files you got from the Vista SP0 x64 pc to respectively the System32 and SysWOW64 directory.

 

Take Ownership/Permissions

In this article I’ll explain how to get permissions to modify/replace a protected system file. We will use authui.dll as an example. You can do this either via the GUI or via the Command Line. If you have problems with permissions, check the Troubleshooting section or ask your question at the forum. Remember: always make a backup before modifying/replacing system files!

GUI

The first 3 steps help you to get ownership over the file; the last 2 gives yourself permission to edit/replace the file.

Taking Ownership

1. Start Windows Explorer, go to the folder or file you want to get ownership for, right click the file and choose Properties. Now go to the Security tab.

2. In the Security tab click the Advanced button. In the window that opens now go to the Owner tab and click Edit.

3. From the list select the user or group you want to give ownership, click OK and click OK when a notification window appears. Now close all windows by clicking OK.

Setting Permissions

4. Reopen the properties of the file by right clicking the file and choosing Properties. Now go to the Permissions tab again.

5.Click the Edit button and choose in the Permissions window the user you want to edit the permissions from. Check the Full control checkbox if you want to give the selected user all permissions and click OK when you are done. Click Yes when a warning appears about setting the permissions of System folders.

6. Now you have permissions to replace/edit/delete the files or folder you just took ownership of.

Command Line

Start the Command Prompt by clicking Run in the Start menu, entering cmd.exe and clicking OK. Browse to the file or folder you want to set permissions from and use the following commands.

Give ownership of a file to current user

C:\Windows\System32>takeown /F authui.dll
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\authui.dll” now owned by user “WIN2008WS\Administrator”.

Give ownership of a file to Administrators group

C:\Windows\System32>takeown /A /F authui.dll
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\authui.dll” now owned by the administrators group.

Give ownership of a folder to current user

C:\Windows\System32>takeown /R /F Boot
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot” now owned by user “WIN2008WS\Administrator”.
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot\en-US” now owned by user “WIN2008WS\Administrator”.
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot\winload.exe” now owned by user “WIN2008WS\Administrator”.
<cut for brevity>

Give ownership of a folder to Administrators group

C:\Windows\System32>takeown /R /A /F Boot
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot” now owned by the administrators group.
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot\en-US” now owned by the administrators group.
SUCCESS: The file (or folder): “C:\Windows\System32\Boot\winload.exe” now owned by the administrators group.
<cut for brevity>

Edit the permissions of the file authui.dll to give full permissions to the Administrator user. Administrator can be replaced by any user or group.

C:\Windows\System32>icacls authui.dll /grant Administrator:F
processed file: authui.dll
Successfully processed 1 files; Failed processing 0 files

Edit the permissions of the Boot folder in C:\Windows\System32\ to give full permissions to the Administrator user. Administrator can be replaced by any user or group.

C:\Windows\System32>icacls Boot /T /grant Administrator:F
processed file: Boot
processed file: Boot\en-US
processed file: Boot\winload.exe
processed file: Boot\winresume.exe
processed file: Boot\en-US\winload.exe.mui
processed file: Boot\en-US\winresume.exe.mui
Successfully processed 6 files; Failed processing 0 files

References:
* Microsoft Technet: Icacls parameters
* Microsoft Technet: Takeown parameters

Troubleshooting

Q: After setting ownership and permissions I still get a You need permission to continue message when modifying files or folders.
A: Try disabling User Account Control (UAC): Start -> Control Panel -> User Accounts -> Turn User Account Control on or off -> uncheck -> OK -> Restart.

Q: How can I restore a file I backed up previously?
A: There are multiple possibilities to do this:

Possibility 1: Safe Mode
1. Go to the boot menu by repeatedly pressing F8 before Windows is loading and select Safe Mode.
2. Remove the edited file and replace it with your backupped file.

Possibility 2: Windows Boot DVD
If your pc couldn’t even boot in Safe Mode, you have to use an external medium to restore the backup file(s).
1. Insert the Windows Server 2008 Installation DVD (download iso) into the dvd drive and boot from it.
2. Click Next at the Language Settings screen.
3. In the next screen choose the Repair your computer link, select the Windows Server 2008 operating system you want to recover from the list and click Next again.
4. At the System Recovery Options screen choose the Commandline Prompt option.
5. Copy the backupped files back to their original location overwriting the edited ones. Reboot your computer when done!

 

Missing xinput9_1_0.dll

The xinput9_1_0.dll file is a library needed for using Xbox controllers and is by default included in Windows Vista but not in Windows Server 2008. This dll is needed to play several games like Grand Theft Auto IV, ed Halo 2 and more.

To install this dll I created a zip file including an batch installer that works on both the x86 and x64 editions of Windows Server 2008.

  • If you are using the x86 version of Windows Server 2008, it will install the x86 version of xinput9_1_0.dll into %windir%System32.
  • If you are using the x64 version of Windows Server 2008, it will install the x64 version of xinput9_1_0.dll into¬†%windir%System32 and also the x86 version of this file into %windir%SysWOW64.

Download: XinputInstaller_x86x64.zip (118 KB)

Contents:

install.cmd
x64
     infinst.exe
     xinput9_1_0.dll
     xinput9_1_0_x64.cat
     xinput9_1_0_x64.inf
x86
     xinput9_1_0.dll
     xinput9_1_0_x86.cat
     xinput9_1_0_x86.inf

 

For those who want to get these files manually: you need to download the DirectX Software Development Kit, extract it somewhere and go to the Redist folder where you can find the x86 dll in the file Oct2005_xinput_x86.cab and the dll for the x64 architecture in the Oct2005_xinput_x64.cab file.