Customizing the BIOS Boot Logo
By Gabriel Torres on May 29, 2005
Have you noticed that every time you turn PC on there is a green and yellow logo from EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), as shown in Figure 1? Did you know you can alter this logo, and replace it with anything you want in the space where it is displayed? This tip is powerful, if you want to customize your PC. If you’re a service man or if you work in a store, you can use this tip to place your company logo, with your address and phone, transforming this feature in a powerful marketing tool.
Figure 1: EPA logo.
In order to apply our tip, some preconditions must be followed.
1. BIOS must be Award’s. That’s easy to discover: in the same screen where logo is displayed, there will be something like “Award Modular BIOS v4.51PG”.
2. You must mandatorily know your motherboard manufacturer and model. This is essential, because as this logo is recorded inside PC BIOS, what you’ll actually do is to perform a BIOS upgrade. If you don’t know who is your motherboard manufacturer and/or its model, use programs like Sandra, Hwinfo and Everest, all available at our download section.
3. Motherboard must accept BIOS upgrade via software, in other words, ROM chip must be of the Flash-ROM type (nowadays all motherboards use this kind of chip).
4. You’ll need to download, from motherboard manufacturer’s website, the necessary files to do a BIOS upgrade in your motherboard. Two files are needed: the program to record BIOS, normally called Awdflash.exe, and the file containing BIOS updated data to be recorded in BIOS (it’s a .bin or .rom file). For example, let’s assume that the necessary file to do the BIOS upgrade of motherboard Soyo 5BT is called 5bt-1b7.bin. We've written a complete tutorial on BIOS upgrade, you may want to read it before going further. Please download these files now. Here you can find a complete motherboard manufacturer list and where to download the required files.
If preconditions are met, let’s go to work! The first step is to create an image to replace EPA logo. To do that, you must use a graphic application, like Photoshop, Photostyler, Paint Shop Pro, Photo Paint, etc. Inside application, create an image with following characteristics: 136 pixels wide, 126 pixels high, 72 dpi and black and white mode (this mode is also called by other names, depending on the program, like B&W, 2 colors or 1 bit quality). Define black for the background color and white for pen drawing color. Feel free to create your image, recalling that initially you’ll create a black-and-white image. Below we’ll tell you how to color it.
After editing your logo, you must save it in bmp format (1 bit bitmap). The file must not be larger than 2,582 bytes. In Figure 2 you can verify the file sample we created, and that we’ll record in BIOS.
Figure 2: Example of a customized logo we used on our PC.
After having created the bmp file containing your logo, you’ll need to convert it to the format used by BIOS. This format is called EPA. To perform this conversion, you’ll need a program called Bioslogo, that can be downloaded from download section. Besides doing the conversion, this program will enable you to color your logo (see Figure 3). Don’t be so surprised as the program is written in Turkish; change language to English in order to understand its mode of operation.
Using Bioslogo is rather simple. Click on "Load BMP" to load your personalized image. Click on "BMP > EPA" button. If an error occurs, it's because you didn't save the file using the required specs (1-bit bitmap) and you should save again the image using the correct specs we posted on the top of this page. After converting to EPA, you can go ahead and color your logo, by choosing a color from the color palette available and clicking on the places you want that color. In our example, we colored our own logo in blue and yellow (check Figure 3). The next step is just to click on "Save EPA" and you are done. If you need to edit your logo again, just click on "Load EPA" to load your EPA file.
After converting your bmp file into an epa type file (don’t forget to save it), you’ll need to code this file inside the BIOS upgrade file. To perform that, you’ll need to use Cbrom program (available at our download section) and also you will need the BIOS file for your motherboard (downloaded from the manufacturer's website). This program must be used in DOS prompt as below:
Cbrom BIOS_FILE_NAME /epa epa_file.epa
For example, supposing you’re altering Soyo 5BT motherboard BIOS, whose BIOS file, downloaded from manufacturer’s web site, is called 5bt_1b7.bin, whereas the name of your logo file is logo.epa, the command would then be:
Cbrom 5bt-1b7.bin /epa logo.epa
This command will modify the contents of BIOS file. After this modification is done, next step is to perform the BIOS upgrade, and have the file contents actually recorded inside BIOS computer. This procedure must be done by means of the Awdflash.exe file, which is available from motherboard manufacturer’s website.
When executing this program, it will prompt you for the name of the file to be recorded (in our example 5bt-1b7.bin) and also whether you want to store the current BIOS in a backup file. We recommend this to be done, just in case something goes wrong during recording. In Figure 4 we see Awdfash.exe in action.
Wait until the program ends BIOS recording. As we mentioned before, you may want to read our tutorial on BIOS upgrade if these instructions are too complicated for you.
If everything went well, after next boot, PC will be displaying your logo.