Tutorial On GUI Customization

<Intro>
Ok, the first thing you need to do is realize that there is some risk to customizing the graphic user interface (GUI). Also note, this tutorial will only work with Windows, and right now only with Windows 7. Windows 7's Registry entries are different than Vista's and XP's so what I'm doing here will not work on XP or Vista unless stated otherwise. Also, this will only work with the 32bit version of Windows, I haven't had enough experience in customizing the 64bit version of Windows to be comfortable with telling others how to do it. In the following tutorials that I post, you may be editing registry entries and other things that could cause the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD). I highly recommend you make a back up of your files and programs before starting, as <bold>I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THAT GOES WRONG WITH YOUR COMPUTER.</bold> I will tell you though, if I had the BSOD after editing a certain part, and how I fixed it.
</Intro>
<Tools>
Tools you will need for all of my tutorials:

Linux Mint / Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD (incase of BSOD)
>Found here:
http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=81
>or here:
http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

USB Drive, best to be 8GB but 4GB will work just fine. (Make an additional back up of all original files, just in case something nasty happens to your system.)

NexusFile, one of the best file managers out there, easy to learn, much better than Window's stock file manager.
>Found here:
http://xiles.net/downloads/#NexusFile

InfraRecorder, to burn the Ubuntu or Linux Mint to a DVD or CD
>Found here:
http://infrarecorder.org/?page_id=5

All of the software I share with you is going to be Freeware, completely open source, and I promise they have no Malware, Spyware, Adware, or any other type of virus you can think of. I've scanned all the files myself with Kaspersky, Avast, and MS SE.
</Tools>
<Tutorial>
Ok for this first tutorial, I will show you how to prepare yourself for if and when you get the BSOD, and how to prepare your computer for GUI customization.

The first thing you need to do is download and install InfraRecoder, I included the link in the Tools section. InfraRecorder is a great DVD/CD/ISO making software, you can create bootable CDs and DVDs from ISOs on your computer.

After you install InfraRecorder, download one of the Linux distributions I have linked above. You can download it VIA a bit torrent client, or the direct link on their website. The bit torrent client is faster, and they would prefer that you use it because it doesn't take up their bandwidth. Linux is to rescue Windows if anything happens to the OS. I will write another tutorial on rescuing your system if anything happens to it on a later date.

Once Linux is on your system, open InfraRecorder, in the menu bar, you will see a drop drop down called Actions.
Actions > Burn Image
Navigate to the directory you saved the Linux distribution in, and select the Linux distribution's ISO file. On the burn options window, the stock settings are perfect the way they are. Just click OK. This will start burning the ISO to the disk. This may take a while, but be patient.

When Linux is burned to the disc, test it!

Change the boot order in BIOS so the CD, DVD, or BluRay drive is listed first. Some computers are already configured this way but many are not. If the optical drive is not first in the boot order, your PC will boot from your hard drive without checking your optical drives.

After setting your optical drive as the first boot device in BIOS, your computer will check that drive for a bootable disc each time your computer starts. Leaving your PC configured this way shouldn't cause problems unless you plan on leaving a disc in the drive all the time.

Turn on or restart your computer and look for a message during the boot process about a specific key, usually Del or F2, that you'll need to press to enter SETUP. Press this key as soon as you see the message.

Navigate to the "Boot" section of the BIOS, and change the 1st device to your optical drive, since all BIOSes are different, you will have to read the instructions in the Boot section to know what keys to press to change the boot order.

Reboot and select boot from disc. When the splash screen is displayed, select your language, and hit enter. After you have selected your language, there will be an option on the screen saying "Try ______ without installing."
highlight that option and click enter. That will start booting the distribution from the live CD. As soon as you see the desktop, you can turn off your computer, and restart into Windows.

Now that you have a working Linux Live CD, you can now recover from most (BSOD) errors if you know what you are doing.

The next RECOMMENDED step is installing NexusFile. This will make your GUI customization life a hell of a lot easier. You can achieve the same results using the Windows default file manager, NexusFile just makes things more intuitive. If you do choose to install NexusFile, I recommend you take a few hours getting to know the interface. It is quite a bit different than Window's file manager.
</Tutorial>
<Other Thoughts>
Ok, well my time is coming to an end, and I think this is a good place to end the tutorial, you have everything you need to recover, before anything ever happens. Now that you are prepared for the worst, let me tell you something. You aren't. There is nothing you can do to be prepared for everything that could happen to your computer. I recommend if you want to be 100% sure that you will always have a working OS, Purchase a 32GB flash drive, and install Windows on it, and ONLY USE IT FOR RECOVERY PURPOSES IN CONJUNCTION WITH LINUX. That way you know you have a working copy of Windows, and a way to repair a broken system. Also, this does not make you a computer repair guru, don't try to repair someone's computer without having the know how first.
</Other Thoughts>

  • Lambeau
  • September 1, 2011, 10:44 am
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Comments

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  • 1

    Thank you for this, I'm sure a lot of people will find it useful

    I'll be doing more later, I wanted people to know what they needed to fix their computer before they even try to change settings that could cause problems.
    - Lambeau September 1, 2011, 12:02 pm
    Reply
  • 1

    well it seems like I'll be going back to wallpaper dumps ;)

    • Lambeau
    • September 2, 2011, 1:29 pm
    Reply
  • 1

    Favourited, I'll read through this fully when I have the time, looks pretty useful.

    • jokin
    • September 3, 2011, 1:26 am
    Reply
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