Ultimate Guide for Customizing Windows 7 System Properties
"System Properties" is one of the frequently used and widely known components of Windows OS. You can access it to check installed Windows version and Service Pack number, to check system RAM, processor, etc, to check whether Windows is activated or not and many other things.
We here at AskVG love customizing Windows UI and we always use our favorite tool Resource Hacker for this task. Customizing System Properties look-n-feel was very easy in Windows XP. You just needed to modify a system file called sysdm.cpl using Resource Hacker and you could move or remove any desired item from Windows XP System Properties. We posted an exclusive tutorial to customize Windows XP System Properties in past which can be found at following link:
But when Microsoft released Windows Vista, there were many changes in user interface and its resource locations. Microsoft started putting UI resources in .MUI files. So if you want to customize Windows UI in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, you'll need to modify .MUI files as described in following tutorials:
- List of Windows 7 System Files to be Customized Using Resource Hacker
- List of Windows Vista System Files to be Customized Using Resource Hacker
Same thing happened with System Properties. Microsoft moved the code of System Properties window in Windows Vista and later from sysdm.cpl file to a new DLL file.
So today in this tutorial, we are going to tell you how to customize Windows 7 System Properties? Using this tutorial, you'll be able to remove unwanted items from System Properties window. Also you'll be able to change or rename existing items such as logos, text strings, etc.
Following is a preview of the output which you can get after following this tutorial:
As you can see in above screenshot, we have removed Windows logo, genuine Windows activation logo, learn more online link and Windows experience index rating from System Properties.
This tutorial has been tested in Windows 7 but it should also work in Windows Vista and Windows 8.
So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial:
1. The system file which contains System Properties UI resources in Windows 7 is "systemcpl.dll" present in "%windir%\System32\" folder. Here %windir% represents "Windows" directory which can be found in the system drive where Windows is installed. In most of the cases its C:\Windows.
First copy systemcpl.dll file from "System32" folder to some other location for example Desktop.
2. Now open the new file in Resource Hacker and go to following key:
UIFILE -> 1001
3. In right-side pane, you'll get the whole code which is used by Windows to show each and every element in System Properties window.
You just need a little bit common sense to find out which line of code is responsible to show your desired item in System Properties window. Once you find the line, remove the line to remove that particular item from System Properties window or change the code to change the text string shown in the window.
The code starting from line 1 to line 100 is actually a stylesheet which tells Windows how to show the items in System Properties window.
Code after line 100 is the main programming code which contains the information about each item of System Properties window.
Each item of System Properties window is defined by a line in following format:
<element id=""....... />
Check the difference between both above mentioned examples. First example contains its closing tag in a new line on the other hand second example contains the closing tag in same line. So when you are deleting a line, make sure you also delete the line containing its closing tag.
4. When you finish editing the code, click on "Compile Script" button.
5. That's it. After modifying, save the file.
6. Now we'll need to replace original systemcpl.dll file present in "C:\Windows\System32\" folder with our new systemcpl.dll file which we saved at Desktop or some other location.
7 a. First take ownership of "C:\Windows\System32\systemcpl.dll" file using following tutorial:
7 b. Now rename it to "systemcpl_backup.dll" or any other name.
7 c. Now copy your new modified "systemcpl.dll" file from Desktop to "System32" folder.
8. That's it. Now you can check System Properties again and it'll show the new modified UI. No need to restart or log off. Changes are instant.
PS: Don't worry. If you make some mistake while editing the file, it'll not harm Windows but when you'll try to open System Properties, it might crash or might show a blank window. If you face this problem, just restore original file and everything will be fine.
NOTE: To change labels and text strings, you'll need to edit "C:\Windows\System32\en-US\systemcpl.dll.mui" file in Resource Hacker. If your Windows language is different, then replace en-US in the above path with your language code.
Posted in: Windows 7
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