For people who like to customize to their thinkpad laptops, we can create custom BIOS splash screens instead of having the default Thinkpad logo. Unfortunately, the old tutorial on thinkwiki is outdated; however, it only takes a little ingenuity to add that splash screen again.

This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to add a custom BIOS splash screen for new thinkpad subseries including ThinkPad R400, R500, T400, T500, W500, X200, X200s, X200 Tablet and X301. This also applies to all variants of those listed before e.g. T410 and T420.

1. Download the BIOS Update Utility

The utility is available from Lenovo's website and you can find it using the search e.g. "BIOS Update Utility T410" will bring up a list of search results where one of them is the BIOS update utility for my Thinkpad T410.

Download the appropriate utility for your Thinkpad subseries.

BIOS Update Utilities

R400, R500, T400, T500, W500, X200, X200s, X200 Tablet and X301
T410, T410i
T420, T420i
T520, T520i
W520
X220, X220i, X220 Tablet, X220i Tablet

If your Thinkpad subseries is not listed above, please search for the BIOS Update Utility and download it before continuing.

In this tutorial, I'll be using my Thinkpad T410 BIOS Update Utility listed above.

2. Install the BIOS Update Utility

After downloading the BIOS Update Utility from the Lenovo website, we install it but we will not run it yet. Skip to the end of this section if you know how to install software. Be sure to change the highlighted sections.

Start the installer

Accept the agreement

Set the installation location

Confirm your settings

Uncheck the installation box
We will run the BIOS Update Utility after we prepare our custom BIOS splash screen.

3. Compile the Custom BIOS Splash Screen

Here's my splash screen as an example. Please don't use my name on your laptop (unless you really want to).

My custom splash screen

There are two important requirements for the image:

  1. File name must be logo.bmp
  2. Format must be 16 color bitmap .BMP
  3. Dimensions must be 640x480 pixels
  4. Final .MOD File size must be less than 10KB

If the requirements are not met, the BIOS will not update the splash screen. Read on to see how to create the .MOD file.

Copy your custom splash screen to the installation folder

The installation folder is created through the BIOS Update Utility installation above. The path my vary depending on the installer but the default path should be C:\DRIVERS\random_version.

Save image as 16-color BMP in MS Paint

Save through MS Paint to ensure that the image is a 16 color bitmap. If the image is already the proper bitmap, then the image will not lose quality; however, if the image originally has more than 16 colors, then the image will lose quality in favor of 16 colors.

Run logo.bat

logo.bat will create the logo.mod file for us that is used to update the BIOS splash screen.

Confirm that logo.mod was created

Final .MOD File size must be less than 10KB

4. Update the BIOS

Now we can finally update the BIOS with WINUPTP.EXE.

Run the BIOS Update Utility

Update BIOS

Complete the installation and allow the BIOS to update.

Updating the BIOS is dangerous and the process must be undisturbed: the laptop should not be shutdown, slept, or hibernated while updating. I will not be liable for anything that goes wrong while updating the BIOS.

Completion

You should now have your custom BIOS splash screen when you boot up your Thinkpad.

It's a nice way to distinguish your laptop from others in case it's ever stolen, lost, or mixed into a lost and found box of a dozen Thinkpads.