Cool trick to rename your Start button

January 20th, 2007

I remember the first book I read about Windows ’95. They were beginning proudly to present the differences between it and it’s predecessor, Windows 3.11, and the first thing they mentioned was the Start button.
Now here’s an interesting trick if you’re tired of that green little button in the lower left corner of your screen. It’s quite simple and it doesn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.

If you wonder how come you missed it so far, I’ll tell you. It’s actually hidden, as in not available, and we’re going to have to tweak your computer up a bit.

The process consists in a single step and that would be editing explorer.exe. For this, we will need a simple tool, that I provided for you for a quick download here. It’s called Resource Hack and it’s just about everything we need. So, download the ZIP archive, extract it and run “ResHacker.exe” from inside the archive. Click File, then OPEN, then point out your ‘explorer.exe’ in your Windows directory.

A browsing tree should open with the menus on the left. Click on String Table and you will see some numbers. Expand 37 (or 38) and click on “1033″. You should see a quoted line in the right window, that says: 578,”start”. You can make the desired change for 37 and 38 as well. So, replace the “start” between the quotes with whatever you want it to display, then click “Compile script”.

Now, all you have to do is restart your computer, or simply log off and back on. The start button will display the chosen text. Here are sample results below. Enjoy the trick.

startbuttonbefore startbuttonafter
BEFORE AFTER

UPDATE: Due user comments, I’ve considered the following trick. If you can’t overwrite explorer.exe, save the file to “explorer2.exe” for example, in C:\Windows (or whatever your Windows directory is), then you’ll have to tweak up the Registry to accept the settings.

Go to Start, click Run and enter “regedit” in the text box. Push Enter, then browse through the tree up to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion ->Winlogon. Check out the list, and you’ll have a “Shell” entry mentioning “explorer.exe”. Change it to “explorer2.exe” and reboot/logoff.

This should be it for good ;)






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Comments

  1. comentor:

    it does not work for me !
    it ask to save, ans explorer can’t be saved

  2. Etherfast:

    Check out the update. It will work 100%.
    Thanks for the feedback ;)

  3. Elcoteda:

    Followed through the instructions but it didn’t want to start up explorer2. Had to manually revert back to explorer and reboot to load properly.

  4. Barless:

    I tried the trick where I edit the shell, but when I log back on I am sans Taskbar. I used task manager to open regedit and set shell back to default but..I want to change my start button >.

  5. Barless:

    Oh, I fixed it. I believe my anti-spyware program wasn’t letting me change the registry…thanks for this! I’m uber-happy with my “Roll d20″ start button!!

  6. Dont Do It:

    DONT DO IT! IT WILL SCREW UP YOUR COMPUTER!!!

  7. Kaamoss:

    So from someone posting a windows customization tip like this, I’d expect you’d come up with a better way for the changes to explorer.exe to take effect. The first thing that came to my mind was Ctrl-Alt-Del tasks, end explorer.exe and add it. Also, whitespace on the end of the string will make the button longer if it looks to cramped. Cool trick though, thanks for the info.

  8. Joe boomer:

    Hey there, I like your site. Just want to say that I was not able to save, but instead of doing some registry tweaks, I used the task manager to stop explorer.exe (find it under processes, end task, and click ok), and then I was able to save it. If you’re not going to log out or shutdown yet, you can start it again by clicking on new task and typing explorer.exe under applications. If you’re just going to log out or shutdown right away, you don’t have to start explorer.exe again, but you do have to press the button on the case.

  9. Ligo:

    Um, well I just tried this on my comp with xp, I had to the the updated version and when i saved it i forgot to put the .exe on the end. When I restarted my computer it comes to the background and just stops. How can I get it back to normal? I cant use any programs or bring up anything so… please help…

  10. Frisky:

    I used the update… it worked, however, when I tried to start programs they wouldnt start up :/ and my firewall screwed up lol, what might of gone wrong? When I changed it back to use the original explorer.exe everything worked fine…

  11. Ligo:

    nevermind I got it

  12. browa13:

    if it doesn’t save, just press ctrl + alt + del, go to processes click on explorer.exe then click ‘end task’ compile and save the script then go to file> New Task and type in ‘explorer’ saves you a logoff too

  13. Philip:

    You can avoid having to rename explorer.exe by doing the following.

    With the Resource Hack up and your changes made, right-click the task bar and select Task Manager. End Process on explorer.exe. Save the compilation and then CTRL+ALT+DELETE and utilize the logoff menu from there since you’ll lose your task bar temporarily. Then log back in and the changes should show.

  14. Philip:

    Oops! Looks like Kaamoss beat me to it.

  15. DO NOT DO IT GUYS!!:

    DO NOT DO IT GUYS!!
    trust me guys your windows will never work again if you already done it go to the seft mode with command and right regedit and fix what you did….
    Nader Radi

  16. Stefan:

    Thanks for the tip. I got it to work by going through the registry. But, though using the explorer2.exe value allowed me to change the word on my start button, I wasn’t able to use the Windows search function. When I reverted back to the explorer.exe value, the search function worked. It’s not that big of a deal but I use the search function so I guess I’m unable to use this tweak. Thanks anyway.

  17. WHAT A PRANK:

    YOU ARE SO DUMB IF YOU DID THIS IT IS A VIRUS OR A HACK IT WILL SCREW YOUR PC XD

  18. 17 is an idiot:

    ^^^^i say that for obvious reasons

  19. STAVROS:

    THIS IS FAKE !WILL DESTROY YOUR PC IF YOU DO THIS!AFTER REBOOT YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY WINDOWS ON YOUR PC!
    AND IF YOU DONT KNOW HOW TO REPAIR IT,YOU WILL HAVE TO RE INSTALL THE WINDOWS AND LOST ALL YOUR SAVES!

  20. Spyke:

    Works for me!!

    Thanks

  21. LANDON POWELL:

    it is not a hack that will give you a virus i did it and i just want to say you should make an extra account before you do it though if you have a weak computer.

  22. ajay:

    he i do it………… but it lost when i turn off my pc……

  23. Ryan:

    Works 100% for me!! Very sweet little trick, thanks!

  24. kadamb sachdeva:

    resource hacker is not displaying number 37 or 38

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