Windows: Change the Text in Your Start Button

Posted September 1, 2006 by bulletcatcher221 in Windows

Have you ever wondered if you could change the name of your Start button to something besides “Start?” It is possible. Here is how to change the text.

Changing the Start button requires the use of a binary file editor (hex editor) to alter a critical Windows system file. If you kill this file, bad things can happen to your system.

Stop here in you do not know about backups and registry hacking.

This method has been successfully tested on Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 and XP, and therefore, should be quite safe. Obviously, I do not accept any responsibility for system problems or data loss.

If you are still willing to proceed, we can begin the process of changing your Start button. First of all, you will need a binary file editor. The best one I have seen and have used for years is Resource Hacker which is available for free here:

Now that you have this tool, let us get to work.

Hacking Explorer.exe File

In order to make the changes we need, open the explorer.exe file which is typically found in c:\windows\explorer.

Make a backup copy of explorer.exe to explorer_backup.exe. If anything goes wrong, you will always be able to restore your backup and get your system back to the way it was before the hack.

Open the resource hacker and select the explorer.exe file.

Once you have opened Explorer in Resource Hacker, you will notice a menu appears on the left side of the program with a lot of different expandable menu columns. The category we are going to use is String Table.

– Double-click String Table, which will show several numbers.
– Double-click String 37 to expand it.
– (If you are using the Classic Layout rather than the XP Layout, use number 38 instead.)
– Click 1033 .
– Double-click the start text in the right column.
– The text start should be highlighted, and the surrounding quotes should not. It should look like this:

– Now, type the new text you want in your Start button. It can not be more than 10 characters in length and must continue to be surrounded by those quotes.
– Once you edit the text, the Compile Script button will become enabled. Click the Compile Script button.
– Click File -> Save As , and save your new file as explorerhack.exe in the windows directory.

Hacking the Registry

Now, we need to tell the OS to use our new hacked Explorer file.

1. Click Start -> Run ->, and type in regedit. Then press ENTER.

(If your Regedit is disabled, leave a comment on this tech-recipe, and I will teach you how to enable it.)

2. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\ Winlogon

3. Double-click on the registry entry named Shell, and change the Value Data from explorer.exe to explorerhack.exe.

4. Click OK to close the registry editor.

5. Log off user, and log back in.

Enjoy your newly hacked Start button with your text in it. Post a screenshot in the comments to show off you new hacked Start button

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