Rename your Windows XP start button

Disclaimer: Editing your Windows configuration can be risky and will end up in an unstable operating system. Only proceeds if you are fully understands the risks involved and you don’t mind doing it anyway.  This article only serve as an educational purposes and will not held it responsible for any of your actions.

How you like to custom naming the old boring Start button into something else. Maybe putting your personal name would be nice for a change. You can do this in two easy steps only.

Step 1

Modify your explorer.exe extension file. The file is located in your default install directory C:Windows or other drives letter D:, E:, etc if you installed in other partition in your hard drive or your are using multiple OS boot system.

‘explorer.exe is a binary file it requires a special editor not with a notepad or wordpad, just like when editing HTML for an instance . For the purposes of this tweak I have chosen ‘Resource Hacker’. Resource Hacker is a free open source utility to view, modify, rename, add, delete and extract resources in 32bit Windows executable and resource files (*.res). It incorporates an internal resource script compiler and decompiler and works on Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems.

You can get Resource Hacker-Version 3.6.0: here or Resource Editor-Version (alternative): here.

Disclaimer: ‘Resource Hacker’ is no longer being developed

Unzip the contents on your desktop for easy reaching and run Resource Hacker setup.

Always make a backup copy of the file explorer.exe. Create a folder and name what you will, place the backup copy inside. Put the folder somewhere in your hard drive where it will be safe and easy to find.

Go to where you place the Resource Hacker file and start ResHacker.exe. Open file and look for explorer.exe located at C:Windowsexplorer.exe.

The category we are going to be using is String Table. Expand it by clicking the plus sign then navigate down to and expand string 37 followed by highlighting 1033. If you are using theClassic Stylerather than the XP Style, use number 38. The right hand pane will display the string table. Let’s say we’re going to modify the item 578, currently showing the word “start” just as it displays on the current Start button.

There is no magic here. Just double click on the word “start” so that it’s highlighted, making sure the quotation marks are not part of the highlight. They need to remain in place, surrounding the new text that you’ll type. Type your new most cool text entry. Use your own name or your pet’s name or whatever.

After the new text string has been entered the Compile Script button that was grayed out is now active.  Click Compile Script and then Save the altered file using the Save As command on the File Menu.

Do not use the Save command since explorer.exe is still active as a background service. Saving this way will either annoy you with pop up alert message or somehow force save while the OS is active and crash and freeze the whole system. And who knows if you reboot and you will see the famous: “B.S.O.D. – Blue Screen Of Death”.

So to be on the safe side, use the Save As command and choose a new name for the save file. Save the newly named file back into C:Windows. Do not try to delete the original explorer.exe at this stage as you might think it is not in use anymore. Or better still you don’t need to delete it even after the reboot. Just leave it there.

Next up…

Step 2

Modify the system Registry. Make a backup of your registry before making changes to it. As a reminder in case you have forgotten, click Start and click Run. Type in regedit in Open: field and OK. Once regedit is started, use Alt + F or clickFile in the task menu. Highlight the Export option, give your registry backup a name; example: backup.reg and tick the All radio button in the Export range section. Click Save.

Now that the modified and renamed explorer.exe file has been created, it’s necessary to modify the registry so the file will be recognized when the user logs on to the system. Run regedit, expand the table tree and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion Winlogon

In the right pane, double click the Shell entry to open the Edit String dialog box. In Value data: line, enter the name that was used to save the modified explorer.exe file. Click OK.

Exit the Registry Editor and reboot the entire system. If it works you will see the revised start text button. If you don’t want to use the new renamed explorer.exe, just redo the above process and go straight to Save As option and save it back to it’s original filename.

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