Secret Way to Rename the Start Button

Windows XP's start button's rebirth

By on 19 Jan 2007, 15:42 GMT
It all begins with the start button. Maybe one of the most representative symbols of the Windows operating system, the start button has been present on our taskbars since Windows 95 and still hangs there along with the new Windows Vista.

Although its shape may have changed over the years, one thing remained the same: its display name, START. This is a remarkable success for the brand continuity and for Windows marketing scheme but we, the end users, may have gotten bored with it.

Nowadays, everything tends to become customizable, from a simple cell phone to an expensive car. If that's possible, why wouldn't there be available a method for renaming the start button?

By default, there is not a single option available in Windows to permit changing the name of the start button but there are always people who think and act to achieve what they want.

How it's done

There are two steps to follow in order to obtain what we want:

1. Editing the explorer.exe
2. Tweaking the registry to accept the changes.


First step

Explorer.exe is found in Windows folder and must be edited enable the renaming of the start button. Because we are dealing with a binary file, we need to use a file editor. I successfully edited the file using the Resource Hacker application. It is a free program available for download from Softpedia. Once you have downloaded it, extract all the data from the archive and run ResHacker. Now open the explorer.exe.

In the left, you can see an information tree. Expand String table > 37 or 38 (37 string is for the normal XP layout and 38 one is for the classic layout). You just select the one suitable for your Windows and then select 1033. In the right, line 578 display Start between quotes. Rename it with the desired name and then click the Compile Script button which is placed above.

It's time to save the new version of the explorer.exe. Click save as from the file menu and save it with a different name. I chose softpedia.exe.


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Step two

Go to start > Run and type Regedit to open the registry editor. Look for this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows NT>CurrentVersion>Winlogon

In the right, find the "Shell" entry. Double click on it and replace explorer.exe with softpedia.exe (or whatever you renamed the edited file).

Close the registry editor and Log Off or Restart your computer. After Windows XP boots, the new start button will have the name you have chosen.


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My tip is not to use long names because the start button will have to adapt in order to be able to show such names and its shape will be elongated and might not look too pleasant.

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