change start button text

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Change the Start Button Text (All Windows)
Would you like to change the Start button to say something else, perhaps your name, company or any other 5 or less letter word? This article explains the procedure to manually modify the text of the Windows Start button.

Manually changing the Start button requires the use of a binary file editor (or hex editor) to alter a critical Windows system file, it is therefore not recommended for inexperienced users. This method has been successfully tested on Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 and XP and therefore should be quite safe, although we do not accept any responsibility for system problems or data loss.
As mentioned before you will need to have a hex editor installed, there are many different products available and if you don't have one already a quick search of a shareware site should provide many choices, for this tweak we only require basic features.

The file that needs to be changed is Windows Explorer, and it is essential to make a backup before you modify anything. "Explorer.exe" can be found in the Windows directory, usually C:\WINDOWS for Windows 95, 98, Me & XP and C:\WINNT for Windows NT/2000. Make a copy of "Explorer.exe" and place it into another directory, C:\BACKUP might be a good choice.

Make another copy of the original "Explorer.exe" and name it "Explorer1.exe", then open "Explorer1.exe" in your hex editor.

You now need to find the word "Start", although there are many entries for "Start" in the file only one is used for to label the Start button. Use the search function in the hex editor to find all the strings equal to "S t a r t" which is represented as "53 00 74 00 61 00 72 00 74" in hex values. As there are many different "Start" strings keep searching until you find one located just before this text "There was an internal error and one of the windows you were using has been closed.". Below is a list of offsets to help you locate the correct text.

Windows 98
Offset: 0x00028D6E - 0x00028D76
Windows NT4
Offset: 0x00028BEE - 0x00028BF6
Windows ME
Offset: 0x00033DDE - 0x00033DE6
Windows 2000
Offset: 0x0003860E - 0x00038616
Windows XP (Enhanced Start Menu)
Offset: 0x000412B6 - 0x000412BE
Windows XP (Classic Start Menu)
Offset: 0x0004158A - 0x00041592
Windows XP SP1 (Enhanced Start Menu)
Offset: 0x0004208E - 0x00042096
Windows XP SP1 (Classic Start Menu)
Offset: 0x0004259A - 0x000425A2
The result should look similar to the image below, depending on the display from your hex editor.

Once you have located the string, you can then replace the letters in "Start" with five other characters. You must use exactly five characters, if the word you want to use is less, replace the remaining characters with the space key. In this example we have replaced "Start" with "Guide", alternatively a three-letter word would look like "A B C" (note the spaces). Once you have changed the letters the result should look similar to the image below.

Now save the modified "Explorer1.exe" in the Windows directory, and confirm that you now have the two Explorer files in the Windows directory, they both should be the same file size but have different modified dates.

The next step is different depending on your operating system. Only do the step required for your version.

Windows 95, 98 & ME
Exit to DOS (or use a boot disk for Windows ME) and at the command prompt change to the Windows directory and rename "explorer.exe" to "explorer.old". Then copy the newly modified Explorer "explorer1.exe" to "explorer.exe". Do a directory listing and confirm that "explorer.exe" has the most recent modified date and time. Restart the computer and Windows should reload along with the new Start button text.

Windows NT
First close any open applications and open a new Command Prompt window, then switch back to the GUI and open the Task Manager. Find the "explorer.exe" process and end it, you should now be left with only the command prompt and task manager. Switch back to the command prompt and change to the Windows directory, rename "explorer.exe" to "explorer.old", and copy the newly modified Explorer "explorer1.exe" to "explorer.exe". Do a directory listing and confirm that "explorer.exe" has the most recent modified date and time. Switch back to Task Manager and launch a "New Task" called "explorer.exe" this should reload the shell along with your modified "Start" button.

Windows 2000 and XP
Open your registry editor and find the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]. Find the value named "Shell" and change it to equal the filename of the new explorer "explorer1.exe". Exit your registry editor and restart Windows for the change to take effect. To reverse the change, modify the value of "Shell" and set it back to "explorer.exe".

(Default) REG_SZ (value not set)
Shell REG_SZ explorer1.exe

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

If everything has gone successfully you will now have a new Start button, and also hopefully learnt something about the Explorer file structure. If you do have problems replace the faulty Explorer with the backup made during the first step.
No offense, but I posted something very similar in response to this post , which was a bit easier to follow (shorter). Then again, this one has all versions of Windows, mine was XP. Just curious, what does "Change the Start Button Text (All Windows) Popular " mean? Popular with whom and/or where? Also, XVI32 is a good, free, hex can find it at
All windows= all versions of windows.
Popular= This was an article written for my mcse students. I posted it in their discussion groups and it was rated one of the more popular posts.
I am sorry though i didn't know you had already posted something like this, hope i didn't offend you in any way.
I just checked out your article, it is definately a little easier to
and thanks for the info on the hex editor...
this looks cool!!!
mind if i post it to some other boards,
my friends would appreciate it.
i wont if you dont like.
Is that really relevant for MCSE's to know. You can find this topic in about 1000 different forums on the Internet.
actually it is relevant. It is something my students wanted to know. If you would like to post it somewhere else I don't mind just cite where you found it please.
Thank you as well it is very polite.
I can show you a pretty easy way to change the start button

This only works for Windows XP, but I can show you a similar way to do it for Win 98 or 95.

First off, you will have to download Resource Hacker. It is free. Find Explorer.exe, make a copy of it. I dont care how you make the copy.

Next, open up resource hacker and point to File then Open and find Explorer.exe and open it. At the left will be a tree pane. Locate "String Table" and click the "+" sign next to it. Then find the number 37 and click the "+". Click 1033 and to the right somewhere on that pane it should say 578, "start" or something close.

That my friends is the start button caption. Inside the quotes type whatever you want. After that you click "Compile Script" button at the top.

And if you want to change what the balloon says that pops up when you hover over the start button heres how: If not then GoTo: Skip

While still in String Table, find the number 32 and click the "+". Click 1033. This is similar to what you already saw. To the right you should see 533, "Click here to begin". That is the balloon text. Replace the text with whatever you want and click "Compile Script" at the top.

Another trick you can do is if your start menu is in classic view, you can change the caption from "Windows XP Home Edition" or whatever edition to whatever you want it to say. If you would like to know how let me know.


Then, goto File > Save as and save this in C:\windows as newstartbutton.exe or whatever you want. Close ResHack. Reboot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Logon as administrator. Now you have a command prompt. Type in c:\windows. Next type in "copy c:\windows\newstartbutton.exe c:\windows\explorer.exe" without the quotes. It will ask if you want to go through with this, type "yes" hit enter. And it should say 1 file(s) copied. Now just type in "shutdown -r". This will reboot your computer. You have now changed your start button text. (if you did it right)

AND, if you don't want ResHack anymore, just uninstall it.

If you have any questions or if it didnt work, email me or post it. If you did get it to work, that would be nice to know too.
This is interesting. If done correctly, might one experience any negative OS issues at all?
I don't know about the other ways of changing the start button, but my way shouldn't mess up anything. I changed my start button and everything works fine.:D
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