Monday, 27 June 2011

Change Windows XP Start Button

The start button is the most clicked on button in all of Windows.  If you are going to customize windows, why not customize the start button.  It is possible to change the text of the start button through the use of a hex editor which is a special program that allows you to edit files that were already compiled.
To get started, all you need is a hex editor which you can dowload for free on the web.  If you do not have a hex editor, visit download.com and preform a search for hex editor and you will find several. 
Once you have the hex editor downloaded and installed, just open up explorer.exe which is found in the windows directory in the program.  Then go to the following offsets and you will see the text S T A R T.  Just modify the letters to what ever you wish and save the file and you are set to go.  Make sure that you leave the spaces between the letters and you only overwrite the five letters. 

The file offsets for XP are: 000412b6 - 000412bf and 0004158a - 00041593
This method has a few limitations though, you can only use exactly 5 letters.  If you want to us somthing with more than five letters, below is another guide that will also change the start menu text.  It is from tweakersguide.com but it was in German so here's my rough translation.

First of all you will need to download a exe editor - Resource Hacker and Hacker 2.0 are avaliable from www.downloads.com and are adequate for the task in hand.
The first 3 steps stop the file we are going to tamper with from being restored automatically when windows restarts
1) with notepad or a text editor open the file c:\windows\system32\restore\filelist.xml (you might need to change it's properites from read only first by right clicking on the file and selecting properties, then remove the tich from the read only checkbox)
2) add the following line to the first section to exclude explorer.exe from the protected file list
- %windir%explorer.exe

3) save the file (and apply the read only properties back if you wish)
The next 2 steps actually modify the explorer.exe file that is the windows shell so back it up first if you are uncertain what you are doing (to back up the file, open a cmd window and type -
copy c:\windows\explorer.exe c:\windows\explorer.bak)

4) Open the file c:\windows\explorer.exe with your exe editor and edit the text in following lines
String Table > 37 > 1033
String Table > 38 > 1033

You just edit the text inside the "Start" to what ever you want and compile if necessary (depends on your exe editor - you will if you use ResHack)
5) save the file as (file > save as) explorer.xp (back up this file to another disk if you want to save a bit of hassle after you recover the machine next time)
Now you need to copy the file you've modified best way I've found to do this is to boot to safe mode command prompt although it's been suggested that you can stop the explorer.exe process with Task Manager, copy the fie in a cmd prompt then restart the process again - that worked for me but the origional returned after a restart. The next 3 steps describe how you copy the file
6) restart the machine and start tapping F8 to get the start menu - choose safe mode with command prompt
7) log on as Administrator and you'll be presented with a cmd prompt
8) To copy the modified file just type
copy c:\windows\explorer.xp c:\windows\explorer.exe
assuming that's where you saved it to with your exe editor)

9) Restart Machine and VOILA!

That's all...Enjoy


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