Simple tip: Changing what the start bar says in XP

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Fair Warning: if you are not an adept user, and not comfortable with using regedit, please don’t proceed with trying this.

Note: A number of people have reported that when the text on the Start Button is changed, the Search function from the Start Button (right click) context menu ceases to function. That’s true, it does, You’ve been warned.

I remember back in the day hearing about this neat little trick, it genuinely piqued my curiosity, I found it so neat being able to tinker with core OS features so simply.

Alright so getting started, in order to make the changes, the file “explorer.exe” needs to be edited. You can find this at “C:Windows” Since explorer.exe is a binary file, you need a special editor. In this case we will use “Resource Hacker” this program is a freeware utility used to view, modify, rename, add, delete, and extract resources in 32 bit windows .exe files

You can download this program HERE

The first step is to make a backup copy of the file explorer.exe located at C:Windowsexplorer. Place it in a folder somewhere on your hard drive where it will be safe. Start Resource Hacker and open explorer.exe located at C:Windowsexplorer.exe

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The option we are going to click is “String Table”. Expand then navigate down to and expand string 37 followed by Selecting 1033. The right hand side will show the stringtable We’re going to modify item 578, currently showing the word “start” just as it displays on the current Start button.

Double click the word “start” so that it’s highlighted (Make sure the quotes are not part of the highlight) Now type your new entry such as “XP” or your name, anything you like.

Click Compile Script and then save the altered file using the Save As command on the File Menu. Do not use the Save command – Make sure to use the Save As command and choose a name for the file.  Save the newly named file to C:Windows DO NOT SAVE IT AS EXPLORER.EXE 

Alright, now it’s time to get to the registry editing part of things. This step is necessary because we need windows to use our newly modified .exe instead of the default one, if you dont know how to open the registry editor, this article is not for you, and you should stop here. But for the sake of full coverage, Hit WinKey+R and type “regedit” no quotes.

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, whatever you named it before when you saved it, Click OK.

Now Close Regedit, and Log off and back on, or Reboot your computer entirely, Viola! you should see the edited start button.

Have Fun Tinkering Ladies and Gents.

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William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]