Customize Windows XP Start Button Text

Start Button

My new Start Button (Windows button)

Are you tried of seeing the word Start all the time on Windows XP? Want to change that text? Or perhaps you want to change the text that shows when your mouse hovers over the button?

By default, it just says start. *Yawn* That’s boring. So let’s change it!

Warning: Please try to follow these steps accurately. We will be playing with critical system files here and failure to properly edit them may have adverse effects on your system.

Start by downloading a free application called Resource Hacker. It’s a small 541 KB zipped archive. After downloading, extract all the files into a folder and run ResHacker.exe. No installation is required.

Go to File > Open. Browse to your Windows folder. It’s usually C:\Windows\.

Click on a file named explorer.exe or type in explorer.exe into the File Name box.

Open Explorer.exe

Browse to C:Windowsexplorer.exe and click Open

You should see something like this:

Resource Hacker - Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer in Resource Hacker

Start Menu Text

Expand the String Table folder. Then expand the number 37 folder (38 if you’re using Windows Classic). Click on resource 1033 (which is the ID for English).

Edit Start Menu

Edit the Start Menu Button text

Notice the line that says “start”. You can edit this to whatever you want. Be sure to keep the quotes though. There is no character limit, but be sure not to make it too long or it will waste space on the taskbar.

Click Compile Script to update your Start button, but you’re not done yet. Either skip ahead to Activate Changes or continue reading.

Start Menu Hover Text

This is the text that shows when your mouse hovers over the start menu button. By default, it says “Click here to begin” on XP (and earlier). So boring and of course we know to click here to begin. So let’s change this too.

Expand the String Table folder. Then expand the number 34 folder. Click on resource 1033.

Start Menu Hover

Edit the Start Menu hover text

Notice the line that says “Click here to begin”. You can edit this to whatever you want. Be sure to keep the quotes though. There is no character limit.

Click Compile Script to update your Start button, but you’re not done yet.

Activate Changes

Now to actually activate the changes you’ve made earlier. Go to File > Save As. Make sure you use Save As.

Choose a name for this new exe file. I recommend something like explorer2.exe. Save into the C:\Windows folder.

You won’t be able to save as the original explorer.exe because the system is using it. That’s okay though because we don’t want to remove the original file.

To proceed with replacing Windows Explorer with your customized one, simply open up the command prompt (Run > cmd) and run the following command (change explorer2.exe to the name of your file):

REG ADD "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v Shell /t REG_SZ /d ^%systemroot^%\explorer2.exe /f

Congratulations, you’re done! But you might notice the changes aren’t activated yet. You will need to restart your system first.

Don’t Want to Restart PC?

If you don’t want to restart, you can go to Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). Head to the Processes tab. Find the process explorer.exe and click End Process.

You will notice the taskbar will disappear. Don’t worry. It’ll come back shortly.

Go to File > New Task. Type in explorer2.exe or whatever you named the file earlier and voila!

Windows button

The Start Button is now the Windows Button

After you restart your PC, it will automatically load this customized version.

Revert

Should you ever choose to revert to the default, simply run this command and restart your PC:

REG ADD "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v Shell /t REG_SZ /d ^%systemroot^%\explorer.exe /f

Are these steps working for you? Have any other start menu tricks? Share with us in the comments!

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By
Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a developer currently focusing on mobile and web development. He is currently a sophomore at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

  • http://www.crazyblogger.info crazyblogger

    I was tired of looking at the same start button over and over again. Now I can change whatever I want. Great tip.

  • jebat
  • http://t3ck.com/ Steven

    Im not gonna lie, I’ve been looking on how to do this for sooo long, and now that I have Windows 7, I no longer need it haha. I WISH i saw this sooner because changing START to my name or something would have been SO cool!