How to Change the Name
of the Start Menu Button
Warning: I shall not be liable for any damages or injuries. Before you start, you should make a backup copy of explorer.exe, and know how to restore it.
1. Windows 9x
The name of the Start Menu button is in explorer.exe. Since Windows won't let you modify the file, you must make a copy of it, modify the copy, then boot into DOS and replace the original file with the modified version. Make sure you back up explorer.exe before you start.
Load the file into an hexadecimal editor, and search for the following hexadecimal bytes:
53 00 74 00 61 00 72 00 74 (= "Start"). You will find these bytes more than once, but you should only have to change the last occurrence.
Replace S, t, a, r, t with whatever you want, but leave the 00's in. If your new string is shorter than "Start", you can either overwrite the extra letters with blanks, or you can change the length byte. Just before the first byte (53) there is a 00 and before it a 05: this is the string's length. If the new string is "New" then this byte should be set to 03 -- this way the Start Menu button will not be longer than the string. The new string must not be longer than the original one, else Windows will not work.
Note: The icon is in user.exe
2. Windows XP
You can use the method described above if you want: In the US version of Windows XP Pro, the string is at 0EE36F (Classic-style button) and 0EE096 (XP-style button). But instead, we are going to use Resource Hacker (542KB).
2.1. Bypassing Windows File Protection
1. In Windows Explorer, click Tools, Folder Options, then View. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files and check Show hidden files and folders.
2. There is a file named filelist.xml in \windows\system32\Restore. Right click the file, then click Properties, and uncheck Read-only. Open filelist.xml in Notepad, and add the line shown in red below, then save the file and close Notepad.
3. In \windows\system32\dllcache, you will find a backup copy of explorer.exe. Rename it to explorer.bak.
2.2. Changing the name of the Start Menu button
2.3. Changing the icon of the Start Menu button
1. Run Resource Hacker, and open \windows\explorer.exe
2. Click String Table > 37 > 1033
3. Replace "start" with whatever you want ("hello", in the picture above)
4. Click the Compile Script button.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 for String table > 38 > 1033 (Classic-style button)
5. Save the file (File>Save). Hit Cancel then Yes when Windows File Protection pops up.
Note: If an error message pops up when saving the file, kill explorer.exe (Clt-Alt-Del > Processes > explorer.exe > End Process > File > New Task), repeat step 5 (save the file in Resource Hacker), and restart explorer.exe (Clt-Alt-Del > Processes > explorer.exe > End Process > File > New Task > explorer > OK).
1. Click Bitmap > 143 > 1033
2. Click Action > Replace bitmap > Open file with new bitmap (the new picture must be 25x20, and have 16 million colors).
3. Select a picture file, click Replace, then save (File>Save) your work. Hit Cancel then Yes when Windows File Protection pops up.
4. Close Resource Hacker
If you do not want to reboot to see your new button, kill then restart explorer.exe (Clt-Alt-Del > Processes > explorer.exe > End Process > File > New Task > explorer > OK)