Introduction: Change the Start Button in Windows XP

Picture of Change the Start Button in Windows XP

In this step-by-step guide, you'll be able to change the text in your start button to whatever you'd like!

Step 1: Begin

Disclaimer: I am not liable for any damage done to your computer system at all. This process is a registry hack, and if you mess up royally and do not back up your system properly, you could ruin your system. That said, this is incredibly simple to do considering I am only a teenager.

Start by backing up your entire computer, if you haven't done so already. (Just in case)

Step 2: Download the Program

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to do this mod, you will have to download Resource Hacker, a freeware program that lets us manipulate the Windows registry.

go to and then download the europe version.

Step 3: Use Resource Hacker!

Picture of Use Resource Hacker!

Now you will open up Resource Hacker. Go to File>Open>explorer.

Step 4: Change the Start Text.

Picture of Change the Start Text.

Now that you are in explorer, on the left go into

String Table>37, and then click on 1003.
Select "start", or number 578, and change start to whatever you want. It can contain any number, letter, or other operation.

After you are done that, click compile script, and then SAVE AS (not save) as explorer1.exe

Step 5: Time to Get Dirty

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Now this might get a lil confusing, so i'll number the steps.
1. Go into your start menu, and hit run
2. enter regedit and then open.
3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\ Winlogon, and select winlogon
4. Hold down ctrl+alt+delete, go into processes, select explorer.exe, and then end process. ( now your screen will go blank except for resource hacker, and your ctrl alt delete box)
5. Back to the registry.... scroll down and then double click on shell. Change explorer.exe to explorer1.exe
6. reboot with the ctrl+alt+delete box and you're good to go!


bauerbach (author)2014-05-02

How do you do this in later versions?

88473255 (author)2013-07-29

Just pointing out that, before replacing explorer.exe in the Registry Editor, you should close explorer.exe and open explorer1.exe. Test it out. If it works, do the registry junk. If it doesn't, DON'T DO IT.

yitzhak007 (author)2009-06-13

1. Download Resource Hacker (just google it) 2. Open these 3 programs and make sure their not minimized or blocking each other completely. You'll see why. a)regedit b)task manager (contro+alt+delete) c)resource hacker 3. Run Resource hacker and open "explorer.exe" file in your windows dir. 4. Open "String Table", then "37", then click on '1033" 5. Now, Edit the value from "start" to whatever you want. NOTE: APOSTRAPHE'S don't work, !? & . do. 6. Click on "Compile Script" 7. Save as: Explorer1.exe 8. DON'T CLOSE ANY OF THOSE PROGRAMS. YOU MAY SCREW UP. WE MIGHT NEED TO UNDO. 9. IN RegEdit, go to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\ Winlogon 10. Scroll down on right side and open this string value: "Shell" 11. Under "Value Data", change from "explorer.exe" to explorer1.exe (or the file you just saved). This last step is CRITICAL. Otherwise, Bill Gate's baby can't find her start menu! If you like the result, just leave it alone. Your new file is identical to the worries, mate!

Danial Zaib (author)yitzhak0072013-06-07

please help star name clean and did not apear please help me.i am bisiness man

Sheekeeye (author)2011-12-08

This is not work 4 me, Am using winXP P3. I test many Times on WinXP P2, and it didnt work. But Its only work for WinXP P2, it was successfully changed my Start Botton.

If any one help me with P3, I would like to thankz Alot.

Thankz you guys.

Danial Zaib (author)Sheekeeye2013-06-07

how you change your start name.will you press ALT+CTRL+DELETED then you end process start name.then you star new name?
I have Code 2.My start name clean and my document apear why? please give ans Iam Bisiness man

Danial Zaib (author)2013-06-07

i am danial.i am live in pakistan,panjab,farooa.i have install window xp. i am change the star name but start name clean and my document apear what happen please give me ans i am bisiness man

7331 (author)2012-05-29


Sheekeeye (author)2011-12-08

I tested but it didnt work on WinXP Package 3. It works only P2.

If you could help, i would to thankz indeed.

Best wishes.

TheExplodingTacoz (author)2011-07-15

CRAP! Didnt back up computer. wont restart! ****! ***! @!#$!

Pixel_Master (author)2010-07-31

I just did this to change a different part of the explorer, and it works great! great instructions!

f86sabre (author)2009-08-25

there is no need to reboot, just go to the applications tab and hit new task and enter explorer1. that is it one suggestion, change the start menu icon to be different

cheesefetty (author)2009-07-06

how do u do it if you have WinWar

DannyboyINXS (author)2007-12-29

man, thats quite a cool little trick. I haven't actually tried it yet because i don't actually feel like backing up my computer (I've learnt to get bored of this task through the many times i've had to reformat my hard drives), but using logic, couldn't you just "temporarily" do this by stopping the explorer process, and just loading up the new "explorer1" process? just out of curiosity, because i would actually rather do it without going into the registry while also having the opportunity to change it back to what it was originally may sound a bit stupid coming from a person who's never tried this but it's worth knowing before trying it. great Instructable though mate :)

yitzhak007 (author)DannyboyINXS2009-06-13

No need to reboot. Just point the "shell" value to the new file u just hacked. want to change it back? Just run regedit again and change that value back to "explorer.exe" (no quotation marks, please. simple. ; )

Yes you can, thats how i do it.

killer towels (author)2009-04-20

i cant find "explorer". help D:

Darkshot (author)2007-10-09


peach_fart (author)Darkshot2008-12-29

relax, you can get the start menu by pressing the button with the windows logo on your keyboard.

davidprosser (author)2008-12-15

can I change the logo on the vista start menu?

Derin (author)2008-09-21

is there a way to do it w/o any software?

weaselman50 (author)2007-07-31

you need to fix the link to the download page remove the comma

ladiesman247 (author)weaselman502008-06-16

NO HE DOESNT!!!!!!!!!!! THE LINK IS FINE!!!!!!!!!!

weaselman50 (author)ladiesman2472008-06-16

Jul 31, 2007. 1:30 AM - Jun 16, 2008. 12:37 PM Theres a huge difference in time. The link was messed up one year ago.

locofocos (author)2008-04-22

I believe this works, as I've seen it in different places. I got the program, edited the right values, compiled it, then saved it as explorer1.exe . I didn't exactly want to have my comp start up with a bad copy of explorer, so I closed explorer in task manager then started explorer1.exe. A window with my computer came up, but no start menu or desktop. any help?

podginater (author)2008-04-07

I like it. I'm a teenager aswell and it is simple to do this type of thing. LOL

Another good program with a few more editing features is:
Resource Editor
Download it here

zomfibame (author)2008-04-05

yo, I know that it really don't take much to amuse me, but i just did this, and it worked, and this is great. this lil' trick is off the chain. thanks for sharing it.

goddarchfiend (author)2008-02-03

sori it works!!!!!! the hell!!!! i'm amaze!!!! any1 knows how to change the startup wallpaper?? and can i change the color of the start button?? how??? thanks!!!!

yes i do, its so simple. There's this wonderful program called Tuneup Utilities 2008(a new one is released each year). Google "Tuneup Utilities 2008" and download it, then go through all of its features, at the bottom on the left hand side it has "Customise Windows" go into that. go into tuneup styler then on the left hand side at the very bottom go through everything in Interface. You can customise your theme, loading screen and logon screen. Good luck. If you don't understand pst me and ill post an Instructable

Jran Sakarra (author)2008-02-26

This has got to be one of the coolest tricks you can do. I think I am gonna do this to my computer savvy friend to see if he can undo it.

goddarchfiend (author)2008-02-03

big f*uck it doesnt work to my pc!!!! i really try it for 10x!!!

FunkyTim (author)2007-12-05

Works like a dream. Now the simple phrase "obey" is inscribed upon my glorious button.

bumpus (author)2007-09-23

i cant find "shell" help me sombody

TheDarkNinja (author)2007-08-07

Hmm, I keep getting an error "Cannot locate Ordinal 512 in file shell32.dll" I'm a computer programmer, and this one has me stumped. I doubt the PC I'm using it on is SP2, but it should not matter. I thought it was what I had typed for the name, but when I just opened it, compiled and then save as explorer1.exe (with no changes), C+A+D Term Explorer and launch Explorer1 I kept getting the error. Very interesting... any ideas?

jackrackam (author)2007-07-31

I'm using XP Service Pack 2 and it works just fine for me. I found that a quicker way is instead of restarting your computer after the reg change, just CTRL+ALT+DEL and go to New Task (Run), then type in "Explorer1.exe" and you can go back to buisssness!

John Smith (author)2007-07-05

I'd do this, but don't want to mess up my computer. How about "click me" for a start title?

natural_orange (author)2007-07-03

Windows doesn't like it when you change important system files so it often automatically reverts to a saved file. You have to disable this feature first.

duct tape (author)2007-06-26

I did this the manual way a while back. You open up explore.exe in window's built in editor, edit, and change 'start' to whatever, then you have to change it in the registry. When the guy that helps keep our comps running nicely came over to look at our computers, he found it and thought it was funny.

iCanshowyouhow (author)2007-02-26

I forgot one thing. You must type something in the new start bar name. Even if you just put in a period or one of those swirle(~)things. If you don't, the string value will not recognize it, causeing your Shell to shut down do to no data. I did this also, trying to make it look like Vista with the Zune tool bar and I had to reset the Shell string value. JUST BE CAREFUL!

alfonso (author)iCanshowyouhow2007-06-11

If you don't want there to be any text in the start bar then don't use space, you can use alt+0160 inside of the quotes. It will look like a space, but its not.

wan (author)2007-05-28

i only crashed my computer once! (i got it finally) but 2 things changed. 1) i hav dial-up, and when i pressed connect before, i would get a folder, the same in windows explorer as my icon when it was minimized. Now i get a computer. 2) SEARCH DOES NOT WORK!!!! ne suggestios would b great... i changed everything itz soo cool, but how can i change the button itself? i changed the text, but don;t like the green.

THE_GEEK2007 (author)2007-05-05

You can also change the boring "click to begin" message with Resource Hacker. I will give you an update soon.

Here is the link to the instructable.

Bad Donut (author)2007-04-22

But BEWARE! XP service pack 2 computers crash BIG TIME when you do this (yup, i tried it). just wanted to warn you guys :).

THE_GEEK2007 (author)Bad Donut2007-05-05

Not with me. I am running sp2 and I have had my laptop for 2 years and it has never crashed. BTW, my start button says Do Not Touch!

Bad Donut (author)THE_GEEK20072007-05-15

Wow. My lappy went crazy. Probably because i actually changed explorer.exe and moved the origanal. I litterally spent forever trying to fix it. My friends dad (microsoft worker) finally found the problem.

jkiym (author)2007-03-31

i can only get this to work if i'm using the windows xp desktop theme. does anyone know how to do it with a different theme?

iCanshowyouhow (author)2007-02-26

Ok, now I played around with this hack for about 20 minutes, to half an hour (most of the time thinking of what to change the start button to, so I picked Fart) anyways, you do not need to end the explorer. It will change just fine. Second, you do not need to back up your computer. If you type in a bad command in the Registry and you only see your wallpaper, don't worry. Just hit your Ctrl+Alt+Delete, then New Task and in your New Task bar, type in regedit. It will take you right back to where you were. Then just type into the shell's string value, "Explorer.exe"(obviously without quotation marks), then close out of the editor and either hit the restart button on the computer itself, or just go into the task manager and hit shut down at the top and then restart. If you did exactly this, you should just revert back to the original Shell settings, making your computer oakee doakee. USE THESE INSTRUCTIONS!!! I have done it several times with messing up the Shell string value and have been able to bring my computer back from the "Dead" as you will, without losing any data at all!

Forgot one tiny detail: SAVE AS your new explorer string to something else, so that you do have the original and can quickly revert.

crestind (author)2006-12-31

This is a cool trick! But I'm worried this might mess up my PC. Any known problems?

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