Introduction: How to Make EXE Buttons in Windows

Earlier I made an instructable about my Touch screen smart coffee table. The windows home screen had custom buttons used to turn on my tv, stereo, and house lights. Using the program Eventghost, it can monitor and trigger many different programs and devices using triggers and events. Here is a tutorial on how I made my buttons.

Programs to download:

Resource Hacker

Bat To Exe Converter

Eventghost

Step 1: Making a Do Nothing EXE File

First you create a txt file by right clicking on the desktop and selecting New then Text Document.

Name the file whatever you like and then open it. Once opened, type a single line

@echo off

Then save the file as what name you would like your exe file but save it with a .bat extenstion so for example

test.bat

Then run the program Bat to Exe Converter. Drag the bat file to the Batch file: box at the top. It should automatically fill in the save as box. You can change the file name if you like or keep it the same.

Leave all the settings to default hit the Compile button. It should create an .exe file on your desktop.

Double click it and it should open a window then close it immediately.

Step 2: Create a Custom Icon

Go online and download or create a custom Icon for your exe. You can create custom Icons online at

http://icoconvert.com/

Upload an image you would like to use under 10MB then go to the bottom of the page and click convert ICO. once created it will give you a link to download your ICO file. Remember where you saved the file.

Now if you haven't yet, install Resource Hacker. Once installed, right click on the exe file you created earlier. Select open using Resource Hacker.

Click on the Add Binary resource button with the flower and plus symbol. Then click on select file. Select the file location where you saved your ICO file and select it. If you selected the proper type of file it will change the Resource Type box to ICONGROUP. Click Add Resource.

You will see your icon appear in the small window on the right. Click save and it will update your exe file and will create a copy of your exe and add the name _original.exe

Now you should have an exe file with a custom icon.

Step 3: Pinning to Start Menu

This is simple enough. Just right click on the exe file and click on Pin to Start. It will appear in your start menu and you can drag it into place or resize it by right clicking on it in the menu.

Step 4: Tiggering Events in EventGhost

If you haven't yet, install EventGhost. Once installed and opened you will see a configuration tree on the right side. Under Autostart you should see the Plugin:Task Create/Switch Events. If it is not in the menu, load it by clicking on the blue puzzle piece with the green plus symbol. Select the folder that says other and click on the Task Create/Switch Events plugin, then click Ok.

This will enable EventGhost to monitor programs when they are opened or switched to. From there you can use the events in the log on the left to trigger events.

To create an event, click on the orange gear with the green plus. Select the macro you would like to activate in one of the folders. In the example I posted, I started the application Kodi. You can use it to trigger windows functions, sounds, power options and many other things. Once you click ok and configure the action, select the logged event in the left window and drag it over to the configuration tree under your macro. If you do not see the logged event, run your custom exe file and it will create a log item. Select either the Task.Created.(filename) item or the Task.Activated.(filename) item. They both happen at slightly different times, so depending on when you would like the event to trigger you would select the appropriate one. You can learn a lot with this program by just playing with it and experimenting. Its functions are pretty much limited by your own imagination.

You can also trigger IR remote control functions by buying a USB-UIRT. Make sure to update the driver in the windows device manager. Once it is loaded, add the plugin in EventGhost to the configuration tree. Then add the macro by clicking on the orange gear. It will show you a black box for an IR Code. If you click on Learn code, you can point your IR remote at the USB-UIRT and press the button you would like to teach EventGhost. Repeat this function for each button you would like to teach by adding actions by clicking on the gray camera with the green plus and adding USB-UIRT actions.

If you have a Micasa Verde that controls Zwave devices like lights and appliances, you can find the plugin for it here and copy that to your EventGhost plugins folder.

https://github.com/naething/vera-eventghost/

From there you can set up the Vera plugin just like the USB-UIRT.

I have attached a small sample XML of my setup. You can load it into Eventghost and see my Configuration tree setup. Or use it as a starting point and changes the settings to your own configuration.

Thanks for taking the time to view my setup. I will try my best to answer any questions. I hope this helps.

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