Start Menu Customization

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Start Menu Customization

Postby B-Con » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:14 pm

Start Menu Customization

NOTE: I didn't figure this out for myself, I read a couple tuts on it somewhere a while back but forgot were where they were, so I reproduced these steps from memory a while later. Plus it's not really a very complecated process and I'm sure dozens of people have figured it out for themselves.

NOTE 2: This is not some uber 1337 tutorial on how to pwn Windows. It's a very simple process for you to use for your own amusement. I changed it on my computer just because I was sick of looking at "start"....


Everyone except the primitive inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest know what the "Start menu" is. It's Microsoft's sad excuse for name for their main control menu in Windows. But with little effort you can change the Start menu to say anything you want it to, and do the same for other text values you see in other places. It doesn't require any programing or mad skillz, just the ability to follow directions. I know this works for NT-based operating systems, but I don't know about anything before that. Lemme know if Windows 9x-based does/doesn't support this.


1) Download the program ResHack and unzip it.

2) Go to the C:\Windows directory and copy "explorer.exe" to your desktop.

3) Copy your copy of Explorer, and rename this one "explorer.bak", you'll keep this one as backup, so you can throw it in your archives or something.

4) Open the "ResHacker.exe" file that you downloaded and select File >> Open, find and select your copy of Explorer.
5) Go under "String Table" in the menu and find #37, then click on the "1033" option that appears. Then in the panel on the right side, find where it says "start", change "start" that to whatever the heck you feel like putting there, this is what will appear on the "Start" menu in "start"'s place.

6) Once your done, click "Compile Script" then go under File >> Save, then exit the program.

7) Move your copy of Explorer to the root of your drive (usually C:\).

8 ) Now turn off your computer and restart it.
WINDOWS NT-BASED: As it's booting up press the "F8" key repeatadly right before Windows starts to load. When the menu comes up, select "Start Windows in Safe Mode" with the command line option.
WINDOWS 9X-BASED: Shutdown your computer with the "Reboot in MS-DOS mode" option.

9) When Windows is finished booting, type: "copy c:\explorer.exe c:\windows", (without the quotes) at the command prompt, then enter "y" when it asks if you're sure you want to replace "explorer.exe". Then type "exit" and hit ctrl+alt+del and reboot the computer.

10) You're done! When you boot up, you should see your change to the former "Start" menu. It's now the (fill-in-the-blank) menu, and be sure to always refer to it by it's new name when talking to friends so that they have no clue what the heck you're talking about and assume it must be some advanced control panel you've unlocked ;) .


You can also adjust other text values that you see displayed with ResHacker, just find a string you recognize and replace it, all the other steps are the same. Under "String Table", the following values may be of specific interest:

34 -> 1033 -> 533 -- You can change the pop-up box that appears when you hover over the "Start" menu.

439 -> 1033 -> 7012 -- You can change the text for "Log Off" and "Turn Off Computer" in the Start Menu.


--> This tutorial is also availible on my site.
Last edited by B-Con on Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:40 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Net Battle Bot » Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:19 am

Nice. Now it says "Menu" =D

I went through all the options but couldn't help noticing that the entire explorer was not changeable. I read a while back that it is possible to hex edit explorer as well to make these changes, but the new name must be the same length as the old one in order to prevent the whole program getting itself lost. Do you know of another program that would change anything I want? I'm talking about things like renaming "My Network Places" (although I know you dont need to edit explorer for that, it's just an example) or perhaps changing the "File" menu to something else.
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Postby B-Con » Tue Oct 26, 2004 3:17 pm

the new name must be the same length as the old one in order to prevent the whole program getting itself lost
Are you sure about that?

I'm not sure about File and the like, those may be buried in Explorer somewhere.... but I ever find anything on it I'lll post it....
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Postby Lonelythug » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:44 pm

My says "Brian" thanks B-Con :D

Edit - B-Con is your site down right now? because when i click on the link you gave i wasn't getting anything and i had to google search reshack it said "your site could not be found".
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Postby B-Con » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:52 pm

yeah, having some server probs at the moment ;)
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Postby B-Con » Fri Nov 05, 2004 2:49 am

BTW: I just tried on a Win98 machine, and it works there also..... updating tut....
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Postby theredplanet » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:17 am

Cheers for that :) read a similar tut that didnt quite work lol yours is nice and clear
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Postby ConfidentiaL » Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:34 pm

Is it possible to change the buttons "Turn off computer..." and "Log out" ?
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Postby Rodrigo.Toste.Gomes » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:33 pm

Please read the stickies ... don't bring back threads to life, create a new one instead ... I think it was because of doing that, that "thredplanet" was banned ... at least you bring a question ...
Is it possible to change the buttons "Turn off computer..." and "Log out" ?
Probably yes, if you just look through the explorer.exe file; if you want to be sure of what you can change, just stop the running process "explorer.exe" and see what stays missing, "most" of it is what you can customize editing the file ...
Last edited by Rodrigo.Toste.Gomes on Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sukki » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:44 pm

Is it possible to change the buttons "Turn off computer..." and "Log out" ?
Yes, just follow the tutorial, but the string locations in resource hacker
are (on XP):

46 -> 730 and 731 (oops wrong one :)..)


s

[edit]
439 -> 1033 -> 7012
[/edit]
Last edited by sukki on Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby B-Con » Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:25 am

Thanks sukki, I added that tidbit to the tut.
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Postby ConfidentiaL » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:14 am

I changed the names with that ResHack, but the names on the start menu is still showing the same old "Turn off computer" and "Log out" buttons.
I got the "start" button to change tho.
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Postby sukki » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:02 am

Yeah, your right, I should of checked first (just felt like I was going over old ground).

If you open explorer up in a hex editor there's about 5 &Log offs, one of them definately changes it, cus my explorer is now littered with Bog Off
and it has changed the start menu one.

s
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Postby DVS3651 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:30 pm

thanks :-p
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Change start menu by Hex Editor

Postby ghostshadow189 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:20 am

Seems that you care about this . It's my guide for you :
1. Backup explorer.exe in another folder

2. Open explorer.exe with Hex Editor

3. Use the search function in the hex editor to find all the strings equal to "S t a r t" which is represented as "53 00 74 00 61 00 72 00 74" in hex values. As there are many different "Start" strings keep searching until you find one located just before this text "There was an internal error and one of the windows you were using has been closed."

4. Once you have located the string, you can then replace the letters in "Start" with five other characters. You must use exactly five characters, if the word you want to use is less, replace the remaining characters with the space key .

5. Now save the file in the Windows directory with a different file name, for example "explorer.new". You can't save it as "Explorer.exe" as that file is currently in use and can't be overwritten. Confirm that you have the two Explorer files in the Windows directory, they both should be the same file size but have different modified dates.

6. The next step is different depending on your operating system. Only do the step required for your version.

Windows 95, 98 & ME
Exit to DOS (or use a boot disk for Windows ME) and at the command prompt change to the Windows directory and rename "explorer.exe" to "explorer.old". Then copy the newly modified Explorer "explorer.new" to "explorer.exe". Do a directory listing and confirm that "explorer.exe" has the most recent modified date and time. Restart the computer and Windows should reload along with the new Start button text.

Windows NT/2000
Windows 2000 users may need to firstly disable Windows file protection to stop Windows from replacing the modified file with the original. First close any open applications and open a new Command Prompt window, then switch back to the GUI and open the Task Manager. Find the "explorer.exe" process and end it, you should now be left with only the command prompt and task manager. Switch back to the command prompt and change to the Windows directory, rename "explorer.exe" to "explorer.old", and copy the newly modified Explorer "explorer.new" to "explorer.exe". Do a directory listing and confirm that "explorer.exe" has the most recent modified date and time. Switch back to Task Manager and launch a "New Task" called "explorer.exe" this should reload the shell along with your modified "Start" button.

7.If everything has gone successfully you will now have a new Start button, and also hopefully learnt something about the Explorer file structure. If you do have problems replace the faulty Explorer with the backup made during the first step.

Good luck to you :D
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Disable Windows File Protection

Postby ghostshadow189 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:27 am

Note : To Disable Windows File Protection
Change this in Regedit :
- Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
- Name: SFCDisable
- Value: 0 = enabled (default), 0xffffff9d = disabled
- Another value :
"1" for disabled, prompt at boot to re-enable
"2" for disabled at next boot only, no prompt to re-enable
"4" for enabled, with popups disabled
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Postby yerbestfrend12 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:11 pm

i think i saw this on"screensavers" once.
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Postby pwnage97 » Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:03 am

Do you know of another program that would change anything I want? I'm talking about things like renaming "My Network Places"
well explorer has a LOT less then you'd think. most dialogs and such are stored in different files. the biggest stash is in "shell32.dll". ill give you the basics for editing it. (tho, I'm not the greatest at toturials, or spelling)

Note: i'm expecting here that windows file protection is OFF. theres a post about that right above this one.

WARNING!BACK-UP THE FILE BEFORE EDITING IT!!! Windows automaticly makes a few back-ups but come on, do u REALLY trust windows?

Open up Rezeditor, go to file -> open. Type in "%WINDIR%\system32\shell32.dll" without the quotes.

Theres an INSANE ammount of data here. From icons to animations to dialogs to strings. Theres too much to list here so just simply explore! If you want to learn how to replace icons and such then check on the net. I don't have the time to write a tutorial on that too. It's not hard, you can probably figure it out yourself.




Also! there is another way to replace explorer.exe that doesn't require turning off file protection or even restarting! (I had HUGE problems with windows file protection when i tried doing this the first time)

Note: This invoves registry editing, so don't screw up!

0. I'll use my Eat Me (start) button as an example.

1. After you've moded your explorer.exe save it with a different name in the same directory (eg: EatExplorer.exe)

2. Go to Eat Me -> Run (or WinKey + R) and type: Regedit

3. Browse your way to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Find a key called "Shell" it should have a value of "explorer.exe"

4. Change the value to whatever you saved your file as (eg: EatExplorer.exe)

5. Almost done, now we just have to load the new shell. The easiest way is to just restart. (or re-login i think also works)
If you know how to kill the explorer process and then load up the new 1 with task manager then you can do so. If you're not sure it's better to just restart.

6. If everything went as planned then you should now have replaced the evil start button! This is how i first changed my start menu a REALLY long time ago, so this isn't my discovery, i just reproduced it.
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Postby Eddik » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:22 am

you know you can do a lotta customization with TweakUI
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Re: Start Menu Customization

Postby SSID KID » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:06 am

(n00b)

In c:\WINDOWS, is my explorer.exe file the Explorer application? with the same icon to My Computer?
because i don't have an explorer.exe file in my c drive lol.



i've tried the first step with reshacker, and the last step with changing the Shell value to my modded explorer file,
but still no luck.

and i think it might be because i'm trying to mod the explorer app file o.O
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