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How to change Start button in Windows 7?

Written by: Oliver Krautscheid - Published: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Yep, if you are customizing your desktop, you probably also want to know how to change the Start button in Windows 7.
Well, it’s definitely not easy, but with a good Windows 7 Resource editor you can edit the explorer.exe and change your Start button!

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How to change Start Button in Windows 7

Because we’re going to change a system file, we’re first going to play around with a dummy file. Go to your Windows folder and copy the file “explorer.exe” and rename the copy “explorer2.exe”.

1. Step Download the Windows 7 Resource Editor.

2. Step Start the .exe file “ResHacker.exe

3. Step Press CTRL + O (or File -> Open) to open the explorer.exe. You will find it in your Windows folder (C:\Windows\)

4. Step Uncollapse the folder “Bitmap”. We are only going to change the files in folder “6801″, “6805″ and “6809″.

To change the Start button in Windows 7, we have to replace every Start button .bmp file.

5. Step Uncollapse “6801″, right-click on the entry “1033″ and click on “Replace Resource..”:

Replace Resource in Windows 7

6. Step Click on “Open file with new bitmap..”:

Open file with new bitmap

7. Step Browse to your Start button BMP files and select the file that you want. In my case it’s an updated Ubuntu Start button for Windows 7:

Open Start Button BMP Windows 7

8. Step Now the Start button BMP will be loaded and you can preview it. If that should be your Start button, click on “Replace”:

Start button Bitmap loaded

9. Step Repeat steps 5-8 for the folders “6805″ and “6809″!

10. Step Now save your file using the “Save as” command. “File” -> “Save as”.
Save your project as “new_explorer.exe”.

Wait! You should save the new_explorer.exe in your Windows folder C:\Windows or you will have to move it later.

Save Explorer.exe File

11. Next, we have to replace the explorer.exe in the Windows folder C:\Windows with our newly created new_explorer.exe

12. Open up the Windows Folder (Windows key + E and then double-click on Windows), take ownership of explorer.exe and give yourself permissions to edit the file. If you don’t know how to do that, follow out comprehensive guide that will teach you how to replace explorer.exe in Windows 7:

How to replace explorer.exe in Windows 7 .

Your new Start button could like mine now:

Change Start Button Windows 7

Of course we will be adding new Start buttons to our site, so that you have a nice collection of new Start buttons for Windows 7!

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Written by: Oliver Krautscheid
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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20 Responses to How to change Start button in Windows 7?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Geo said:

    Hmm…is there any photo editing software you used that allowed you to create your own image? I’ve tried making one with a Firefox logo as the orb but it doesn’t seem to work too well. All I have is Paint Shop Pro and I’m assuming that you used photoshop.

    Anyway, if you are taking requests for different orbs, would you be able to make one using the Firefox logo please? I know it’s not your favorite browser but the logo just seems perfect for a start orb. Thanks and thanks for posting this interesting guide.

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    devilingtz said:

    can u reupload the windows 7 resource editor??

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Get Free said:

    I don’t think it can be done before. Great!

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Splendid007 said:

    Hi guys!
    First of all i just wanted to say that this site is coolest and most awesome site for win7 themes.

    I’m having trouble downloading the “Windows 7 Resource editor”, it keeps saying:

    Home » 404 Not Found
    Site Not Found

    Ooops, I cannot find you the page you are looking for. You may try to search my site another keyword or use the navigation on your right to browse my site.

    PLEASE HELP ME!!!

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Splendid, I updated the post and the link is now working. Here you go:
    http://windows7themes.net/resource-editor-for-windows-7-freeware.html
    http://www.angusj.com/resourcehacker/

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Hardik said:

    Hii…sOliver

    I was doing d steps told by u…but when i right click on entry “1033″ it doesnt give an option for replace…it has only 2 options..1) save all resources 2) save bitmap resources….plz help me…

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Emil said:

    Hey! where can i download these buttons?

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Hardik, it’s 6033 not 1033.

    Emil, which buttons do you want to download? You will find free buttons at the bottom of this huge list:
    http://windows7themes.net/free-windows-7-themes

    If you want the Ubuntu buttons, I can create a bmp/explorer.exe for 64-bit and upload it.

  9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Lasse said:

    Hi there! I followed your guide and I’m familiar with ResHack and so on. The button changed nicely to the Ubuntu logo, BUT when i rebooted my computer, the ‘Welcome’-text took about 20-30 seconds longer than usual, and when I got inside and changed the height of my taskbar, explorer freezed and crashed. So now I’ve changed back to the original button.

    Btw my PC has Win7 Ultimate and is quite new, so that shouldent be the problem.

    -Just a quick response from me! ;-)

  10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    RODAN_2307 said:

    In fact, there is an easier way to change the start button almost without changing any system files. I’m saying about the program “Windows 7 Start Button Changer”. It works fine – you just choose a bitmap with three variants of start button and W7BC enables it by itself and saves the backup file of explorer.exe in the Windows folder. Works fine and it is absolutely free. Direct download link below:
    http://wa7.ru/files/w7sbc.zip

  11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    RODAN_2307 said:

    P.S. If you see an error after chaging your start button, than you must get full access to the file “explorer.exe” (you can do it in the “Propetries” of the file).

  12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Hi RODAN, yes the Start Button Changer is a nice app to change the Start Orbs. However, I would still recommend to do it manually instead of relying on a tool that not always works.

    I simply like to know what is happening in the background, you know what I’m saying?

  13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    RODAN_2307 said:

    Yes, I understand you. Who knows, (seriously) maybe this program will change some other system files or even corrupt your system – who knows? It is always better when you actually know what happens to your important system files.

  14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    namcv3299 said:

    win7 the start buttom was changed,how to restore ?

  15. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Samantha said:

    Im at step 5 and when i right click on ’1033′ it does not say “Replace Resource..” did i miss something?

  16. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    matzis said:

    Hello,
    I have a problem in replacing the path from explorer.exe to new_explorer.exe…i have made all the methods which are swown in this site (http://windows7themes.net/how-to-replace-explorer-exe-in-windows-7.html) but i still can’t make it… In the third method is said tha you have to active the administrator user… So i tried to activate the administrator but when i logon i can see only my own user… No one with the name “administrator”…Please help me :) I hope you understand my english because i am from Greece :) Thank you

  17. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    tony said:

    You should probably have finished the entire tutorial. AFter replacing the explorer.exe with the one you just edited, open up task manager, click on the processes tab, find explorer.exe in the list, right click on it, choose end process. Then click File, New Task, and type explorer in the dialog box. That restarts explorer and will show the button without having to restart Windows. It took me a minute to figure out why it wasn’t showing up at first.

  18. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    David Slagh said:

    when I right-click on the “1033″ and replacing resource, I only get an option to save the resource. Even after saving it, I still only get the option to save it. I did try running Resource Editor as an administrator, that didn’t work. Help!!

  19. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    matt said:

    I can change my start button but what i really want to do is change the appearance of my taskbar, i downloaded a free Hud theme and it changed everything except the start button and the look of the taskbar, i like the look of Hud themes, i searched all over the interner and cant figure out how to make my taskbar and start button and menu to look like the Hud theme? Any advice?

  20. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Oliver Krautscheid said:

    Hey matt, we have a bunch of nice shell themes that modify the taskbar on our site,
    you can start browsing here
    http://windows7themes.net/category/windows7-themes/custom-themes

    Simply browse some of the themes and read our guides on the subject

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