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Jimmy422

[Tutorial] Changing the start button image

32 posts in this topic

So you don't like the default start button, and you want to change it. In previous versions of Windows, this was very hard to do and it was kinda pointless. In Windows 7, it's easier and more awesome to do.

First thing you'll need is a resource editor. If you're on 32bit Windows 7 - you can use pretty much anything. Resource hacker is a good tool. If you're on 64bit, well, it's a little harder. There are no free 64bit supporting resource editors out there. None. Nada. You can't use a 32bit resource editor on a 64bit resource either :( . So you'll have to somehow obtain one, the only one I know of that works is Restorator 2007.

Second thing you'll need is a graphics editor. Gimp, Paint.NET, Photoshop, all of them work.

Alright, so to start, we'll use this template:

zyhuzd.png

Open this up in Photoshop or whatever and start editing. This is your standard template.

A = The start button without your mouse over it.

B = The start button with your mouse over it (Will fade from A to this)

C = The start button clicked on and the start menu open.

You can even make the circles a square, just make sure you stay within 27px from the center of the circle, as that is your boundry. Note that black = transparency.

Here's the finished product for one I made earlier:

220xti.jpg

Now, open up your resource editor. Copy explorer.exe to the desktop, and open that with your resource editor.

In the "Bitmap" section, you'll want to replace 1 of 2 things. Either bitmap 6801, or 6805. 6801 is for the taskbar with "Use Small Icons", and 6805 is for the normal taskbar. The other bitmaps are for different DPIs, but we're not going to go into that. You can replace both 6801 and 6805 if you like.

Take ownership of the original explorer.exe, rename it to explorer.bak, and replace it with the new modded one. Restart explorer, and viola.

4i0j2a.png

10ztrhy.png

I'll go into detail about taking ownership and stuff tomorrow, just wanted to get this out there now.

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Good job....could you upload a proper bitmap of your start button?

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6805.bmp

Square :laugh:

can you post any screenshots of what the taskbar looks like with square start button? i'd love to change it to square from the round one..

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Doesn't work, so i didn't mention it.

Oops, I guess I should have tried it first... (someday it might work.)

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Tried it with Restorator 2007/2009 and it works fine on my 64 bit copy. Tried replacing bitmap 6801 but it still showed the default icon using small icons. 6805 worked fine for the large icons though. I'll wait to see what others come up with as I'm too lazy to make my own.

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Doesn't work, so i didn't mention it.

Could you upload a bitmap of your start button, the jpeg is pretty bad looking when I tried it.

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Could you upload a bitmap of your start button, the jpeg is pretty bad looking when I tried it.

Sure.

6805_copy.bmp

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Having some trouble with a black square box showing up on hover, anybody know how to get rid of this bug?

post-2016-1251714089.jpg

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-KJ that app doesn't seem to work with Windows 7 64-bit.

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Really? Sorry I didn't try before I mentioned it. I tried it on Vista x64 and I think it worked, but I don't really remember as I tried it out for fun. I just thought it would work on Win7 as Win7 is mentioned in the description.

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Having some trouble with a black square box showing up on hover, anybody know how to get rid of this bug?

post-2016-1251714089.jpg

That's another thing I forgot to mention - you need an alpha channel for your bmp. I don't really know how to make a proper one, so I just use the original 6805.bmp's.

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That's another thing I forgot to mention - you need an alpha channel for your bmp. I don't really know how to make a proper one, so I just use the original 6805.bmp's.

I am just jumping in not knowing how this particular one works in this case but knowing how other alpha channels work, and basically you just want whatever you want to be seen as white and whatever you do not what to be seen as black. So if you had a square that was smaller than your given space, in the alpha channel the square would be white, the outer area would be black.

That is the simplest of alpha channels, could be it is much more complex than that, but for basics thats all it is. A mask more or less.

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That's another thing I forgot to mention - you need an alpha channel for your bmp. I don't really know how to make a proper one, so I just use the original 6805.bmp's.

Instructions:

1. Be sure the alpha channel is showing:

post-2016-1251788806_thumb.png

2. Be sure to save the bitmap with the alpha channel box checked:

post-2016-1251788874_thumb.png

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Doesn't work, so i didn't mention it.

Hey there; I'm the guy who wrote Resourcer. I was just ego-surfing and I found this thread and I'm sorry to hear it isn't working for you. What problems are you experiencing?

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Hey there; I'm the guy who wrote Resourcer. I was just ego-surfing and I found this thread and I'm sorry to hear it isn't working for you. What problems are you experiencing?

1. With Windows 7 64-bit version it would not actually change a bitmap even though it appeared to after saving.

2. Can't drag and drop a bitmap to replace it. It pops open a dialog and then you need to click the browse button.

3. What's with all the 1033?

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1. With Windows 7 64-bit version it would not actually change a bitmap even though it appeared to after saving.

Try the latest release, 0.9, which I posted last night, I added in some code that works with the new "RC CONFIG" rules in Windows that stop resource changes being applied to non-MUI files (like explorer.exe). You can download it by clicking "Check for Updates" on the options page.

2. Can't drag and drop a bitmap to replace it. It pops open a dialog and then you need to click the browse button.

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like I forgot to finish writing that bit. Sorry about that.

3. What's with all the 1033?

Resources are grouped by type, then for each resource name there may exist different versions for different languages. 1033 is the LCID (Locale ID) for "English (United States)". If you open up the same Windows files from say... the Traditional Chinese language version of Windows most of the resources will be under 3076 (the LCID for "Chinese (Hong-Kong)").

0.9 makes the UI slightly tidier by no-longer expanding tree nodes if they only contain one language resource.

...unless you're talking about the files saved by the Batch Export process? "-1033" is appended to the end because it's the resource's LCID (as I said) but I'll add an option to use "short names" where it's unambiguous.

As an aside note, I tried following the steps in this thread to modify the start menu in a Win7 instance I have in a VM. I can replace the bitmaps perfectly fine, but after replacing explorer.exe it no-longer loads (logging in and out or restarting just gives me a blank desktop. Starting explorer from Task Manager doesn't work). I'm using Win7 x64 Build 7264. I'm still investigating.

Edited by W3bbo

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Try the latest release, 0.9, which I posted last night, I added in some code that works with the new "RC CONFIG" rules in Windows that stop resource changes being applied to non-MUI files (like explorer.exe). You can download it by clicking "Check for Updates" on the options page.

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like I forgot to finish writing that bit. Sorry about that.

Resources are grouped by type, then for each resource name there may exist different versions for different languages. 1033 is the LCID (Locale ID) for "English (United States)". If you open up the same Windows files from say... the Traditional Chinese language version of Windows most of the resources will be under 3076 (the LCID for "Chinese (Hong-Kong)").

0.9 makes the UI slightly tidier by no-longer expanding tree nodes if they only contain one language resource.

...unless you're talking about the files saved by the Batch Export process? "-1033" is appended to the end because it's the resource's LCID (as I said) but I'll add an option to use "short names" where it's unambiguous.

As an aside note, I tried following the steps in this thread to modify the start menu in a Win7 instance I have in a VM. I can replace the bitmaps perfectly fine, but after replacing explorer.exe it no-longer loads (logging in and out or restarting just gives me a blank desktop. Starting explorer from Task Manager doesn't work). I'm using Win7 x64 Build 7264. I'm still investigating.

1. New version appears to work now in Windows 7 64-bit RC.

2. Drag and Drop is just a bit easier to get things done instead of hunting for things after hitting the browse button.

3. The 1033 was not a big deal but thanks for the explanation.

Last but not least:

1. Rename explorer.exe to explorer.exe.bak

2. copy new explorer.exe in

3. Open task manager and kill explorer.exe with the most memory, there may be several running.

4. WAIT 2-5 minutes

5. start new explorer.exe

If you try to start the new explorer.exe to soon it causes problems. :laugh:

post-2016-1251981920.jpg

New one....uploaded a highly compressed version since I didn't make the originals sevens. Also not sure I want to use black as the third one.

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1. New version appears to work now in Windows 7 64-bit RC.

2. Drag and Drop is just a bit easier to get things done instead of hunting for things after hitting the browse button.

3. The 1033 was not a big deal but thanks for the explanation.

Last but not least:

1. Rename explorer.exe to explorer.exe.bak

2. copy new explorer.exe in

3. Open task manager and kill explorer.exe with the most memory, there may be several running.

4. WAIT 2-5 minutes

5. start new explorer.exe

If you try to start the new explorer.exe to soon it causes problems. :laugh:

post-2016-1251981920.jpg

New one....uploaded a highly compressed version since I didn't make the originals sevens. Also not sure I want to use black as the third one.

I kill it and start it within the same few milliseconds. Have yet to have a problem.

And Jimmy I love how I get no credit. I mean after all you spent a month or so trying to figure it out until I helped.

Also if anyone needs the map:

C:\Windows\Explorer.exe > BITMAP | C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Explorer.exe > BITMAP

6801: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 96DPI

6802: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 120DPI

6803: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 144DPI

6804: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 196DPI

6805: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 96DPI

6806: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 120DPI

6807: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 144DPI

6808: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 196DPI

6809: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 96DPI

6810: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 120DPI

6811: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 144DPI

6812: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 196DPI

* On Left and Right Taskbar these are used when large icons are enabled or small icons are enabled.

7013: UserPic Frame Overlay; 96DPI

7014: UserPic Frame Overlay; 120DPI

7015: UserPic Frame Overlay; 144DPI

7016: UserPic Frame Overlay; 196DPI

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I kill it and start it within the same few milliseconds. Have yet to have a problem.

And Jimmy I love how I get no credit. I mean after all you spent a month or so trying to figure it out until I helped.

Also if anyone needs the map:

C:\Windows\Explorer.exe > BITMAP | C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Explorer.exe > BITMAP

6801: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 96DPI

6802: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 120DPI

6803: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 144DPI

6804: Small Icons; Bottom Taskbar; 196DPI

6805: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 96DPI

6806: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 120DPI

6807: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 144DPI

6808: Large Icons*; Left Taskbar, Right Taskbar, Top Taskbar, Bottom Taskbar; 196DPI

6809: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 96DPI

6810: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 120DPI

6811: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 144DPI

6812: Small Icons; Top Taskbar; 196DPI

* On Left and Right Taskbar these are used when large icons are enabled or small icons are enabled.

7013: UserPic Frame Overlay; 96DPI

7014: UserPic Frame Overlay; 120DPI

7015: UserPic Frame Overlay; 144DPI

7016: UserPic Frame Overlay; 196DPI

Maybe it works better in the RTM then in early beta's. Also thanks for the complete list, it's very useful information.

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I just tried again on the RTM (7600) build of Win7 and explorer.exe doesn't want to load, it pops up on the process list for half a second then terminates.

You said Resourcer 0.9 was working for you, does that include after you replaced explorer.exe?

I had to takeown and cacls explorer.exe to rename it, but do I need to do anything after replacing it with my modified one?

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I just tried again on the RTM (7600) build of Win7 and explorer.exe doesn't want to load, it pops up on the process list for half a second then terminates.

You said Resourcer 0.9 was working for you, does that include after you replaced explorer.exe?

I had to takeown and cacls explorer.exe to rename it, but do I need to do anything after replacing it with my modified one?

How long did you wait after killing explorer in task manager to start the new one?

Did you modify the original explorer or reuse one that you had already worked with?

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