Tired of the boring Start button in Windows 7? While many details of the Windows 7 interface can be changed without the use of special tools, changing the Start button will take a little more effort. Fortunately, there are user-developed tools that make changing the Start button icon almost as easy as changing your desktop wallpaper. Use the instructions below to learn how to do this.
Step 1. Create a system restore point
While changing the Start button icon usually does not cause problems, it is wiser to always create a restore point before changing any system files. You can quickly access the system recovery program by clicking on "Start" and searching for the word "recovery". Select Create a restore point from the list of results.
- Click on the button "Create …"
- Give a name to the restore point and then click "Create".
- Please see this guide for details on how to use System Restore.
Step 2. Download the program to change the icon of the "Start" button
While you can use a portable executable editor to find the icon files for the Start button, it's much easier to use a program called Windows 7 Start Button Changer. It is a free program created by a team of enthusiastic Windows 7 users.
You can easily find the program on the web using any search engine. Enter "windows 7 start button changer" in the search box. Try downloading the program from The Windows Club developer site to make sure you are installing a secure version
Step 3. Unzip the program
It does not install like traditional programs, instead you can run it from any folder where you saved it. Read this guide for details on how to extract files from a zip archive, but usually you just need to right-click on the file and select the "Extract Files" command.
Step 4. Get administrator rights
It often happens that the program for changing the icon of the "Start" button does not start or starts with an error if you do not have administrator rights. To prevent this, take full control of File Explorer and don't face this issue in the future.
- Open the Windows folder on your hard drive. You will see the file "explorer.exe" in the main Windows folder.
- Hover over explorer.exe and right-click. You must definitely act on behalf of the Administrator.
- Open "Properties".
- Select the "Security" tab.
- Click on the "Change" button.
- Select "Allow" next to "Full Control". Click Apply.
Step 5. Rename the icon change program
Open the folder where you extracted the program. Find the file called "Windows 7 Start Button Changer v 2.6.exe1", rename it by removing the "1" at the end of the file name to convert it to a standard EXE file.
Step 6. Run the program
Right-click on the renamed file and select Run as Administrator. Otherwise, the program will give an error and will not start.
Step 7. Select a new icon for the Start button
When the program starts, you will see the default icon. There are three states of a button, which are depicted differently: calm, ready, and pressed. Each icon file contains all three versions of the button. Click on the "Select and Change Start Button" button to select a different file.
- Windows 7 Start Button Changer initially contains 10 icon options to replace the original Start button. You can also download more icons from many sites like deviantArt. Make sure the icon you choose to replace the original contains all three button state images.
- The program will automatically create a backup copy of the explorer.exe file. If you want to change the icon to a different image, you will first have to return the original button by clicking the "Restore File Explorer Backup" button. When the original version of the file is restored, you can select a new icon by repeating all the previous steps.