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I have a bunch of shortcuts (couldn't get other links from mklink working), e.g.: for Firefox that links to:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe

When I move my mouse over the icon in my Taskbar, I get a tooltip with:

Mozilla Firefox

How do I change this to a description of my own?

My attempts

One

  1. With shortcut highlighted, right-click Properties
  2. Click Details tab
  3. Click remove Properties and Personal Information

(left with no change to details)

Two

  1. Find a hex editor, get the firefox.exe executable open and editable*
  2. Modify highligted line hex
  3. Run executable error msg *Overwrite mode or insert mode; made no difference to result

That error is probably due to a checksum somewhere in the header.


Short of compiling my own version of Firefox, how do I rename the description?

E.g.: Recalculate header checksum

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Currently experimenting with some VB... no luck yet –  stackoverflowuser95 Feb 10 '13 at 16:06
    
Also tried in Python following Modify Windows shortcuts using Python and Perl reference. Then tried following Microsoft with this piece of VBScript. Unfortunately both put the Description I gave it into the comment field; leaving the description unchanged. I'm running Windows 8. How do I get the text within the Description field renamed? –  stackoverflowuser95 Feb 10 '13 at 16:31
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2 Answers

This problem has vexed me for a long time. I've searched the web several times with no luck. Now, I stumbled upon a workaround.

This worked for me in 13 easy steps:

  1. Shift-right-click on the icon in the taskbar.
  2. Click "Properties"
  3. Click the "General" tab.
  4. Type the tooltip text you want in the unnamed text edit widget at the top of the dialog.
  5. Click the "Shortcut" tab.
  6. Click "Change Icon..."
  7. Select some other icon (you might have to browse to find one c://Windows is a good place to look)
  8. Click "OK" in the Change Icon dialog.
  9. Click "Apply" in the Properties dialog (notice that icon has changed on the taskbar).
  10. Click "Change Icon..." (again!).
  11. Browse back to your original application and select it.
  12. Click "OK" in the Change Icon dialog.
  13. Click "Apply" in the Properties dialog.

Test your tooltip.

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This worked on Windows 8.1. Nice! :) –  Thasmo Feb 26 at 22:07
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Here's how it works, on Windows 7 at least:

  • Shortcuts in the Start Menu (i.e. under All Programs) - Contents of Comment field displayed as tooltip on mouse hover

  • Shortcuts pinned to the Start Menu - No tooltips displayed on mouse hover

  • Shortcuts pinned to the Taskbar - File name of shortcut (i.e. .LNK file) displayed as tooltip on mouse hover

I don't know why shortcuts pinned to the Taskbar behave differently, but their Comment field is ignored for some reason. Also, I tried going to %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar and renaming the shortcuts, but there seems to be some caching in effect, as neither restarting Explorer nor logging off and logging back in changed the tooltip. Only unpinning and re-pinning a shortcut with a different name changed the tooltip successfully for me.

What's strange is that renaming shortcuts in %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar directly and restarting actually broke them. The icons were replaced with blank (white) ones, and clicking on them launched the programs but made the shortcuts disappear from the taskbar! Really weird.

Note: AFAIK the WshShortcut object's Description property (i.e. Comment field in the shortcut's Properties dialog) is not the same as the Assembly Manifest Description field which you extracted from the Firefox executable (see below), which is probably why editing the EXE failed to affect the shortcut's tooltip.

<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">
    <assemblyIdentity version="1.0.0.0" processorArchitecture="*" name="Firefox" type="win32"/>
    <description>Firefox</description>
    <dependency>
        <dependentAssembly>
            <assemblyIdentity type="win32" name="Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls" version="6.0.0.0" processorArchitecture="*" publicKeyToken="6595b64144ccf1df" language="*"/>
        </dependentAssembly>
    </dependency>
    <ms_asmv3:trustInfo xmlns:ms_asmv3="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3">
        <ms_asmv3:security>
            <ms_asmv3:requestedPrivileges>
                <ms_asmv3:requestedExecutionLevel level="asInvoker" uiAccess="false"/>
            </ms_asmv3:requestedPrivileges>
        </ms_asmv3:security>
    </ms_asmv3:trustInfo>
    <compatibility xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:compatibility.v1">
        <application>
            <supportedOS Id="{35138b9a-5d96-4fbd-8e2d-a2440225f93a}"/>
        </application>
    </compatibility>
</assembly>
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