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I am trying to change the image on the WindowsXP similar to eldergeek. While this works fine for changing the text in the start button, I am having difficulty changing the windows logo to another image.

The problem is that I don't know how to save the bitmap while keeping the transparency intact. Does anyone know of any free software that can save bitmaps with transparency that windows will respect?


I got this working with some slight modifications to the answer listed below: The bitmap is in folder 143(not 142). Axialis IconWorkshop worked, IcoFX didn't. If you want to use only a bitmap(and not text), you have to change the value of the "start" string to a single space. If you use an empty string, you get weird results. The start string is typically within folder #37 in the string table.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted
  1. Download Resource Hacker

  2. Locate explorer.exe in C:\WINDOWS. Copy the file and name it explorer1.exe.

  3. Run Resource Hacker. Select File, then Open, and select C:\WINDOWS\explorer1.exe.

  4. Collapse the String Table folder and expand the Bitmap folder, then select folder 142 and right-click on 1033. Select “Replace Resource“, then click on “Open file with new bitmap“. Select a Bitmap picture (.bmp extension) with a size of 25 pixels by 20 pixels. Click the Replace button. if you would like to make a bitmap image with transparency, you will need an advanced icon making program such as Axialis IconWorkshop.

  5. Select File, then Save.

  6. Exit Resource Hacker and click on the start button and select “Run…“. Type in “regedit” without quotes.

  7. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.

  8. Double click on the Shell entry and input “Explorer1.exe” without quotes in “Value data“.

  9. Restart Windows.


Edit: IcoFX might do the job as well:

Import / export images (transparency also) from bmp, jpg, gif, png, jp2

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Thanks, I'll check out IcoFX and post back my results. – Andres Dec 9 '09 at 17:01
For those that find this later, IcoFX cannot save to a bitmap, and thus was unable to meet my needs. It could however, edit icons right out of an exe or dll. Pretty cool. – Andres Dec 9 '09 at 17:52

You need to save to PNG or GIF format. or GIMP will do the trick. JPG doesn't do transparency. EDIT: neither does bitmap.

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I thought it had to be a .bmp. Will it work if I use a .PNG? – Andres Dec 9 '09 at 2:26
I'm not sure, what resource editor are you using to change the image? – Moshe Dec 9 '09 at 2:36
OK, Molly got it covered. – Moshe Dec 9 '09 at 2:42

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