by May 1, 2000 0 comments

Hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and you’ll
see a window pop up, titled Close Program. Whenever you hit these keys while
Windows is running, you’ll see Explorer as part of the list of running
programs on the Close Program window. Everything from error messages to the
menu that pops up when you right-click a file is controlled by Explorer.exe.

Before you start
editing Explorer.exe, keep a backup copy on a floppy disk or in a
separate folder on your hard disk. It’s real easy to mess up with
this file and destroy your computer.

Don’t try to edit Explorer.exe in DOS
while running Windows. It’s a read-only file and Windows won’t
allow you to edit it. Changing its attributes and editing it while
running Windows, is also not advisable.

To edit it would be something
that gives you the power to change everything in Windows. But, it’s not
that simple. You need to know some basics before you can actually start
editing it.

Okay, you’ve backed up
Explorer.exe and want to know what to do next. Here goes.

Restart your computer in DOS.
To do this click on Start>Shut Down and select Restart in MS-DOS.

Once you get the DOS Prompt,
go to the Windows directory by typing:

C:\>cd windows

Once you’re in the Windows
directory, open the file Explorer.exe in the DOS Editor with the /70
parameter. To do this type:

C:\windows>edit /70
explorer.exe

Here, “edit” opens
the Microsoft editor, and explorer.exe is the name of the file you want to
edit. “/70” stands for the number of columns, and sets the number
of columns to 70. This makes it easy to read the file and you don’t have
to keep scrolling.

After this, you’ll come
across a blue screen–the MS-DOS editor–with the file you want to edit–Explorer.exe.
At this point, the screen would look as if full of weird characters or
something in machine language.

Let me start by describing
what you’d be seeing.

The screen is full of weird
characters like a heart, a smiley face, and other unrecognizable pieces of
junk. Well, each symbol you see has a numerical value that you can see at
the bottom right of the screen at VALUE:###.

To see what each symbol
stands for, move your cursor over it and look at the bottom-right screen at
VALUE:###. At the bottom, you’ll also see Line: #### which gives you the
line number. You aren’t going to edit these symbols but edit the part of
the files, which consists of these unrecognizable characters as well as text
that you can understand. The understandable part begins at Line:1336.

The line numbers I’ll
discuss here are on a Win 98 machine. To go to the recognizable part in Win
95, just scroll down and look for recognizable English.

Lines:1336 to 1354 let you
change the text of your Taskbar Properties window. When you right click on
the Taskbar and select Properties, a pop-up window comes up from where you
can customize the Taskbar. It has options like Always on Top, Auto Hide,
etc. You can change the text that appears anywhere in the window, even the
text on the various buttons. However, before changing the text, read the
following very carefully.

You must have noticed by now
that in Explorer.exe, the text has a space between each character. This
space is not the space of the spacebar. In Explorer.exe, the value of a
space from the spacebar is 32 and the value of the spaces between characters
is 0.

Another thing that you must
have noticed is that there are many “&” symbols between the
characters. This “&” signifies that the succeeding character,
that is, the character that succeeds the “&” is underlined in
Windows.

The underlined letter is used
as a keyboard shortcut in Windows. For example, if the letter “S”
is underlined, then it can be used as a shortcut for a particular operation.

Let’s take an example to
make this clearer.

Let’s say, you want to edit
the text on the Clear button, which is on the Taskbar Properties window
under Start Menu Programs.

Originally the text is Clear,
but you want it to be something like Klear. So, what do you do?

Go to Line 1354 and locate
&C l e a r.

Remember that the spaces
between each letter are not the spaces of the spacebar (value=32) but spaces
whose value is 0. So, instead of &C l e a r, type &K l e a r keeping
in mind that the spaces have a value of 0.

If you do press the spacebar
by mistake, and want to replace it by value 0, you can click on any blank
space in Explorer.exe whose value is 0, and copy/paste it to the space where
you want it.

After making the necessary
changes, save the file and restart Windows. Now, right-click on the Taskbar
and select Properties. In the Taskbar Properties window, select the Start
Menu Programs tab and voila, you see Klear on the button. If you
press the K key on the keyboard, the button will be clicked. So, even
keyboard shortcuts can be changed by editing Explorer.exe. However, I haven’t
been able to devise a method to change the length of the word. Whenever I
tried to do so, Explorer.exe crashed.

Going a bit further, the
unrecognizable characters start again. The recognizable editable part starts
again at Line:2323.

This part of the file can be
used to edit the text that appears when you right click on the small clock
on the taskbar as well as the text that appears when you right-click on the
Taskbar itself.

Line:2334 to Line:2348 deal
with what appears when you click the Start button. You can change “Shut
Down” to any wacky name with the same number of characters, and also
change anything on the Start menu.

Then further down are the
Windows Error messages, which can be changed to some wacky error messages of
your own.

Line:2390 lets you change the
text on the Start button to anything you want, and that too of any length.
You can even have your name on the Start button, even if it’s 132
characters long. To do this, look carefully at the text on Line:2390. You’ll
find that a clubs symbol precedes S t a r t. If you move your cursor over
the club, you’ll find that its value is five. So, the text after the clubs
symbol, in this case S t a r t, has to be of five letters. If you want to
replace Start and put something like Stop, which is four letters long, then
you’ll have to search for a symbol whose numeric value is four and paste
it over the clubs symbol. Now, the text succeeding this new symbol should be
of four letters.

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