How-To Geek

Change The Windows 7 Start Orb the Easy Way

Want to make your Windows 7 PC even more unique and personalized?  Then check out this easy guide on how to change your start orb in Windows 7.

Getting Started

First, download the free Windows 7 Start Button Changer (link below), and extract the contents of the folder.  It contains the app along with a selection of alternate start button orbs you can try out.


Before changing the start button, we advise creating a system restore point in case anything goes wrong.  Enter System Restore in your Start menu search, and select “Create a restore point”.

Please note:  We tested this on both the 32 bit and 64 bit editions of Windows 7, and didn’t encounter any problems or stability issues.  That said, it is always prudent to make a restore point just in case a problem did happen.


Click the Create button…


Then enter a name for the restore point, and click Create.


Changing the Start Orb.

Once this is finished, run the Windows 7 Start Button Changer as administrator by right-clicking on it and selecting “Run as administrator”.  Accept the UAC prompt that will appear.


If you don’t run it as an administrator, you may see the following warning.  Click Quit, and then run again as administrator.


You should now see the Windows 7 Start Button Changer.  On the left it shows what your current (default) start orb looks like inactive, when hovered over, and when selected.  Click the orb on the right to select a new start button.


Here we browsed to the sample orbs folder, and selected one of them.  Let’s give Windows the Media Center orb for a start orb.  Click the orb you want, and then select open.


When you click Open, your screen will momentarily freeze and your taskbar will disappear.  When it reappears, your computer will have gone from having the old, default Start orb style…


…to your new, exciting Start orb!  Here it is default, and glowing when hovered over.

sshot-75 sshot-76

Now, the Windows 7 Start Orb Changer will change, and show your new Start orb on the left side.  If you would like to revert to the default orb, simply click the folder icon to restore it.  Or, if you would like to change the orb again, restore the original first and then select a new one.


The orbs don’t have to be round; here’s a fancy Windows 7 logo as the start button.


The start orb change will work in the Aero and Aero basic (which Windows 7 Start uses) themes, but will not show up in the classic, Windows 2000 style themes.  Here’s how the new start button looks with the Aero Classic theme:


There are tons of orbs available, including this cute smiley, so choose one that you like to make your computer uniquely yours.



This is a cute way to make your desktop unique, and can be a great way to make a truly personalized theme.  Let us know your favorite Start orb!


Download the Windows 7 Start Button Changer

Find more Start orbs at deviantART

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 04/7/10

Comments (40)

  1. Optimus

    It’s worth noting that if you use custom DPIs to make the items on your screen bigger, this program will not work. Because the Start Button is enlarged when using higher DPIs, you need to change different images within the explorer.exe file. You could do it with a resource editor, or just drop back to the default DPI and all will be well.

  2. nakuls

    i am not sure if anybody else got it too, but you’ll get that same error of unhandled exception even when running as administrator, if you open the image selection and press cancel for any reason and then open image selection again(without closing the program). i just closed it and then started again and didn’t get the error(as i did the image selection the first time). win7 x64 ultimate.

  3. Lucky Man

    Thanks so much for tutorial. I changed my start to yellow smiley face on my windows 7 which is easier for my family or friends to use start menu. sometime nobody don’t know what start menu is. so i will just tell them just click smiley face then go to whatever it is. thanks again.

  4. Jon

    It’s just a start button. Function over appearance honestly…

  5. InDiSent

    Nice…i like it :)

  6. calebstein

    If I can find one that looks like the kickoff application launcer (kde 4 logo), I’ll use it.

  7. Matthew Guay

    @Optimus – Thanks for mentioning this. I’ve never used high DPI, so I didn’t run across this problem.

  8. Leoz

    Same thing than nakuls doesn’t work with 7 x64… :(

  9. kofoed

    same thing as leoz and nakuls, but im using win 7 x32, pls email me if u have a solution.

  10. kofoed

    sorry forget to mention my email is

  11. Matthew Guay

    @all – Make sure you’re running this app in administrative mode. I tested it in both the 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 7, and it worked fine, but when I didn’t run it in administrative mode it crashed. See if this helps; otherwise, I don’t have any other ideas :)

  12. calebstein

    @kofoed: It is not a good idea to leave your email on publicly viewable websites.

  13. Alex

    NOT working!

  14. sunandan

    doesnt work :( in windows 7
    ran as admin even downloaded 3 times 4m all the 3 links .
    still , the explorer restarts but the orb remains same

  15. Jon Austenaa

    It works but I hope they update the program to support high dpi. I tried using higher DPI bitmaps but that created strange results.

  16. Matthew Guay

    @Jon – An, interesting. I’ve never tried it with high DPI settings. Do you see many apps have problems with high DPI settings? Just curious….

  17. Daco

    thanx so much

  18. sandeep

    i cant able 2 find the link for changin the orb..:(

  19. sandeep

    yeah its working………
    thnx for evrythng…

  20. TJ

    Just leaves a blank spot for me. I probably set up higher dpi to suit my failing vision. I like some of the selections,, but on balance, I really do need the higher dpi so… oh well.

  21. Ryan

    Hey, I tried it, but it doesnt work, The program says that my current orb is the one I picked, but the actual start orb doesnt change. It is runnin in admin, and i have 64-bit. Please help
    email me at

  22. bill

    it works for me!

  23. random

    DONT WORK.. i use win7 nothing happens.. i did what i was sopose to ddo, but nothin… and all that “email me shit” WTF ? i think OTHERS want to know whats up ?


  24. Mendicant Bias

    This is Forerunner AI 05032. I tried installing it on my Terminal and it did not work.
    The orb does change in the program, but it does not in the explorer.

    Good luck, humanoids.

  25. prince khan

    hay gays if anyone wants my help to change his start up button i can tell u how to change if any on wants mail to me an keep connected

  26. prince khan

    thank u

  27. coFFee D.Prince

    awesome ,. thank

  28. eXplorer

    Windows 7 Start Orb Changer v4 (Not Button Changer) works in all DPIs and has more features. Here is a full features list from the developer’s page:

    * Allows you to change the orb in four different ways:

    o Context Menu

    o Drag & Drop

    o Change Button

    o Command Line (Syntax only contains orb location)

    * Works with all DPIs (If the orb is too big or too small it will automatically resize it)

    * Works with both x86/32-bit and x64/64-bit

    * Works with both PNG and BMP file formats

    * Can integrate with desktop context menu

    * Can integrate with PNG and BMP file formats’ context menu

    * Allows you to change the orb in two different methods:

    o Memory Patching – Edits the start orb in memory which doesn’t cause any UAC prompts

    o Resource Editing – Edits the start orb by replacing resources of %windir%\explorer.exe

    * Easy-To-Use & clean interface

    * Two modes for normal and advanced users

    * First & ultimate Windows 7 start orb changer available on the net

  29. hamad alhendi

    Thanks, it worms perfectly!!!! :D

  30. KagamineRen02

    yeah! i have the windows 7 os-tan Nanami Madobe’s barrette as mine~
    my Nanami theme is officially complete!!~
    thanks a lot for this! :3


  31. SLEEE

    I have the same problem as Ryan, the actual orb doesn’t change but it says it does

  32. Jonny

    Worked just like it said it would. Have the Resident Evil Umbrella Corp logo for my start orb, goes perfect with my Umbrella background. :)

  33. Hawk

    Don’t work in my Win7 x64 SP1. :(

  34. Slembroccoli

    Where can i get the “fancy Windows 7 icon”? (

  35. John

    when I choose the one I would like the Library window pops up….

  36. shatu

    its fine…..but i can’t run button changer or on my win7 professional sp1….where’s the problem???

  37. moocha

    Okay, 4-MEC WHOLES PRICES NOW!!!! 99.9% purity lab test confirmed Methylethcathinone

  38. arten

    thanks to this i changed start orb to an assasins creed 2 start orb

  39. me!

    OMG I typed “before changing the start orb” as well, i didnt get to that part of the tutorial
    and its the same!

  40. Dennis

    Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit (x86)
    Won’t work, remains the same even with Adm.
    My computer don’t support Aero, this change something?

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