*You can probably find different methods of doing this somewhere online, but this is the way that has always worked for me*
*NOTE: This hack might not work 100% all the time, i'm not exactly sure why, but I know that after you re-start having installed a program that puts itself in the registry, the changes you make that don't show up immediatly usually show up.
ok, just like for any windows-critical application edit. BACKUP THE FILE BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING!
now, open explorer.exe with your regedit program. look around and everything. there are a couple of things that are not to be touched in this:
1. don't mess with the manifest tab. results in a crash
2. same with version info
after that, i believe everything will be fine to play with. install custom icons for everything if you want to. just replace the current file with the one you want (make sure it's named the same thing)
the really fun thing i like to do is mess around in 'string table' this is where you go for that infamous 'hack the windows start button' thing.
have fun changing the strings around for a while. don't be afraid to remove any wierd & or < , they are just special characters. if you use any (') you will find that the string they represent will either not work or default back to &
when you are done playing, (make sure you check to see if you didn't delete any of the other things. the string id's and the syntax are quite important) save your hacked explorer.exe somewhere safe and shut down and boot a PE (pre-installed enviornment) or boot up in safe mode.
I recommend BartPE. it has never failed me, and i kinda like the way it looks. browse over and delete the original explorer.exe (BEFORE YOU DO THIS MAKE ABSOLUTLY SURE YOU HAVE BACKED UP!) and replace it with your hacked one.
re-start and enjoy your custom start menu and tooltips!