Change the Name of a Windows 7 Computer withLocalizedString Registry Tweak

How to Change The Computer Icon on a Windows 7 Desktop

LocalizedString Change Computer NameThe idea behind this registry tweak of LocalizedString is to change the label under the computer icon, which you see on the Windows 7 desktop.  As a result the name reflects the true username and computername.  For example, Guy (username) at W7-Ultimate (computername).

Please note that unlike the cheap-shot where you just rename the Computer icon; this tip dynamically adjusts the name for each user who logs on.

Topics for Changing the Name of a Windows 7 Computer


Preliminary Step – Before You Change the Computer Name

Before you try this LocalizedString registry tweak, make sure that Windows 7 displays the the Computer icon on your desktop.  Right-click the desktop, Personalize, now select: Change desktop icons, check ‘Computer’ and click OK.

This tip also works for XP and Vista, just make sure that you display the ‘My Computer’ icon on the desktop.

Instructions for Editing LocalizedString in Windows 7 RegistryWindows 7 Regedit and LocalizedString

Our mission is to find a specific class id (CLSID) in the registry’s HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.  Then we change the value for LocalizedString from ‘Computer’ to a variable which will reflect the user who logs on to this particular computer.

1) Launch Regedit
Edit Menu, Find LocalizedString
Else click and drill-down to:


2) For safety, rename the LocalizedString item, also save the registry hive.
Problem, cannot rename LocalizedString to LocalizedString.Old
Solution, Edit Menu, Permissions.  Take ownership and assign yourself Full Control, just as you would for folder.LocalizedString %username% at %computername%

3) To be safe, rename LocalizedString to LocalizedString.Old

4)  Create a new VALUE.  Note type should be Expanded String Value.  Name it: LocalizedString.  Again if you get an error, check the permissions.

5) Edit the ‘Value data’. I double-click LocalizedString, then type in the dialog box:
%Username% at %Computername%

Incidentally, you could choose more creative words in place of ‘at’.  For example, ‘King of’ or ‘Queen of’.LocalizedString Change Computer Name

6) To see the fruits of your labours, just press F5 to refresh the desktop, your computer icon should now say the equivalent of: YourName at YourComputer.  See screenshot to the right (Guy at W7-Ultimate).

Another Screen Shot of Windows 7’s Regedit

Here is a panoramic view of the registry, which shows regedit displaying the REG_EXPAND_SZ LocalizedString.

Regedit displaying LocalizedString.

Key Learning Points

  • Before you make a difficult change to the registry, rename the existing key.
  • Preliminary step, make sure that Windows 7 displays the Computer on the desktop.  right-click, Personalize and select: Change Desktop Icons.
  • Do you find the LocalizedString value in HKCU** or HKLM?
    Answer: neither, it’s under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
  • Do you have to add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: Rename, then create a new value.
  • Is it a String Value or a DWORD?
    Answer: Neither it is an Expanded String.
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Logoff / Logon?
    Answer: Neither, just refresh the desktop by pressing F5.
  • Tip: Add this Value, LocalizedString to Regedit’s Favorites menu

** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Windows 7 will understand and obey the registry instruction.

How to Create a .Reg File Which Changes a Computer Name

Creating a .Reg FileChange the Name of Your Network Icon

This page explains how to create, and then edit .reg files for your computer.  As it’s easy to import the contents of a .reg file into the registry, however, do take extra care with procedures.  Example LocalizedString  .reg file.

Summary of  How to Change the Name of a Windows 7 Computer

This registry tweak of LocalizedString will change the label under Windows 7 computer icon.  As a result the label reflects the actual username and computername.  For example, Guy (username) at W7-Ultimate (computername).  Before you make this change the Classes_Root section of the registry you may need to take ownership of that particular hive.  Once you become the owner, give yourself full control.  Now you can make the necessary changes to LocalizedString.

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