Tip of the day: How to display your name and phone number on your Garmin Edge


A few days ago a reader tweeted me an interesting little tip that I hadn’t seen before.  It allows you to specify a startup message that’s displayed to the person turning on your Garmin Edge unit (hopefully you).  And in fact, upon poking around, the ‘instructions’ have been sitting there for years on the Edge units.  And the process is simple and easy to complete in 30 seconds.  This applies to the Edge 510, Edge 520Edge 800Edge 810, Edge 1000, and the Touring & Touring Plus.  It will NOT work on the Edge 200, 500 and Edge 705.

Thus the next time you leave your Edge on top of your car and drive away from a ride, you’ll at least increase your odds from ‘none’ to ‘slim’ that someone might return it.


Here’s how you add the message.  First, you’ll need to have the unit attached to a computer with a USB cable.  Below are instructions I’ve written up for Windows, but the Mac instructions are pretty much identical.

After plugging the unit in, you’ll see it show up on your computer.  That’s where we start.

1) Navigate to the Garmin folder on the unit (your exact drive letter will vary), and within it you’ll find the ‘startup.txt’ file.  Simply double click it – it’ll open in Notepad.


2) Here’s where you’ll be brought.  Basically this just provides a bunch of guidance.  We’re only going to edit two tiny pieces, which I highlight in the next step in yellow.


3) First up is editing how long the message is displayed for.  You’ll see above it’s set for 0 (as in 0 seconds).  Below, I’ve just changed it to 10 – as in, 10 seconds.  You can specify whatever you’d like.


4) Next (and lastly), we’re going to add our special message.  This is what’s shown upon starting up the unit.  You can type it on a single line and it’ll wrap the text when shown on your Garmin Edge.  Alternatively, you can type up to 5 lines of text, but you’ll only get a few words per line.  Don’t worry if you type too much, it just truncates it on the unit.


5) Save the file, unplug your Garmin, turn it on to gaze at your magnificent work (or, see that you mistyped your phone number)

End Resultant:


The pop-up is compatible with the following units: Garmin Edge 510, Edge 520, Edge 800, Edge 810, Edge 1000, and Touring/Touring Plus.  I have tested that it is not compatible with the Edge 200, 500 or Edge 705.


That’s it – simple as that!

Thanks again to the reader who pointed this tip out.  While it may not get my unit back to me the next time I leave it behind – at least it increases my chances a bit.

Have a great weekend!

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  1. ABMcCaa

    AWESOME! Thanks for posting that. Worked perfect!

    • Alan Weaver

      Yep, it also works on the Garmin Touring Plus as well, great tip!!

  2. Tommy

    Thanks for the tip!

  3. Great tip! I added the message, but left the time at zero, since it has plenty of time to stay on the screen while the maps are loading.

  4. cs.senthiil

    Super, Worked Perfect.

  5. Patrick Tan

    I have the Edge 510 and this is simply a great tip which fellow owners should seat up and pay attention to.

  6. Thanks for the tip. It also works on the Garmin Oregon 600 and I guess any Garmin unit with the startup.txt file.

  7. MURAT

    works perfect on 510 … great tip …

  8. Anders Majland

    My old trusty GPSmap60 has the same feature – Except that you just enter your message directly on the unit. I suspect many Garmin devices has a similar feature. Time to RTFM’s :-)

  9. Paul

    Any chance it will work on 910XT?

    • Nick

      Nope since you cant access the file system on a 910xt

  10. Tommy Torwald

    Why don’t you just put a sticker on the back, if you’re afraid of losing it? Not saying it’s not neat with a personalized welcome message, but I doubt it’s the best way to ensure getting it back when you lose it…

    • I think one advantage might be the sticker is easier to remove by a thief. If it’s stolen, how many thieves will be able to remove the startup message?

    • Regardless of whether one prefers sticker or not, one tiny but really important item that you’ll want to ensure is that the sticker doesn’t cover the set of four small holes on the back of the Garmin Edge.

      These holes are for the barometric altimeter, and when covered or otherwise suffocated, you’ll get bad barometric altimeter data.

      Just an FYI…

    • Richard Eckert

      Maybe a sticker will get faded, and leave behind a gummy residue if it gets wet and maybe even make impossible to see the data under a sticker after you find no other suitable surface except the viewing screen to put a sticker. Prior to posting snarky replies that add zero to the common good of the board, you should handle the equipment being discussed at least once. Where on the back do you suggest putting a sticker? There is hardly a flat surface to put a sticker. Moreover, the material on the backside of the 810’s and 510’s are not hard and smooth. They are not conducive to having stickers put on them. THAT is why you don’t just put a sticker on the unit. And if you doubt that editing the startup screen is the best way to to ensure getting your unit back when you lose it, would you mind enlightening us as to what you think is the best way to ensure getting it back?
      Thanks Ray for the cool tip, as always.

    • Excellent suggestion for the 500 and other units where the startup.txt isn’t recognized. There’s a decent chance someone who, as I do, uploads FIT files directly rather than via the Garmin app, will notice it.

  11. I always put in my name, phone number (including extensions), my e-mail address and Country name.

    This is one feature which the JaVaWa Device Manager (for Mac and Windows) also supports you to do, but then much easier, without having to know which file to edit or if your Garmin device supports it.

    Second tip is also to create an Owners_Information.txt file in the root of your GPS and microSD. It’s not shown, but if you write the same information as in the startup text and if there is ever doubt if the device/microSD is your property, then show the information in this file. (also supported by JaVaWa Device Manager).

  12. Remco Verdoold

    Nice phone number you have :)

    Do you know if it is possible with the 910xt as well?

  13. Mark

    Great, simple tip!! Thanks!

  14. pratoni

    and what about the forerunner series?

  15. Morten WR

    My 800 does not truncate… Only get about 38 characters:-(

    • Morten WR

      Disregard last comment. Didn’t work due to use of “forbidden” character ø

  16. Efraim Shaw

    What about the 910?

  17. scott buchanan

    Obvious question would be…. how likely would the person ‘finding’ your expensive bit of tech to return it?

    Friend had a pair Leica UltraVid HD bino’s with owner info in the case ‘taken’
    Got an anonymous call 2 days later….. “Cheers for the binoculars mate!”

    Sorry for the lack of faith in my fellow man/woman

    • ken

      Scott, I found a 910 xt unit on a mtn bike trail, emailed garmin the serial # and they put me in touch w the owner, amd i returned it.

      All I could think of was how much it would have sucked if it was mine. And that I really wish i found an Edge 810 😉

    • someone

      Trace the call and pay him a visit

    • James


      I just lost my 510 on a MTB race at a particularly dense section of single track. I seriously thought it was gone forever. I held out a glimmer of hope by reporting it lost to the organizer and posting on the event’s FB page.

      One week went by and no Edge. As the weekend approached, my wife and I were going to drive three hours to the trail and walk the four miles of it beginning to end. A big rain front moved through that Saturday so we pushed it off until Sunday.

      While out grocery shopping Saturday afternoon, I received a phone call from Florida (9 hours south of me). Another racer had found my 510, called Garmin to give them the serial number and was put in touch with me. I received it a few days later and sent him a nice reward for taking the time to not only stop his race to pick it up but to also track me down. I think you’d be surprised how many of us stick together and look out for each other. It’s a small world and the cycling community is even smaller. Ride safe.

  18. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    The intro screen of 60CSx can be customized to an extent that my own face is smiling (at low resolution) after I switch on my GPSr. I dont know whether this sort of tweak is available for newer units.

  19. earl

    Thanks Ray

  20. Dan

    I keep calling, but you’re not answering!

  21. Ian West

    Cheers Ray works well and looks neat! saves a sticker falling off in the rain

  22. Ray, you are also highlighting to dishonest people how to remove the message as well. 😉

  23. lionel birkenbach

    to cool – thanks

  24. Michael H.

    I thought your phone number was 867-5309.

  25. Dave G

    Thanks for the tip, works on 810, can get mine mixed up with friends 810!

  26. Dick Morris

    Thanks a useful tip.
    The Garmin 62 series offers a similar function.
    I put my mobile number but also added ‘ Reward Given if found ‘
    Not sure if it might work but worth a try.!

  27. anybody

    Great tipp. I had such a message set in my old etrex over the regular menu and already wondered where this option in my Montana was. It works for my Montana 600 as well.

  28. Trevor

    Great tip, thanks. Entered ICE contact details.

  29. Derick

    Great Tip …Thanks

  30. LitterBug

    I also customized the background screen of my Edge 800 with “if Found” and “In Case Of Emergency” info. You can find the images in the /Garmin/Bacgrounds directory.


  31. rc46

    Wow great info but terrible timing on my part! Some how I missed this post until today and unfortunately lost my 810 Saturday night!

  32. Megazine

    I can’t seem to have that file under garmin? There’s no “startup” under garmin. I’m using a win8 PC.

  33. Ted H

    AWESOME Tip… Thanks Ray.

  34. Az

    I am getting the letters ‘yyyyyyyyy….’ in my startup text doc… I cannot change anything… Anyone encounter the same problem?

  35. Cam Carroll

    Just found this, awesome thank you, so very handy…. PS keep up the incredible work!!!

  36. TomZ

    I also see the letters ‘yyyyyyyyy….’ in my startup text doc.


  37. Trigger

    It’s a great tip, really appreciate it! Mine now reads “Stop gawking and call an ambulance, then call my bride @…” :0)

  38. César Herrero (Spain)

    Felicidades, gracias por esta pequeña ayuda.

  39. This could be the best thing I have found on here other than of course the great Vector info.

  40. jedmonds

    Awesome. Works perfectly. Hopefully it never be needed.

  41. tzahi

    it dosnt work on the 705?

    • No, it does not. Unfortunately that was prior to Garmin adding the code into their devices to read it.

  42. GM

    That worked Great, Thank You

  43. Fantastic tip! I’ve sent it out to all my bay area cyclist friends..

  44. Exelent and easy,many many thanks

  45. Exelent and easy

  46. Wendy

    Anyone got simple instructions for me to do this on the garmin 500? Would appreciate it, ta

  47. Gooders

    Is there any way of making the font size larger.

  48. Lou

    Hi ray, the new 2.9 update got rid of my start up page and now can’t redo it! Any clue?

    • Dick Morris

      Suggest a reset or reboot to the firmware and start again.
      It’s all OK on my Edge 510 with the 2.9 upgrade to the firmware.

    • Lou

      I have done the reboot however when I go to the garmin folder on my computer and select ‘startup.txt’ folder, well the content is totatlly different then mentioned above. All I have in the start up folder are “y’s”.

    • Lou

      Reformatted and ok now

    • Tom

      How did you reformat it?

  49. calimero

    Grazie di cuore !!! ciaoo

  50. Tom

    Lou – how did you reformat it?

    • Lou

      Hi Tom,

      First I would suggest you to back up all your settings as per link:

      link to support.garmin.com{87d71a10-4ac5-11e2-e8a7-000000000000}

      Then to format go as follow:

      1.Right-click on device as it appears as a drive
      2.Select Format…
      3.Ensure File System is set to FAT32
      4.Ensure Volume Label is set to Garmin
      5.Uncheck Quick Format
      6.Select Start

      Hope this helps.

    • Lou

      Tom try this again to back up
      When the Edge is connected to the computer, it will create a drive in (My) Computer [PC] or on the desktop [Mac]. By selecting the drive, a number of folders within the Garmin folder will appear. These folders represent the following information:
      ◦Locations – contains Locations.fit file that stores saved location(s)
      ◦Records – contains Records.fit file that stores personal records you have achieved
      ◦Settings – contains Settings.fit file which stores user profile, device settings and bike profiles
      ◦Sports – contains each activity profile as a separate file
      ◦Totals – contains Totals.fit file which stores device totals for time and distance
      ◦Weight – contains Weight.fit files obtained from a Tanita platform

      To backup device information:
      1.Plug cycling GPS into computer via USB cable
      2.Open Garmin Drive from (My) Computer on PC or desktop on Mac
      3.Select Garmin folder
      4.Select Locations folder
      5.Right-click on Locations.fit file
      6.Select Copy
      7.Paste file on desktop or other easily found location
      8.Follow steps 4 – 6 with for all other folders mentioned above

      To reinstall the files:
      1.Plug Edge into computer via USB cable
      2.Go to files location on computer
      3.Press and hold Control (CTRL) key on keyboard
      4.Select each file (still holding CTRL key) until all files are selected
      5.Release CTRL key
      6.Open Garmin drive from Computer page or desktop (Mac)
      7.Open Garmin Folder
      8.Right-click on NewFiles folder
      9.Paste files into folder

      The New Files folder will automatically put the files into the correct folders once the Edge is disconnected and powered on. The settings, profiles, and totals will now show on your fitness GPS.

    • Tom

      Thanks Lou – I will try that.


    • Tom

      Thanks Lou – that worked great!

  51. Thank you- awesome tip and I even got it the first time. MM

  52. ben fg

    Thank you! This should definitely be in the quick start guide that comes with the unit. Wouldn’t hurt garmin management – and you don’t have to do it out of genuine humanity. It’s just one more small thing to keep customers smiling! 😉

  53. Dave

    I just see a bib block full of yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy when i open the file, any suggestions what to do..?
    I have a garmin edge 510


    • sparklehedgehog

      Dave just type:

      <display = 10.
      If found please return to ………

      all BEFORE the yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy then press enter to move a line down before the yyyyyyy but after your message

      Worked for me

    • David

      Sparklehedgehog I tried exactly as you suggested with my edge510, but doesn’t seem to work.

      <display = 10.
      If found please return to 1-514….


  54. Maciej

    Did you test it with Edge 1000?

  55. Jim Dawson

    Cheers love that one

  56. Tony Clark

    Thanks for the tip. Working on my Edge 1000.

  57. Matthew Crawford

    Great Tip. Thank you. Great site by the way.

  58. Gus Tang

    works perfect on Oregon 550 … great tip …Thanks

  59. Bike monkey

    Ha cool just did this to my Garmin Edge 1000 great tip.

  60. James


    Please review this procedure for new software that shows only y’s with two dots above each in startup.txt file (Edge510 with v3.10)


    • James


      I found the solution and it’s as easy as simply replacing the y’s with the text below and edit as noted by the procedure above. Works perfectly.

    • David

      Worked a treat thanks.

  61. Phil Scott

    I have found the file on my 810. Made the edits ie 10s and my details.
    Saved the file and disconnected.
    Power on. Nothing just the Garmin screen and loading maps. ??

    When it says

    does this mean switch on or do I do something else?

  62. Thanks for the tip, I now can display my on the startup screen for my Edge 1000.

  63. Teddy K

    What a neat little customization piece! Thanks for sharing….

  64. Alex

    Brilliant! Thanks v. much :-)

  65. Mehul

    Sweet, now I have your phone number and you can help me with all my holiday shopping.

    Pretty cool hack, thanks for sharing!

  66. dave

    great tip, also worked on my Etrex 20.

  67. Juanjo

    Thanks, that’s what I was looking for.
    I don’t know why this isn’t on owner’s manual for devices, but I supose returned devices mean lost sales.

    I’ve found a Dakota unit, posted on spainish main mountain bike forum, but get no response, I wrote to garmin asking for contact to registered owner and still waiting for response.

  68. Andy Fleming

    Thanks for the tip, works great on my Edge 1000

  69. Dustin


    Thanks for a great tip! Just updated my 510.


  70. Kenny

    Thanks for the tip. Works on the Garmin Edge 1000. Cheers

  71. EB Miller

    I don’t see any setup.txt on my garmin 800.
    Is there some trick to get it?

  72. Owen

    I find it better to display an emergency contact person’s contact details. If you can trust a person in such a role, you can trust them to forward a returned device.

  73. Nick

    it works also on etrex 20 too! thanks for the tip!

  74. David

    Awesome! Works on EDGE 1000 too. Great website BTW.

  75. Randy Manning

    doesnt work on my edge 1000

  76. Roofi

    You can also create an AutoRun.inf txt file in the root of an Edge 500 (and maybe others) which will ask to “Show Owner Information” when you plug your Garmin into your PC (works with XP, not tested on Vista,7,8)

    The AutoRun.inf should look like this:

    action=Show Owner Information
    open=notepad.exe \Owner Information.txt

    “icon” can be the Garmin triangle or any icon you see fit
    “action” is the text in the pop up – change it to anything you like
    “open” will use notepad to open any txt file you place in the root of the Garmin – mine is called “Owner Information.txt” has my name, phone and email

  77. Steven Schellings

    Great website and awesome personal story about you!
    You have probably hear this a lot but my recently purchased 510 stopped finding the speed/cadence sensor. I think I have tried almost everything….any suggestions would be appreciated.

  78. Slim Harpo

    The phrases ‘clutching at straws’ or ‘triumph of hope over expectation’ spring to mind, but nevertheless I’ve just done it on my Edge 1000 – thanks!

  79. Odd ravjax Sveinhaug

    Greate post as always, but are you sure having youre name on the device, increases the chance of YOU getting it back? :-) ( Wow having a device owned by the one and only DC Rainmaker… )
    Joke aside, I think it is more good than bad people out there!

  80. Efrén

    Great ! Just done it on my brand new Garmin Edge 1000 and works perfect.

    Thanks !

  81. Roofi

    No problem. Here’s a word of warning for Garmin owners. I had this happen yesterday. Took a bit of file editing to find it. Guess it servers me right for hitting 88mph. PM me if you want to know who wins the 2020 TDF….

  82. Steve M

    Anybody know if you can do the same thing on a 920XT??


    • No, unfortunately not. However, you might be able to find a Connect IQ Watch Face that allows you to put your name on it (not entirely sure).