[Review] All About Resource Hacker, The Ultimate Windows Customization Tool
Resource Hacker is a small but excellent tool to modify system files like DLL, EXE, CPL, etc. You can even change Windows look by editing various Windows files and replacing their resources using Resource Hacker.
You can download the latest version from following topic:
This tutorial will help you in understanding this tool and will teach you how to use it. For your convenience, we have divided this tutorial in 2 parts:
- PART 1: BASIC INFORMATION
- PART 2: ADVANCED INFORMATION
Part 1 provides basic details like viewing or replacing existing resources in a file, etc. Part 2 covers some advance information for geeks, like adding new resources, using scripts, etc.
PART1 : BASIC INFORMATION
[Using Resource Hacker]
When you open a file in Resource Hacker, it shows various directories in left-side pane, like:
- AVI - Contains AVI files
- Cursor - Contains Cursor files
- Bitmap - Contains BMP files
- Icon - Contains Icons
- Menu - Contains Menus
- Dialog - Contains Dialog boxes
- String Table - Contains Strings
- Accelerators - Contains Shortcut keys
- Version Info - Contains Version information of the file
You can view resource present in the file by expanding the directory given in left-side pane and clicking on the name of the resource. Each resource contains 3 important attributes:
- Resource Type
- Resource Name
- Resource Language
For Icons / Cursors / Bitmaps:
1. First select the resource ( e.g. Bitmap -> 131 -> 1033 ).
2. Now click on Action -> Replace Icon / Cursor / Bitmap option or right-click on the resource and select the Replace option.
3. It'll open a new window, click on Open file with new Icon / Cursor / Bitmap button.
4. Select the desired resource using OPEN dialog box, click on Open button and then click on Replace button.
For Other Resources like AVI:
1. Select the AVI resource and click on Action -> Replace Resource option or right-click on the AVI resource and select the Replace option.
2. It'll open a new window, click on Open file with new resource button (or Select File button in newer versions).
3. Select the file and click on Open button.
4. Now you'll need to provide following required information for the resource, which we mentioned earlier:
- Resource Type
- Resource Name
- Resource Language
Resource Type: Mention type of the resource, e.g. if you are replacing AVI file, mention the type as AVI
Resource Name: Provide the same name of the existing resource which you want to replace
Resource Language: Provide language code for the resource, e.g. 1033 for English. You can check existing resource's language code.
5. At last click on Replace button.
For Menus / Strings / Dialogs:
To change any String, Menu or Dialog box, Select the desired resource, e.g. String Table -> 4 -> 1033, make your changes and at last click on Compile Script button or press F5 key or click on Action -> Compile option.
It'll immediately compile the script. If you made any mistake while modifying the resource, it'll generate error message so that you can fix it.
PART2 : ADVANCED INFORMATION
[Adding New Resources]
Adding New Bitmaps / Icons / Cursors / AVIs:
1. Click on Action -> Add a new Resource option (or Action -> Add Single Binary or Image Resource option in newer versions).
2. Now click on Open file with new resource button (or Select File button in newer versions).
3. Select the desired resource and click on Open button.
4. Give Resource Type, Name and Language as mentioned earlier. But keep in mind that Resource Name should not match with any existing resources name.
5. At last click on Add Resource button.
Adding New Menus:
Go to desired menu, e.g. Menu -> 215 -> 1033. Now add a new line anywhere inside POPUP "" using following format:
MENUITEM "Custom_String", 12345, MFT_STRING, MFS_GRAYED | MFS_DEFAULT
- "Custom_String" is the actual text which you want to show in menu.
- 12345 is the identifier. It must be different from existing menuitems.
- MFS_GRAYED disables the menuitem. You can change it to MFS_ENABLED if you want to show your menuitem enabled.
- MFS_DEFAULT shows your menuitem in BOLD. You can omit it.
- You can also add a new attribute in the code MFS_HILITE which automatically selects your menuitem.
In fact you can only add following new line in code:
MENUITEM "Custom_String", 12345
And Resource Hacker will automatically insert other remaining values as mentioned above.
[Inserting Newly Added Resources in Dialog Boxes]
Once you finish adding new Icons / Bitmaps / AVIs, you can insert them in any dialog box so that you can show in various Windows dialog boxes like RUN, Progress Dialog box, etc.
1. Go to the desired dialog box, e.g. Dialog -> 1020 -> 1033
2. Right-click in the dialog box and select Insert Control option.
3. It'll open a new window. You'll see many controls in the new window, like BITMAP, LABEL, ICON, BUTTON, SysAnimate32 (for AVIs), etc.
4. Click on any desired control, e.g. to insert a Bitmap, click on the BITMAP control or to insert an AVI, click on SysAnimate32 control.
PS: You can also insert Date/Time in dialog box using SysDateTimePick32 control.
5. Don't forget to fill the Caption entry. You need to enter the Resource Name in Caption textbox, e.g. if you have added a Bitmap and set its Resource Name as 401, then give the same 401 in Caption textbox.
PS: For AVI Control ( SysAnimate32 ), you'll need to append # in Caption value, e.g if the AVI name is 144, then put #144 in Caption textbox.
6. At last click on OK button & then Compile the script.
7. If you want to change the position of the new control in dialog box, simply click on the control and drag it to your desired location or you can also use arrow keys to move it.
Using Scripts in Resource Hacker
We can also run Resource Hacker using Command Prompt and can use scripts to automate lots of repetitive tasks to save our time.
You can use scripts in 2 ways:
- Single Command
- Multiple Commands
You can use following commands in Command Prompt to perform actions using Resource Hacker:
-add ExeFileName, ResultingFileName, ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName,
-addskip ExeFileName, ResultingFileName, ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName,
-addoverwrite ExeFileName, ResultingFileName, ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName,
-modify ExeFileName, ResultingFileName, ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName,
-extract ExeFileName, ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName,
-delete ExeFileName, ResultingFileName, ResourceType, ResourceName,
- ExeFileName - Source file name
- ResultingFileName - Output file name
- ResourceAddress - Resource location (e.g. Bitmap path stored in your hard disk)
- ResourceType - Resource type (e.g. Bitmap, AVI, etc.)
- ResourceName - Resource name (e.g. 131, 1020, etc.)
ResHacker.exe -addoverwrite explorer.exe, explorer1.exe, MyImage.bmp , bitmap, 143,
You can also run a series of commands using script. First you'll need to create the script file using Notepad and then you can run it using following command:
ResHacker.exe -script ScriptFileName
Where, ScriptFileName is the name of the script file which you created in Notepad.
Following is the required format of the script file:
-addoverwrite ResourceAddress, ResourceType, ResourceName
EXE= contains source file name
SaveAs= contains output file name
Log= contains LOG file name which will store a detailed log of the operation
[COMMANDS] section contains the command-set which we want to perform on the source file.
PS: You can omit the LOG= entry in script file. In this case, Resource Hacker will automatically create a LOG file with the name "ResHacker.log".
NOTE 1: If you are facing problems while saving a file after editing in resource hacker, then make sure you have disabled WFP (Windows File Protection) service using "WFP Patcher" or use "Replacer" to replace the file.
NOTE 2: If you get "Cannot create file" error message while saving the file, please check following tutorial:
That's all for now. If you have any query, please feel free to ask us...
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