Why 64-bit Windows Users Face Login or Other Problems After Modifying System Files Using Resource Hacker?

Recently I posted a tutorial about launching your favorite programs, games, etc using "Ease of Access" button present in Windows login screen:

How to Launch Command Prompt or Other Programs Using "Ease of Access" Button at Login Screen in Windows?

In above tutorial, I told you that I faced login problem after modifying and saving a DLL file in Windows 7 64-bit (x64). It made the system broken and I had to restore default DLL file to fix the problem.

Recently an AskVG reader "Stägämies" asked me how to move command bar or folder band at bottom in Windows 7 Explorer? Again I tried to modify system files using my favorite tool Resource Hacker but again I faced similar login and other kind of problems. Windows started showing error messages like:

(0xc000007b) The application was unable to start correctly.
(0xc0000142) [AtBroker.exe] The application failed to initialize properly.

And I was not able to log into Windows. It was very annoying because every time I modified a file and restarted Windows, I couldn't log into Windows.


Then I tried to do the same process in a 32-bit (x86) edition of Windows 7 and it worked without any problem. No login or other kind of problems. That was really weird. It was surprising for me that one method was causing problems in 64-bit edition of Windows but the same method was working fine in 32-bit edition of Windows.

I always recommend 64-bit Windows users to replace original system file with your modified file in "SysWOW64" folder as well because 64-bit Windows contains an extra system folder "SysWOW64" which contains almost same files which are present in "System32" folder. So its always advisable to replace system files in SysWOW64 folder as well.

But my case was different. I was already replacing the modified DLL file in SysWOW64 folder as well but the login problem was always occurring whenever I was replacing files.

At last I found the reason behind login and other problems while modifying system files in a 64-bit Windows edition!

The reason is, when we directly open a 64-bit system file in Resource Hacker and save it at any other location, Resource Hacker creates its copy as a 32-bit file. And when we replace original 64-bit system file with our modified file and restart our system, Windows doesn't find 64-bit file and starts showing error messages. It happens because we replaced original 64-bit file with our new 32-bit file.

So what's the solution? The solution is, first copy the system file which you want to modify and paste it at some other location for example Desktop. Now when you'll modify it using Resource Hacker or any other similar tool such as Resource Tuner or Restorator, you'll be able to directly save the file after modifications because the file will not be in use by Windows.

Since you would be saving the same file, the file will remain as a 64-bit file. Now you can replace original system file with your modified file by first taking ownership of the original file and then renaming it to some other name and at last copy your modified file to same folder.

So the bottom line is, if you are a 64-bit Windows user and want to modify a system file, do not directly modify and save the file in your Windows. First copy it to some other place and then modify and save it. This method will keep the file as a 64-bit file and Windows will accept it without any problem.

A few users have faced such kind of problems while editing system files in 64-bit Windows, so I have modified all those tutorials and have put these new instructions. Some of them are as following:

Now 64-bit Windows users will not face any problem after modifying system files and they'll be also able to enjoy Windows customization.

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • no use of me , sir

  • The Problem Happened to Me, Thanks for the Solution VG !.. Nice Work

  • Solved my problem.

  • This was a really Flexible solution VG , I think we should contact Resource Hacker makers as well so they would take these little bug into account before the next releas of Resource Hacker ... Thanks for sharing VG.

  • Wow, thanks VG. You really are great genius! Excellent job.
    Will this also explain the same reason why my Explorer.exe crashed on startup (not happening now, but before yeah it was.)? I am also a Windows 7 64-bit user

  • VG

    ^^ Most probably yes.

    You are welcome guys. I hope it'll solve all 64-bit Windows users problems. :)

  • +1 Good to Know

  • Oddly enough, that´s how I have always done it. Scary to edit files directly in windows. This is just one of those funny things that can happen even to the best of us I guess. Glad that´s sorted now =) How is the tutorial I requested coming along by the way? I have been pimping this one theme to oblivion, and the only thing that is missing now is the folderband at the bottom with just 4 commands/icons (organize, new folder, layout and size) and possibly navigation pane to the right.. Waiting for it like Christmas! No rush VG, but HURRY UP! =)

  • VG

    ^^ lol. Guess what? I'm just writing the tutorial which you asked. ;)

  • Haha really? EXCELLENT! Thank you so much.

  • VG

    ^^ Tutorial is live: ;)


  • Dear VG, i found your solution very usefull because i'm on "explorerframe.dll" since 3 days AND i didnt found anything else on the web. ( not including resource tools )
    I'm doing a batch file to dynamicaly patch/restore explorerframe ( both folders ) and now it's fine !
    I like your explanations about the SysWOW64 folder because i'm going to make a custom win7 sp1 image.
    Thank you very much.

  • VG

    ^^ Glad to help you. :)

  • Just one correction: The explanation on why files opened as 64bit are saved as 32bit is not correct.

    Correct explanation: If you are using an 32bit editor, then when you try to open a file that resides in the x64 System folder (aka, System32) it will be redirected to the x86 version of that folder (aka, SysWoW64) thanks to file system redirections present in 64 bit editions of Windows.

    Any 32bit application who tries to open a resource from the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder will be redirected to %SystemRoot%\SysWoW64 instead, the same happens with Program Files folder.

    All these redirections happens on 64bit editions of Windows as part of the WoW64 mechanism.

  • Adendum: 64bit applications can edit both x86 and x64 files because the WoW64 file system redirections only affects 32bit applications.

  • Thanks Sir for this awesome post =)

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