6:06 AM

RESOURRCE HACKER TUTORIAL




There are numerous things that you can do with Resource Hacker, but in this tutorial we'll be learning how to hack the file that contains most of the Windows default icons, the shell32.dll file.

Before you go and start hacking the file, it is EXTREMELY important that you make a backup of the file. Go to your Windows/System32/ directory and you see the file there. Make a copy of it (Right-click, "Copy") and then store it somewhere else, wherever you like.

"Hacking" that shell32

Now, start Resource Hacker, and open the shell32.dll file by selecting "File", then "Open" (or Ctrl + O).

Now, select "Action", and then "Replace Icon". A screen displaying the icon groups and a preview of the icon that accompanies the respective groups will appear.

For instance, you can see that the 'Run' icon group is resource 25, while the 'Help' resource is 24. If you need more help on identifying the various icons, here's a visual aid (right-click on link and Save Target As). Find the icon you want to replace on the right side of the window. Click on the "Open File With New icon ..." tab. Browse through your directories to look for the replacement icon and click "Open". You should see your new icon on the left side with the old icon on the right side. Select "Replace".

Once you're done with replacing the old icons with new ones, select "File" and then "Save As ...". Choose where you want to save this new customized shell32 file, for example on your desktop.

Replacing that hacked shell32

Once you're done with replacing the icons in the shell32.dll file, you would need to replace this new file with the old one. Two ways you could do that.

First, the easy way: use the program Replacer.

Second, the manual way:
(1) Boot into Safe Mode (press F8 while booting).
(2) Go to Windows\system32 folder and rename shell32.dll file to shell32.bak
(3) Copy the hacked shell32.dll to this folder.
(4) If you have a Windows\ServicePackFiles folder :
- Go to Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 folder and rename shell32.dll to shell32.bak.
- Copy the hacked shell32.dll to this folder.
(5) If you do not have a Windows\ServicePackFiles folder :
- Go to Windows\system32\dllcache folder and rename shell32.dll to shell32.bak.
- Copy the hacked shell32.dll to this folder.
(6) Reboot.

(Note: The folder Windows\system32\dllcache is a hidden folder. You need to go to Tools --> Folder Options --> View and make sure that the option "Show Hidden Files and Folders" is checked, while the "Hide protected operating system files folder" is unchecked. Only then will you see your dllcache folder. Alternatively you can simply type in C:\Windows\system32\dllcache in the Address bar of Explorer.)

Now, no matter which of the above methods you use, if the icons do not change after you've reboot, you need to rebuild the icon cache using Microsoft's TweakUI (it's free and extremely useful).

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