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How-To: Resource Hacking
May 23, 2005
Author: EscapeYourMind Manufacturer: N/A
Department: Software Model: N/A
Article Type: How-To Time Spent: N/A
 
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Introduction




Resource hacking is the process of being able to view, modify, add, and delete a program’s stored resources. Most resources are stored within.exe (executables) or .dll (dynamic link libraries). Editing a program’s resources offers many uses. For instance, say you wanted to customize the download dialog to add some cool image or animation to indicate the download progress. This way you’re no longer stuck watching the progress bar. You can also increase productivity by making some dialogs bigger or adding new menus for shortcuts.

If you’re a modder, you could use resource hacking to make your operating system match your case mod. Take Geno’s Half Life 2 mod for example. When you’re trying to show off your case mod, it would add a whole different level if your programs were branded with your theme logo and some screen shots in other places as he did. You could even change the text in lots of places to give it a theme feel.

Resource hacking is also useful in hiding annoying advertisements in your favorite programs. While BoxGods does not advocate the practice of removing a program’s advertisement, I feel it at least deserves a mention because of the annoyance and potential security risk that those advertisements pose. There is a vast amount of possibilities for resource hacking that will be opened to you for exploration. Now that you know a little bit about resource hacking, let’s dive in so you can get dirty with some hands-on action.


Resource Hacker

There are several programs out there that are made for resource hacking; coincidently my favorite program is called Resource Hacker. It is a freeware program that, despite not being actively developed anymore, is still one of the best I’ve seen. Resource Hacker is the program that I will mainly be using throughout this article--so go grab it at: here. You will find the download links toward the bottom of the page. Install it anywhere you like, and when that’s complete, open it up.


Warning

Now feels like the proper time for the obligatory warning message.  I’m sure you have heard this before, but I really mean it this time.  You can easily screw up your operating system with resource hacking, and in your endeavors, you probably will.  I know this because I did on several occasions while I was exploring.  That is why it is imperative that you backup all files you edit during this process so if you do screw something up, which you will, you can easily replace the files with the backup.  I will not be responsible if you make your operating system un-bootable and you don’t know how to fix it.


 
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