Resource HackerTM

... a freeware resource compiler & decompiler for Windows® applications

Version 5.1.7
Last updated: 3 January 2019
Copyright © 1999-2019 Angus Johnson
Freeware - no nags, no ads and fully functional.


Resource Hackerô is a resource editor for 32bit and 64bit Windows® applications. It's both a resource compiler (for *.rc files), and a decompiler - enabling viewing and editing of resources in executables (*.exe; *.dll; *.scr; etc) and compiled resource libraries (*.res, *.mui). While Resource Hackerô is primarily a GUI application, it also provides many options for compiling and decompiling resources from the command-line.

Resource Hacker


Compiling can be initiated either by opening an existing resource script file, or by creating one from scratch using Resource Hacker's editor.

A complete list of Resource-Definition Statements can be found here.

Additional features of Resource Hacker's compiler include: The #INCLUDE directive (to access definition statements in header files etc) can be nested to multiple levels, as can the #IF, and #IFDEF directives. #DEFINE, #UNDEF, #IF, #ELIF, #ELSE, #IFDEF, #IFNDEF, #INCLUDE, and #PRAGMA directives are all supported. Strings, between double-quote (") characters, may contain typical 'C' style backslashed 'escaped' characters ó \t , \n , \\ , \" , \x, \u and \377 (octal). A double-quote within a string must be 'escaped' using either a preceding backslash or with another double-quote. Script comments are preceded either by double forward-slashes (//) or by a semi-colon (;). Filenames with relative paths are allowed. Filenames that contain spaces must be enclosed within double-quote characters.

Compiler error messages are reported, even errors nested within INCLUDE statements ...

Viewing and Editing Resources:

Once a resource file has been opened, its resources will generally be displayed as either an image (or group of images) or as decompiled text. Binary resources, usually images, can't be edited directly with Resource Hacker, but they can still be very easily exported and imported once they've been modified by an external image editor. (I see no benefit in duplicating what third-party image editors do so well.)

Menu and Dialog resource types have their own WYSIWYG designers:

Binary resources that have unknown formats will be displayed as read-only binary text. (Any resource can also be viewed in this fashion if desired.)

Other Actions:

Command Line Syntax:

Just about all the functionality of Resource Hackerô can be accessed from the command line without having to open the Resource Hackerô GUI.
Command line instructions and Resource Hackerô scripts can remove the drudgery entailed with repeating Resource Hackerô tasks.
Command-line instructions are a combination of switch statements followed by switch parameters as explained in the following table: Command line statements:

Switch         Parameter
-open  filename - the name of the file that is to be modified. It should be a Windows PE file (*.exe, *.dll etc) or a compiled or uncompiled resouce file (*.res or *.rc)
-save  usually a filename for the new or modified file, but can also be a folder when extracting multiple resources
-resource  filename - contains a resource being added to the opened file.
-action  action to be performed on the opened file
  • add - add a resource, but fails if it already exists
  • addoverwrite - add a resource, and overwriting if it already exists
  • addskip - add a resource, but skipping if it already exists
  • compile - compiles a resource script file (*.rc) to a binary resource file (*.res)
  • delete - delete a resource
  • extract - extract a resource
  • modify - modify a resource
  • changelanguage(langID) - changes the language of ALL resources
-mask  resource mask - Type,Name,Language
commas are mandatory but each of Type, Name & Language are optional
-log  Filename or CONSOLE or NUL
CONSOLE can be abbreviated to CON
Logs the details of the operation performed
If this switch is omitted, the log will be written to resourcehacker.log
-script  filename - contains a multi-command script, NOT a resource script for more info: -help script
-help  options - command-line or script (always logged to CONSOLE) other switches are ignored.

  1. Switch identifiers (except -script) may be abbreviated down to a single char (eg -res or -r).
  2. Switch instructions do not have to be in any particular order.
  3. File names that contain spaces must be enclosed within double quotes.

Batch file Examples (using rh.exe instead of ResourceHacker.exe in places for brevity)

ResourceHacker.exe -help
@pause  :: to see the console output before the CMD window closes.

rh.exe -open .\in\resources.rc -save .\out\resources.res -action compile -log NUL

rh.exe -open old.exe -save new.exe -action addskip -res my.ico -mask ICONGROUP,MAINICON,

rh.exe -open source.exe -save .\icons -action extract -mask ICONGROUP,, -log CON

rh.exe -open source.exe -save .\dialogs.rc -action extract -mask DIALOG,, -log rh.log

ResourceHacker.exe -script myscript.txt

Resource Hackerô Scripts:

Resource Hackerô Scripts are executed from the command-line using the following syntax:

  ResourceHacker.exe -script ScriptFile

Resource Hackerô Scripts are text files with the following format:

  //comments are preceded by double slashes
  //one or more of the following commands ...
  -add          SourceFile, ResourceMask
  -addskip      SourceFile, ResourceMask
  -addoverwrite SourceFile, ResourceMask
  -addoverwrite SourceFile, ResourceMask
  -modify       SourceFile, ResourceMask
  -extract      TargetFile or TargetFolder, ResourceMask
  -delete       ResourceMask

Note: Filenames that include spaces must be enclosed within double quotes.

Resource Hackerô Script examples:

rh_script_myprog_rus.txt -

  //This script deletes all Language Neutral (0)
  //string-table, menu and dialog resource items
  //in MyProg.exe before replacing them
  //with Russian (1049) items...	
  Exe=    MyProg.exe
  SaveAs= MyProg_Rus.exe
  Log=    MyProg_Rus.log	
  -delete  MENU,,0
  -delete  DIALOG,,0
  -delete  STRINGTABLE,,0
  -add     MyProg_Rus.res, MENU,,1049
  -add     MyProg_Rus.res, DIALOG,,1049
  -add     MyProg_Rus.res, STRINGTABLE,,1049

rh_script_myprog_upd_images.txt -

  //This script updates 2 bitmaps and an
  //icon in MyProg.exe ...	
  Exe=    MyProg.exe
  SaveAs= MyProg_Updated.exe	
  -addoverwrite Bitmap128.bmp, BITMAP,128,
  -addoverwrite Bitmap129.bmp, BITMAP,129,0
  -addoverwrite MainIcon.ico, ICONGROUP,MAINICON,0

rh_script_myprog_upd_all.txt -

  //This script replaces all resources
  //in MyProg.exe with all the resources
  //in MyProgNew.res	
  Exe=    MyProg.exe
  SaveAs= MyProg_Updated.exe
  -delete  ,,,            //delete all resources before...
  -add MyProgNew.res ,,,  //adding all the new resources

"Packed" or "Compressed" Executables:

Some executable files are "packed" or "compressed" using compression algorithms. Not only does this reduces file size, it also makes viewing and modifying resources marginally more difficult. I suspect that this resource 'hiding' is (or was) a common objective in this process. Anyhow, in deference to these authors, I've chosen not to unpack files with Resource Hacker. As a side note, it seems that "packed" executables have become quite uncommon over the last 5-10 years, and software authors are exposing more rather than less information in executable resources. I suspect that earlier concerns about the loss of intellectual property with reverse engineering have been allayed.

Licence to Use - Terms and Conditions:

This Resource HackerTM software is released as freeware provided that you agree to the following terms and conditions:
  1. This software is not to be distributed via any website domain or any other media without the prior written approval of the copyright owner.
  2. This software is not to be used in any way to illegally modify software.
DISCLAIMER: A user of this Resource HackerTM software acknowledges that he or she is receiving this software on an "as is" basis and the user is not relying on the accuracy or functionality of the software for any purpose. The user further acknowledges that any use of this software will be at the user's own risk and the copyright owner accepts no responsibility whatsoever arising from the use or application of the software.

The above licence terms constitute "copyright management information" within the meaning of Section 1202 of Title 17 of the United States Code and must not be altered or removed from the licensed works. Their alteration or removal from the licensed works, and the distribution of licensed works without all the above licence terms in an unaltered way, may contravene Section 1202 and give rise civil and/or criminal consequences.

Download version 5.1.7:

EXE install (2.9MB)

ZIP install (3.0MB)

Changes in 5.1.7: