... a freeware resource compiler & decompiler for Windows® applications
Last updated: 4 June 2018
Copyright © 1999-2018 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.
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.)
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:
||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)
||filename - the new name of the modified or newly created file, either a modified opened file or an extracted resource
||filename - contains a resource being added to the opened file.
||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
||resource mask - Type,Name,Language
commas are mandatory but each of Type, Name & Language are optional
||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
||filename - contains a multi-command script, NOT a resource script for more info: -help script
||options - command-line or script (always logged to CONSOLE) other switches are ignored.
Batch file Examples (using rh.exe instead of ResourceHacker.exe in places for brevity)
- Switch identifiers (except -script) may be abbreviated down to a single char (eg -res or -r).
- Switch instructions do not have to be in any particular order.
- File names that contain spaces must be enclosed within double quotes.
@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.ico -action extract -mask ICONGROUP,MAINICON, -log CON
rh.exe -open source.exe -save savedicons.rc -action extract -mask ICONGROUP,, -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, ResourceMask
Note: Filenames that include spaces must be enclosed within double quotes.
Resource Hackerô Script examples:
//This script deletes all Language Neutral (0)
//string-table, menu and dialog resource items
//in MyProg.exe before replacing them
//with Russian (1049) items...
-add MyProg_Rus.res, MENU,,1049
-add MyProg_Rus.res, DIALOG,,1049
-add MyProg_Rus.res, STRINGTABLE,,1049
//This script updates 2 bitmaps and an
//icon in MyProg.exe ...
-addoverwrite Bitmap128.bmp, BITMAP,128,
-addoverwrite Bitmap129.bmp, BITMAP,129,0
-addoverwrite MainIcon.ico, ICONGROUP,MAINICON,0
//This script replaces all resources
//in MyProg.exe with all the resources
-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 once they've been compiled. This reduces their file size and it also makes it marginally more difficult to view and modify resources. I suspect this 'hiding' of resources is (or was) the prevailing objective of this process. Consequently, while it's generally not difficult to reverse engineer this 'packing' process too, in deference to these authors, I've chosen not to do this with Resource Hacker. As a side note, "packed" executables have become quite uncommon over the last 5-10 years. A large part of this is because executables are now almost always compressed within installers or ZIP packages. But software authors also seem to be exposing more, rather than less information in their executable files' resource sections. I suspect that earlier concerns about the loss of intellectual property with reverse engineering have finally 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:
- This software is not to be distributed via any website domain or any
other media without the prior written approval of the copyright owner.
- 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 5.0:
Changes since version 4.7:
Preview of next version
- Added: a new menu resource designer.
- Update: the dialog resource designer has had a major update
- Added : a optional binary view for every resource type
- Update: improved searching (with more context sensitive dialogs)
- Bugfix: many bugfixes