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[Tip] How to Modify System Files Using Resource Hacker in Windows

[Tip] How to Modify System Files Using Resource Hacker in Windows

Resource Hacker is one of our favorite tools to customize Windows appearance. Its free and allows you to completely change Windows look-n-feel. You can edit system files such as DLL, EXE, CPL, etc using Resource Hacker and then you can replace existing images, text strings, menus, etc which you generally see in Windows Explorer and other dialog boxes. Its an ultimate software for Windows customization lovers.
Whenever we post a tutorial to customize Windows UI, most of the times it requires use of Resource Hacker to modify a system file. Although we post all required steps clearly but many times people find it difficult to modify system files using Resource Hacker.
I receive so many emails on daily basis complaining about various error messages while using Resource Hacker tool. Generally people complain that they can't save the modified file in Resource Hacker. Windows doesn't allow them to save the file which is obvious because the system file is in use by Windows and Windows will never allow you to modify a system file directly.
That's why today in this tutorial, I'm going to mention all the required steps in details which are required when you want to modify a system file using Resource Hacker.
So if you also want to edit a system file in Resource Hacker and if you face a problem while saving the modified file, check out following simple steps which will definitely help you in modifying the file successfully without any problem:
STEP 1: DO NOT modify any system file directly in Resource Hacker!
Many people make this common mistake. They try to directly modify the system file in Resource Hacker which is wrong. Actually Windows automatically protects system files using a built-in service "Windows File Protection (WFP)" which doesn't allow users to modify or delete system files. That's why if you modify a file using Resource Hacker and then try to save the file, you get error message.
So first of all copy the system file which you want to modify and paste it at a different location for example Desktop.
STEP 2: Now open the file present at new location (Desktop in our example) in Resource Hacker.
STEP 3: Do whatever you want to do with the file. Replace or delete resources and once you finish editing the file, save the file. Now you'll not receive any error message because the file is not in use by Windows.
STEP 4: Now its time to replace original system file with the new modified file. For this task, you'll need to first take ownership of the original system file because by default users do not have any control over system files.
You can take ownership of the original system file using any of following methods:
STEP 5: After taking ownership of the original system file, rename it to some other name for example if the system file name is shell32.dll then you can change its name to shell32_back.dll or shell32.dll.backup or any other name.
STEP 6: Now copy new modified file from Desktop and paste it in the folder containing original system file. For example if the system file is present in C:\Windows\System32 folder, then paste the new modified file in the same folder i.e. C:\Windows\System32 folder.
STEP 7: At last restart your system and after reboot Windows will start using new file and then you can safely delete the original system file which you renamed in step 5.
That's it. If you follow all above mentioned steps properly, you'll never face any problem in modifying system files using Resource Hacker...


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