I notice this is dated 2003.Images and Links FIXED!
Modifying your shell32.dll
Modifying your shell32.dll has become THE way for complete system customisation. What is your shell32.dll? It is the dll that contains most of Window's XP's icons. You could say it is the 'core' of Windows XP's icons. With this tutorial you will learn to modify your shell32.dll. This tutorial was made so that even 'newbies' can follow and understand, and the focus will be on changing icons. Also, if you already do not know, the operating system used here is Windows XP.
We are going to use Resource Hacker to modify your shell32.dll. So you are probably thinking to yourself, I could just do this in a more easy and quick way with a third party program such as Microangelo or Axialis IconWorkshop. But the truth is, most people cannot afford such software, and you learn a lot more this way. Plus this was the way I first customised icons my pc, and still do.
Some benefits of modifying your shell32.dll, using Resource Hacker:
* You do not need to invest in expensive software, in order to change icons on your pc.
* This is especially useful becaue, after you have made to changes to a particular dll file, you can save it for future use, so that you will not have to hack that particular dll file again. For example, on my computer I have several different dll files that are 'themed' with certain icon sets, such as MMX Mercury , Snow.E 2 , Crystal, or G.A.N.T. So when I feel like I want to use Crystal, all I have to do is just replace the current shell32.dll I am using, with my hacked one. Ten minutes later, if I want to use Snow.E 2, all I have to do is replace the Crystal dll with my Snow.E 2 dll.
* The task may be a bit daunting for un-experienced users.
* There is ALWAYS a possibility that your pc will not function properly if you carry out this tutorial. Although this is highly unlikely, back up your data before attempting any dll modification.
* The process can consume a lot of your time, but the the advantages greatly outweigh this.
So let me say this again: BACKUP YOUR DATA. I, or ntfs.org cannot be held liable to any data loss that might occur. So lets begin.You can click on any of the screenshots in this tutorial to view a larger version.
Part 1 - Getting ready
You will need the following to start:
* Download Resource Hacker. This is an excellent freeware program that lets you view, modify, rename, add, and delete resources from win32 executables and resource files. In simple terms: this the the program you will use to modify your dll files.
* You also need an extracting utility like WinRAR. Since most icons come in packs, they are often compressed into formats such as .zip or .rar.
* Download some icons. Some good places are deviantart.com, deskmod.org, or visit any other site that you know of.
* You may want to get this that I have, so you can view all the icons within the most common dll file that is hacked, the shell32.dll. Use it as a reference as most dll's contain hundreds of icons.
* Print this tutorial out, as you might want the instructions for the part where you reboot in Safe-Mode with Command Prompt.
* Like I said before, backup your data.
Note: If you have already downloaded your shell32.dll, at this point you can proceed to "Part 3- Save, Replace, Enjoy".
Part 2 - Modify it!
1.) First of all, extract your icons. Go to your My Documents folder, and make a folder called 'My Icons'. Now, extract your icons into that folder. If you are having trouble using winzip, or winrar, look at this screenshot. Your icons are now ready to be used for dll hacking.
2.) Lets get Resource Hacker ready. The file comes in .zip format. If you are having trouble with this, look at this screenshot. After you have extracted resource hacker, double-click on 'ResHacker.exe'. This will start Resource Hacker.
3.) With Resource Hacker open, press Ctrl+O. This will bring up a dialog box. Where it says 'File Name' type in "x:\windows\system32\shell32". Replace the x with the drive name where windows xp is installed on your pc.
4.) Now press, enter. This will open up the shell32.dll. Your screen should look something like this:
Since we are replacing the icons in the shell32.dll, click on the '+' by by the 'Icon Group' folder. Remember, the 'Icon Group' folder, not the 'Icon' folder.
5.) Here is where the list of the icons in the shell32.dll I have comes in. If you did not download the list earlier, you can get it here. First think about what icon you want to replace. Then, using Find in notepad, locate its number. For example, if I wanted to replace the Network Drive icon, then I would go to Edit -> Find... and then I would search for 'Network Drive'.
Now I know that the icon number for Network Drive is 10.
Go back to Resource Hacker, and go to the icon number. In my case, it was the number 10.
Now that you have located the icon that you want to change, lets go on to the next step. Now, with the '1033' selected, go to
Action > Replace Icon ...
And you should get something like:
6.) This is when we replace the icon. Click on the 'Open File with new icon...', this will bring up an Open dialogbox. We now want to go to where you extracted those icons. Find an appropriate icon to replace the icon you want to replace.
This will what your screen might look like:
Click on 'Replace'. Make sure you have the right icon selected though. If you see a little hand instead of the icon you wanted do not worry. Do the same procedure for every icon that you want to replace. The icon in place of the old one might look like a a hand, but don't worry about that.
Part 3- Save, Replace, Enjoy.
1.) Go to File -> Save As ..., and save your modified shell32.dll with the name 'shell32_modified.dll', in the following directory: x:\windows\system32\shell32. Replace the x with the drive name where windows xp is installed on your pc.
Because windows is always using the shell32.dll(even as your reading this), you will need to replace your current shell32.dll outside of windows. The easiest way to do this is to:
* Press F8 as windows boots up (Right before the windows xp boot screen).
* Choose 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt' as your option.
* Once you login, type in 'cd..' and then type that in again.
* Type in 'cd windows/system32
* Type in 'ren shell32.dll shell32_original.dll'
* Then type in 'ren shell32_modified.dl shell32.dll'
Now, login to Windows and enjoy your new, modified shell32.dll!
Using this technique, you can replace various AVIs, bitmaps, and cursors too. You can also use this same technique to modify other dlls.
Comments? Suggestions? Questions?