Enumerating Binary Resource Languages

The small application is a goos sample and useful tool in the same time. It enumerates PE binary resources and counts languages used. Why? Normally you want single language of resources, however Visual Studio IDE does not show you languages in a convenient way and it is so easy to make a language mess which does not bite you immediately but might bring you troubles later. Apart from this there was a suspicion that language mess might cause runtime bugs on UpdateResource API.

The application gets you a summary of languages used and returns with exit code (checkable using e.g. errorlevel) indicating number of languages.

Output is TSV: LANGID, Language Name, Resource Count:

C:\>ListResourceLanguages.exe C:\Windows\syswow64\shell32.dll
1049    Russian 545
1033    English 3318

Download links:

Resource Tools: Custom Resource Types

This update for Resource Tools adds an option to access custom resource types, such as FILE, TYPELIB, REGISTRY etc. It lets enumerate the resource, and load/save them. The COM interafce adds new Items property; the code snippet below accesses type library of image2.dll and saves it into external tyle library file image2.tlb:

image = new ActiveXObject("AlaxInfo.ResourceTools.Image");
image.Items("TYPELIB").Item(1).SaveToFile(null, "imapi2.tlb");

Additionally, image.EndUpdate(false) call makes the object close all references to the underlying file so that it can be available for other operations (e.g. overwrite), and the COM object might be further re-initialized and reused.

Download links:

Resource Tools: 64-bit build

I rebuilt the Resource Tools utility in 64-bits to, supposedly, be able to be good with resources on 64-bit binaries (actually 32-bit code might be dealing with those fine also?). Anyway, the build is here and the tool available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

In particular, both 32-bit and 64-bit JavaScript scripts hosted by Windows Scripting Host (respectively, 32-bit from C:\Windows\syswow64 or 64-bit from C:\Windows\system32 – in 64-bit Windows) can leverage the tool in file manipulation.

This utility is specifically helpful in automating steps which involve resource updates, such as to apply OEM branding, or resource-based file operations. The code snippet below archives a copy of DLL and PDB files for published release into a .7z archive named using current file version of the DLL itself (that is, it created a ResourceTools.dll- archive file out of ResourceTools.dll and corresponding ResourceTools.pdb files):

image = new ActiveXObject("AlaxInfo.ResourceTools.Image");
image.Initialize(inputDirectory + fileName);
productVersion = image.VersionInfo.ProductVersionString;
fileVersion = image.VersionInfo.FileVersionString;
WScript.Echo(" Product Version: " + productVersion);
WScript.Echo(" File Version: " + fileVersion);
shell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell");
currentDirectory = shell.CurrentDirectory;
shell.CurrentDirectory = currentDirectory + "\\" + inputDirectory;
try {
    shellExec = shell.Exec(
        "\"" + toolDirectory + "7z" + "\" " +
        "a -t7z " +
        "\"" + currentDirectory + "\\" + outputDirectory + "ResourceTools.dll-" + fileVersion + ".7z" + "\" " +
        "ResourceTools.dll" + " " +
        "ResourceTools.pdb" + " " +
    while (shellExec.Status == 0)
    if (shellExec.ExitCode != 0)
        throw new Error("7-Zip Exec failed, .ExitCode " + shellExec.ExitCode.toString());
    WScript.Echo(" Output File: " + "ResourceTools-" + fileVersion + ".7z");
finally {
    shell.CurrentDirectory = currentDirectory;

Title: Alax.Info Resource Tools
Version: 1.0.6
Download Links: ResourceToolsSetup.msi (Win32, 32-bit) and ResourceToolsSetup-x64.msi (x64, 64-bit)

Utility Clearance: Export AVI Resources

ExportAviResources walks through AVI video clips attached as resources to a binary file and exports them into separate files.

Such clips can be used with Animation Controls for GUI animations. You might want to run the utility against SYSTEM32/SYSWOW64 folders to see if any of stock animations are good for you:

D:\>for %i in (C:\Windows\system32\*.dll) do "..\Utilities\ExportAviResources\x64\Release\ExportAviResources.exe" "%i"

A binary [Win32, x64] and Visual C++ .NET 2010 source code are available from SVN.

Yet another time about FFDShow

While new NTFS Links propery page is looking for contained junction points, it shows an animated picture to indicate opertation in progress. The picture is a stock resource and is taken from shell32.dll resource type “AVI” name 150. It is an Audio Video Interleave (AVI) file embedded into binary resources as is.

Alax.Info NTFS Links Junction Points Property Page in Operation

What is however interesting is that being saved as a file and double-clicked, it appeared to be crashing the player process. What might go wrong with a stock resource, is it FFDShow again? This was the first guess and yes, it was FFDShow again. This is a “video only” file with video encoded with MS-RLE compression, FOURCC ‘RLE ‘. Microsoft provides a VCM codec for the format through msrle32.dll.

However, as already discovered, FFDShow register itself under extremely high merit and for this reason is preferred as a video decoder and attempts to handle the decompression itself. But it fails, and miserably enough to crash the hosting process.

FFDShow Crash

The registration under unfairly high merit defeats the purpose of DirectShow’s powerful Intelligent Connect approach. “Why do you need a video decoder? You have FFDShow Video Decoder, forget about the others. Oops, sorry, I don’t like your file.”

Is there any way to stop the villain? Of course, there is.

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Developer Goodies: ListResources to create an XML file from binary resources

At some point you might need to start paying special care for resources. Why? Perhaps there might be a number of reasons, I had to when I was dealing with first OEM versions of software and then internationalization. The whole idea is to let development team keep on working on regular version of software, in English language, while build OEM versions and localized versions of software by only manipulation with resources. It is an extremely important aspect of development because engineers always have full hands of work to do and there is no justification for getting extra work for them to deal with.

The first stage is development of regular English version of software and then other people replace resources to achieve desired branding (strings, titles, messages, icons, logos, version information, digital signatures; localized version whether they are resource duplicates for other languages or satellite DLLs), synchronize translations, prepare setup and distribution files.

One of the really simple and useful utilities on this way is the one that converts linked resources into a human readable file, so that it is possible to search for specific string through all resources of a binary (and actually all resources of the package if a batch makes such text files out of all binaries and then Find in Files Visual Studio .NET IDE feature is used).

ListResources writes an XML formatted file and prints infomration about:

  • resource types, identifiers and languages
  • extended information about:
    • menus RT_MENU
    • dialog templates RT_DIALOG
    • string tables RT_STRING
    • message tables RT_MESSAGETABLE
    • version information RT_VERSION
C:\ListResources "%WINDIR%\system32\winhttp.dll" >winhttp.xml

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