Our foray into skinning has taken advantage of software utilities that either use the resident Windows skinning engine (uxtheme.dll) or provide their own skinning engine and format, such as WindowBlinds. The fact that you can hack Windows resource files and forgo the use of add-on skinning software has been mentioned several times in this book, and a particular resource hacking utility named Resource Hacker has also been referenced.
Resource Hacker (ResHacker for short) is a freeware utility that enables you to open, view, and edit Windows resource files. This enables you to edit system files. Although I don't recommend using ResHacker, I am making you aware of its existence. It can be used to do such things as hack resource files such as explorer.exe so you can modify the available icons in itthis is one of the files that supplies default desktop icons. You can also use ResHacker to create your own logon screens by hacking the default logonui.exe file (see Chapter 13, "Changing XP Logon Screens and Boot Screens," for more about logon screens).
ResHacker includes its own compiler/decompiler. This enables you to modify a resource file. Any Windows resource file can be opened and then hacked using ResHacker. Even if you just want to open a resource file and look at it, I suggest that you create a copy of the file and save it to a safe place, perhaps a backup folder. Then, if something goes wrong, you can copy the unhacked version of the file to the appropriate location.