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Extract icons from EXE or DLL files

, 1 Sep 2008 CPOL
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Extract all the variations of an icon, including the ones ExtractIconEx() can't extract.



The class I introduce in this article is for extracting an icon from an EXE or DLL file. Though it's common to use the ExtractIconEx() Win32 API function for this purpose, ExtractIconEx() can't extract all the variations of an icon.

I had faced the problem, and made a class 'IconExtractor' as the solution to the problem.

Using the code

To use this class, instantiate it first with the filename from which you want to extract the icons. You should dispose it after use.

Then, call the GetIcon() method with the index of the icon you want, to extract the specified icon. The index is same as the nIconIndex for ExtractIconEx(). This method returns a System.Drawing.Icon object containing all the variations in size and color depth. You can use it for Form.Icon, NotifyIcon.Icon, etc. The proper variation will be selected by the system.

Use the SplitIcon() static method if you want to split the variations into individual instances. This method returns an array of icons, each element containing one of the variations.

using TKageyu.Utils;


using (IconExtractor ie = new IconExtractor(@"D:\sample.exe")) 
    Icon icon0 = ie.GetIcon(0);
    Icon icon1 = ie.GetIcon(1);

    Icon[] splitIcons = IconExtractor.SplitIcon(icon0);


How it works

The icons and other materials are embedded in the executable file in binary form. Those pieces of binary data are called 'resources'. They can't be read directly with .NET classes, because they are different from the managed resources that the .NET Framework can handle. They should be read with Win32 API functions such as FindResource(), LoadResource() etc.

This class reads binary data by using the functions in the GetResourceData() private method. The parameters given to the method are collected when the class is instantiated. The binary data is in similar form to an .ico file, and can be converted easily to be equivalent to an .ico file. It is given to the icon constructor after conversion, and will be parsed as read from an .ico file. The conversion is done in the CreateIcon() method.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Tsuda Kageyu
Software Developer
Japan Japan
In 1985, I got my first computer Casio MX-10, the cheapest one of the MSX computers. Then I began programming in BASIC and assembly language, and have experienced over ten languages from that time on.
Now, my primary languages are C++ and C#. Working for a small company in my home town, the countryside of Japan.
I'm an official member of WTL Team and in charge of the maintenance of the NuGet package.

Comments and Discussions

SuggestionFor WPF users, here is BitmapImage code to add to this project [modified] PinmemberAnarchi29-Oct-13 0:32 
BugAbruptly exits after loading some DLL files PinmemberDwedit_17-Dec-12 15:38 
QuestionJust a note PinmemberAleksei Karimov30-May-12 18:06 
GeneralGood PinmemberCarlos Ernesto Fuentes Rasique17-Dec-11 4:18 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberjoehoper20-Nov-11 3:48 
AnswerThanks Pinmemberpahancs13-Oct-11 16:06 
QuestionIconExtractor Program PinmemberScott Caryer26-Jul-11 9:24 
AnswerRe: IconExtractor Program PinmemberAbbydonKrafts31-Jul-11 9:40 
QuestionWould not work with Windows 7 64 bit OS machine Pinmemberelderdo6-Jul-11 13:02 
AnswerRe: Would not work with Windows 7 64 bit OS machine PinmemberAbbydonKrafts31-Jul-11 9:35 
GeneralRe: Would not work with Windows 7 64 bit OS machine Pinmembersolopaul_201219-Dec-12 4:40 
AnswerRe: Would not work with Windows 7 64 bit OS machine PinmemberTsuda Kageyu19-Dec-12 4:48 
GeneralUnable to Convert 256x256 Icons from Microsoft Applications to Bitmap Pinmemberjohndotthinix1-Dec-10 4:34 
QuestionHow to determine if DLL or EXE has Icons? Pinmemberf r i s c h11-Feb-10 22:10 
GeneralThanx! PinmemberMuammar©12-Sep-08 22:09 
GeneralGood work but this way has already been taken... PinmemberGuillaume Leparmentier11-Jun-08 2:45 
GeneralRe: Good work but this way has already been taken... PinmemberTsuda Kageyu11-Jun-08 10:43 
GeneralNice PinmemberSaurabh.Garg10-Jun-08 5:18 
GeneralRe: Nice PinmemberTsuda Kageyu10-Jun-08 10:45 
GeneralNice Pinmemberholy_spirit10-Jun-08 4:12 
AnswerRe: Nice PinmemberTsuda Kageyu10-Jun-08 10:42 

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