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Manifest File Injection

, 9 May 2004
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Embed a manifest into an executable as a resource for XP Theme support.

Sample Image - ManifestInjection.jpg

Introduction

It's easy enough to include a manifest file with your application to provide XP theme support, but it's one more file to worry about when distributing an application. A more graceful solution is to include the manifest in the executable as a resource. It's not possible to include the manifest as a resource using the IDE because of the way the IDE handles embedded resources. This project aims at “injecting” a manifest directly into the exe after the exe is compiled, to provide full XP theme support.

Using the code

There are only a few key steps to get your manifest into the executable. The first is to read in the manifest as an array of bytes. That array is passed to the UpdateResource API provided by the kernel32 DLL. The only other code to note here is that, before UpdateResource can be called, you must call BeginUpdateResource. Last, in the finally block, EndUpdateResource is called regardless of the update success. The sample project implements the code as a static method, requiring the assembly path, the manifest path, and the name of the manifest to be injected (typically an int).

try
{
    // Read in the manifest as an array of byest to be injected to the 
    manifestStream = new FileStream(ManifestPath, FileMode.Open,
    FileAccess.Read);
    manifestReader = new BinaryReader(manifestStream);
    manifestByteArray = manifestReader.ReadBytes( (int)manifestStream.Length );
    // Begin the injection process
    updatePointer = (IntPtr)BeginUpdateResource(AssemblyPath, false);
    
    if (updatePointer == IntPtr.Zero)
    {
        Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHR(Marshal.GetHRForLastWin32Error());
    }
    if (UpdateResource(updatePointer, 24, ResourceName, 0, manifestByteArray, 
                 (uint)manifestByteArray.Length) != 1)
    {
        Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHR(Marshal.GetHRForLastWin32Error());
    }
}
catch    
{
    result = true;
}
finally
{
    if (updatePointer != IntPtr.Zero)
    {
        EndUpdateResource(updatePointer, result);
    }
    if (manifestReader != null)
    {
        manifestReader.Close();
    }
    if (manifestStream != null)
    {
        manifestStream.Close();
    }
}

The sample project implements the code as a static method requiring the assembly path, the manifest path, and the name of the manifest (typically an integer value) to be injected as arguments. Run the TestForms.exe to make sure it displays standard Windows controls. Use the sample app to browse for a .NET WinForms app (e.g., the TestForm.exe included with the project). Browse for a manifest file (also included in the sample project's directory). Inject the manifest into TestForm.exe and open TestForm.exe again.

For details on the API, see the MSDN article at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms648049(VS.85).aspx.

License

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

About the Author

TylerBrinks
Web Developer PageLabs
United States United States
I'm the founder of PageLabs, a web-based performance and SEO optimization site.

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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralManifest Tool (mt.exe) in Microsoft Windows SDK Pinmembermfhobbs24-Jul-07 6:40 
GeneralRe: Manifest Tool (mt.exe) in Microsoft Windows SDK PinmemberAcoustic24-Jul-07 7:40 
GeneralXP Style affects performance? [modified] PinmemberConex19-Mar-07 2:10 
GeneralRe: XP Style affects performance? PinmemberAcoustic19-Mar-07 17:35 
GeneralEmbedding using IDE build events Pinmembertalon21128-May-06 10:29 
GeneralRe: Embedding using IDE build events PinmemberAcoustic10-May-06 3:37 
GeneralAutomatic Build Pinmemberwolfgang_hg28-Dec-05 4:12 
GeneralRe: Automatic Build PinmemberAcoustic8-Jun-06 8:55 
QuestionNo touch Deployment?? PinmemberGeir Aamodt30-May-05 5:30 
AnswerRe: No touch Deployment?? PinmemberGeir Aamodt1-Jun-05 0:07 
GeneralManifest in signed assemblies PinmemberLouis-Philippe Carignan2-Feb-05 11:28 
GeneralRe: Manifest in signed assemblies PinmemberAcoustic3-Feb-05 4:15 
GeneralRe: Manifest in signed assemblies PinmemberPaul Carroll18-Apr-05 1:52 
GeneralRe: Manifest in signed assemblies PinmemberAcoustic3-Feb-05 4:18 
QuestionResource Types? PinmemberWayne Phipps29-Jan-05 23:32 
AnswerRe: Resource Types? PinmemberAcoustic8-Jun-06 9:05 
GeneralInjecting manifest into dll Pinmemberxpit10-Jan-05 0:48 
GeneralRe: Injecting manifest into dll PinmemberSpikiermonkey26-Jan-05 11:06 
Generalthis code was decompiled from ThemeMe Pinmember0x3D1-Jul-04 4:55 
GeneralRe: this code was decompiled from ThemeMe PinmemberAcoustic1-Jul-04 7:12 
GeneralEnabling XP theme support PinmemberBramH10-May-04 22:02 
GeneralRe: Enabling XP theme support PinmemberOha Ooh10-May-04 22:58 
GeneralRe: Enabling XP theme support PinmemberAcoustic11-May-04 13:23 
There are cases where those lines of code can cause an application to crash, and is designed to support Win NT based systems only. And the real power with this code is that you can enable styles for an application you don't have the source code for. The above lines are only a good solution for code you have access to.
GeneralRe: Enabling XP theme support Pinmemberjmt9n19-May-04 6:33 
GeneralRe: Enabling XP theme support Pinmemberjgeer28-May-04 8:24 

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