Resource Hacker allows you to change the aesthetics of components inside Windows (XP & Vista). You can reword text, change or add images, and resize windows. You could rename the Start menu, change warning messages, or add pictures to make your Systems Property window cooler.
To be honest, I was disappointed with Resource Hacker. I had a few projects I thought would be cool if I could just re-vamp a few Windows dialogs to make them more fully featured and modifying the look of Windows doesn’t really appeal to me. One example: Modify the remote shutdown window (Use the command shutdown.exe /m \[computer name] and the computer specified would shutdown with the message “This computer is being shutdown by [name] and will turn off in [X–] seconds.”) to have a button on there that would send the command shutdown.exe -a to abort the command if the user was still using the computer. I got so far as adding the button to the correct dialog, but apparently you can not add new functionality to controls.
Regardless of my disappointment, some info regarding Resource Hacker:
Be sure to always make a back-up of what you’re working on (.exe, .dll, etc.).
Copy something that you want to modify like C:windowssystem32winlogon.exe to a working directory and open it in Resource Hacker.
Browse the contents of the exe by opening it in Resource Hacker. Use the explorer tree to expand to Dialog -> 1300 -> English (United States) to see the shutdown dialog.
Make your changes and save it back to the working file.
You most likely won’t be able to just copy the new copy to the old directory because it will be “in use” by Windows. With a back-up copy made, use a program like Replacer in order to replace these “in use” files. To use replacer, you just launch Replacer.cmd and drag the files that you want to replace and want to replace it with (as prompted) into the command window and let it do the rest.
If this interests you, you can check out a pretty thorough Tutorial.
Download Resource Hacker.
XN Resource Editor is similar software package with a slightly different interface.