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Creating a Resource-Only DLL

A resource-only DLL is a DLL that contains nothing but resources, such as icons, bitmaps, strings, and dialog boxes. Using a resource-only DLL is a good way to share the same set of resources among multiple programs. It is also a good way to provide an application with resources localized for multiple languages (see Localized Resources in MFC Applications: Satellite DLLs).

To create a resource-only DLL, you create a new Win32 DLL (non-MFC) project and add your resources to the project.

  • Select Win32 Project in the New Project dialog box and specify a DLL project type in the Win32 Project Wizard.
  • Create a new resource script that contains the resources (such as a string or a menu) for the DLL and save the .rc file.
  • On the Project menu, click Add Existing Item and insert the new .rc file into the project.
  • Specify the /NOENTRY linker option. /NOENTRY prevents the linker from linking a reference to _main into the DLL; this option is required to create a resource-only DLL.
  • Build the DLL.

The application that uses the resource-only DLL should call LoadLibrary to explicitly link to the DLL. To access the resources, call the generic functions FindResource and LoadResource, which work on any kind of resource, or call one of the following resource-specific functions:

  • FormatMessage
  • LoadAccelerators
  • LoadBitmap
  • LoadCursor
  • LoadIcon
  • LoadMenu
  • LoadString

The application should call FreeLibrary when it is finished using the resources.

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