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Sous-Chef's Kitchen Utensils & Appliances Review

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By hilaireg, Moderator Emeritus on 23rd March 2010, 02:51 PM
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Welcome; I wanted to offer a little "something" back to the XDA community in the hopes that it will benefit others and to show my appreciation to the folks that make XDA the great community that it is.

If you've gotten excited about the idea of cooking your own ROM's, you've probably had to spend several weeks of reading, asking questions, getting acquainted with your facility, and figuring out where you're going to plug your utensils and/or appliances. Now comes the easy part, cooking quality ROM's ... right? It's gotta be simple after that, I mean that was all the hard stuff ... right? Well ...

As any seasoned chef will tell you, the quality of a meal greatly depends on quality ingredients, utensils, and appliances. Ingredients are a personal preference and some chefs can make Macaroni & Cheese taste like the best meal in the world; and how do they accomplish this? In many cases, they use quality utensils and appliances and understand the limitations of them.

Equipping your kitchen with the right tools ensures that you're able to provide quality meals to your patrons - resulting in return visits.


The goal of this thread is encourage seasoned chefs to share their knowledge of quality tools that they use in their day-to-day activities of ROM cooking.

Some of these tools are free, others have a trial version, and others must be purchased. The goal isn't to promote any one specific tool, it is to provide objective (and hopefully unbiased) reviews of these tools. Lastly, a moderator or senior chef may periodically review and cleanup this thread/post to ensure that it remains on-topic and consistent in format ... so don't take offense; you'll always be credited for your contribution.

Format For Each Post

Take a moment to review existing tool reviews; the goal is to share your experiences in using the tool. The review should contain the following information:
  • Name of the tool (same as in Title of post)
  • Version
  • Author
  • Link to tool
  • Cost (Free, Adware, Trialware, Purchase)
  • Reviewed by [your XDA member name]; in case the post is moved near the top of the thread at a later date.
  • Summary of what the tool does (uses) and any example you can think of.
  • Tips on how to use the tool; things you discovered when using the tool.
  • Potential pitfall (gotcha's) when using the tool; things you discovered when using the tool.
  • Reference threads (optional); links that might offer some additional usage information.
  • No attachments please. Post them in the original thread for the tool.
Last edited by Laurentius26; 10th July 2010 at 09:03 AM.
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23rd March 2010, 02:51 PM |#2  
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Quick Post Index
Quick Post Index

Sorted alphabetically; at least I hope it is.

CAB/OEM Package Converters

CAB to OEM to EXT GUI Suite
Package Creator

Device Side Manifest (.DSM) Editors

DSM Analyzer
DSM Builder
DSM Dependency Dumper
DSM Editor


Syn Text Editor
XML Notepad

Graphics (.BMP, .JPG, .PNG, etc.)

GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)

Kitchen Porting Tools (SYS, OEM, etc.)

Initflashfiles Hex2Text
SYS Porting Tool For Ervius Kitchen

Process, Registry

FDC Task Manager (aka DotFRED)
Registry Workshop

Resource (.DLL, .EXE, etc.)

Dependency Walker
File Editor Suite
Resource Hacker
ROM Squeezer

Search/Comparison/File Managers

Beyond Compare
Compare It
Directory Opus
Last edited by hilaireg; 24th June 2011 at 12:13 PM.
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23rd March 2010, 02:51 PM |#3  
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List Of Tools To Review
List Of Tools To Review

Here's a list of tools that I'd like to review and add to this thread. The goal is to review the various tools that chefs will often use while preparing their ROMS; any seasoned chefs (aka volunteers)? If so, post your review in the thread.

Any others? Feel free to post a request in the thread or send me a PM.
Last edited by hilaireg; 19th July 2010 at 03:38 AM.
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23rd March 2010, 05:26 PM |#4  
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Senax's Library of Links ... continued
AT Commander

[PC] ATCommander;
The above link does not provide us with much information/links thus I searched some more and came up with; Same page though not reachable via the first link. Anyway here you can download the latest .zip or .exe.

Note: My anti virus started to whine as soon as I unpacked the zip, though when I ran it in a VMware workstation everything worked smoothly.

Also do not forget to check this link;

Here some AT Commands reference links provided in two pdf files;

[WM5/6] ATCommander;
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:24 PM.
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23rd March 2010, 05:26 PM |#5  
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Senax's Library of Links ... continued
Reserved for future expansion.
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:25 PM.
23rd March 2010, 05:26 PM |#6  
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Senax's Library Of Links
Senax's Library Of Links

There are links to SDK's, developer tools, power toys and more. More links are better than less, so we say in Holland Don't you agree??

Have a nice day folks,


How could I forget to mention;

System Center Mobile Device Manager Resource Kit Tools

That was my left sleeve of links...

Q: Are you going to make it any easier for us?
A: That's a good question! No, (not for the Moderator(s) ) I've no intention of that just yet. First more power links, while thoroughly reviewing stuff, then searching for new links (references) and so on. Then a new review

Have a nice day / night while clicking all them links in ...,


Here some links to SDK's to inform others and get them reviewed:

Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK for Pocket PC
Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK Documentation

Windows Mobile 6 Documentation

Windows Mobile 6 SDK Refresh
Windows Mobile 6 SDK Documentation

Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit
Windows Mobile 6.5 Documentation

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 DTK

.NET XML PowerToys:

Power Toys for .NET Compact Framework 3.5

& ; exception messages

Windows CE CAB Installer SDK (though named SDK its more a CDK (Commercial DK), because you've got to pay $5 for it).
Awesome for UC (User Customization).

Microsoft SDKs (every and all SDKs from MS) for;
  • Azure Services Platform
  • Windows Desktop
  • Office
  • Devices
  • Windows Live Services
  • Server Technologies
  • Social
  • Games
  • Web Development
  • Other

Developer Tools:

Installing Developer Tools on Windows Mobile

Development Tools and Resources for Windows Mobile

Development Resources for WM on


What Microsoft does not tell is that when they shot themselves in the foot with 'Vista', they were forced to introduce Win7 earlier as planned. Thus VS2008 (read WM) all its links have been moved to > :NULL
Well maybe not, though I've a hard time finding them .. and I do know how to tweak-search. We (the users) are forced into using VS2010 now! It's all 'embedded' now (cq sort of virtual). Ah, well.. it's not that bad

Windows Mobile 6 Localized Emulator Images

Brief Description
This package includes localized Windows Mobile 6 emulator images that can be used with Visual Studio to test applications on different localizations or simply as standalone emulators without Visual Studio 2005!

Microsoft Power Toys:

Windows Mobile Network Analyzer PowerToy (Released with WM5 though usable with WM6)

Windows Mobile Device Security Manager PowerToy(Released with WM5 though usable with WM6)

General (Embedded) WM 6.x CE PowerToys link

Nowadays there 'll be no more Power Toys from Microsoft, instead we get:

Not (all) Windows Mobile specific: Microsoft Solution Accelerators & ~ A-Z technet :Free power(toys);

MSDN Code Galery third party resources

Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta

XML Notepad 2007 References:

Since this nice free editor is on CodePlex it is nice to mention this link;

I also found this link in my BookmarX_Manager; (their MORE button is the best TUTORiAL I've seen online about XML Notepad!!)


There's a 'new' Hopper (device stress tester included In WM Developer Power Toys) for WM6> (not WP7). Hopper its two versions WM5 WM6;

[PC] works for device too if its cradled.
Q: Is a file signed with a signature?
A: Let us check that using SystemInternals_Suite (click on the left of that page) its CLI SigCheck.exe
SigCheck; Verify that images are digitally signed and dump version information with this simple command-line utility.


These links are NOT for a review, these are to inform people about ARM processors used in WM and WP:

ARM Classic Processors
ARM Infocenter


Phoenix SDK

Phoenix is the code name for a software optimization and analysis framework that is the basis for all future Microsoft compiler technologies. The Phoenix framework is an extensible system that can be adapted to read and write binaries and MSIL assemblies and represent the input files in an IR, which can be analyzed and manipulated by applications by using the Phoenix API. The code can then be written in binary or JITable form for execution.

It enables teaching and collaborative research in code generation, optimization, program analysis, binary transformation, and software correctness. Phoenix is used as a research platform by Microsoft Research and will be the universal compiler backend for upcoming Microsoft languages and development tools.

Phoenix SDK April 2008

How to install Phoenix SDK
Last edited by Senax; 2nd May 2011 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Phoenix SDK
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23rd March 2010, 09:32 PM |#7  
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Resource Hacker
Name: Resource Hacker
Version: 3.5.2 beta

Author: Angus Johnson
Cost: Free

Reviewed By: Sous-Chef


Resource Hacker is a freeware utility to view, modify, rename, add, delete and extract resources in 32bit Windows executables and resource files (*.res). Cursor, Icon, Bitmap, GIF, AVI, and JPG resource images can be viewed and WAV, MIDI audio resources can be played. Menus, Dialogs, MessageTables, StringTables, Accelerators, Delphi Forms, and VersionInfo resources can be viewed as decompiled resource scripts. Menus and Dialogs can also be viewed as they would appear in a running application.

Resources can be saved as image files (*.ico, *.bmp etc), as script files (*.rc), as binary resource files (*.res), or as untyped binary files (*.bin). Resources can be modified by replacing the resource with a resource located in another file (*.ico, *.bmp, *.res). Dialog controls can also be visually moved and/or resized by clicking and dragging the respective dialog controls prior to recompiling with the internal compiler. Additionally, resources can be added to an application by copying them from external resource files (*.res).

  • Always keep a copy of the unaltered file as a backup.

  • Even though it is possible to alter the resources, some applications automatically resize controls and dialogs during operation.
  • Some applications may cease to function when the resource file is altered.

Reference Links:
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:14 PM.
23rd March 2010, 09:32 PM |#8  
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Beyond Compare
Name: Beyond Compare
Version: 3.1.10

Author: Scooter Software, Inc.
Cost: Trialware, Purchase

Reviewed By: aruppenthal, Sous-Chef


Beyond Compare allows you to quickly and easily compare your files and folders. By using simple, powerful commands you can focus on the differences you're interested in and ignore those you're not. You can then merge the changes, synchronize your files, and generate reports for your records. You can compare entire drives and folders at high speed, checking just sizes and modified times. Or, thoroughly verify every file with byte-by-byte comparisons.

Once you've found specific files you're interested in, Beyond Compare can intelligently pick the best way to compare and display them. Text files can be viewed and edited with syntax highlighting and comparison rules tweaked specifically for documents, source code, and HTML. Data files, executables, binary data, and images all have dedicated viewers as well, so you always have a clear view of the changes. Beyond Compare is a "must have" tool; it will save hours of time. There is no better way to compare new builds and look for what has changed. When properly configured, it can display file versions which make integration of multiple sets of OEMdrivers a breeze. Swapping SYS files is never easier; you get to see dates of creation and can easily move files from one set to the other with a few clicks.

Here are some examples of how comparison can be used:
  • Compare one .\SYS folder version (ex: 23541) against an updated .\SYS folder version (ex: 23549) so as to determine what changes have occurred in registry files.
  • Compare one version of a ROM package (ex: Manila_2.1) against a newer version of the package (ex: Manila_2.1.1).
  • Compare a device ROM (ex: Mega_HTC_Europe_1.28.401.4) against another ROM (ex: Mega_TMO_UK_1.33.110.2) of the device to see what the HTC changed.
  • Compare specific files such as .XML, .PROVXML, etc.

  • You can copy the installation folder from your system to an external drive. You can then launch the .EXE from the external drive on another system - no need for installation.
  • Enable the "Send Files To The Recycle Bin" option to avoid having a file permanently deleted when it is removed from the list.

  • Editing INITFLASHFILES.DAT with the built-in editor is not recommended as it may cause corruption resulting in ROM issues.

Reference Links:
23rd March 2010, 09:32 PM |#9  
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Name: IcoFX
Version: 1.6.4

Author: Attila Kovrig
Cost: Free

Reviewed By: Sous-Chef


IcoFX is an all-in-one freeware icon editor solution for icon creation, extraction and editing. It is designed to work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows CE and Macintosh icons supporting transparency.

Easily convert your favorite images into icons, or icons into images. IcoFX gives you the possibility to create icon libraries or change icons inside EXE files. You can extract icons from other files, including Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Macintosh files. You can easily work with multiple files using the batch processing capability of IcoFX.

  • Always keep a copy of the unaltered file as a backup.
  • Choose free images to avoid potential copyright pitfalls.

  • None discovered.

Reference Links:
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:15 PM.
23rd March 2010, 09:32 PM |#10  
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Dependency Walker
Name: Dependency Walker
Version: 2.2

Author: Steve P. Miller
Cost: Free

Reviewed By: Sous-Chef


Dependency Walker is a utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module (exe, dll, ocx, sys, etc.) and builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. For each module found, it lists all the functions that are exported by that module, and which of those functions are actually being called by other modules. Another view displays the minimum set of required files, along with detailed information about each file including a full path to the file, base address, version numbers, machine type, debug information, and more.

Dependency Walker is very useful for troubleshooting system errors related to loading and executing modules. Dependency Walker detects many common application problems such as missing modules, invalid modules, import/export mismatches, circular dependency errors, mismatched machine types of modules, and module initialization failures. It handles all types of module dependencies, including implicit, explicit (dynamic / runtime), forwarded, delay-loaded, and injected. For example, a quick way to determine what additional packages may be required for an application:
  1. Open each .DLL/.EXE file in the package (ex: YouTube)
  2. Note the files that are flagged as missing.
  3. Search the source (usually an extracted ROM) for those files; odds are you'll need the entire package contents where the file is found.
  4. Repeat the process until all of the necessary files are found.

Dependency Walker runs on Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista. It can process any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module, including ones designed for Windows CE. Windows CE modules use the same module format (known as the "Portable Executable" format) that is used for modules written for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, and beyond. There is no version of Dependency Walker that actually runs on Windows CE, but you can open Windows CE modules with Dependency Walker on a standard Windows computer.

  • Create a folder with all of the common WinCE files in it and set a custom search order that includes this path and save it to a file.
  • Use RECMOD to recode modules that may be required.
  • Use the "/d:your_file.dwp" command line option to pass a custom search order file to Dependency Walker.

  • Dependency Walker automatically tries to locate dependent modules using the default Windows module search path. For Windows CE modules, this can cause errors since non-CE modules may be found in the default search path. To fix this, you can use Dependency Walker's "Configure Module Search Order" dialog to remove all standard paths and then add a private folder of your own that contains only CE modules.

Reference Links:
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:16 PM.
23rd March 2010, 09:32 PM |#11  
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FdcSoft Task Manager (aka dotFRED Task Manager)
Name: FdcSoft Task Manager (aka dotFRED Task Manager)
Version: 3.3

Author: FdcSoft (aka dotFred)
Cost: Free

Reviewed By: Sous-Chef


The Task manager application is a bunch of several useful tools in just one tool. It includes a Process manager, CPU usage, Application Manager, Service Manager, Device Manager (only WM2005 and above), Windows Manager, Notification Manager, IP Config utility, Ping utility, Net Stats utility, Registry Editor, and Run program utility.

Although, the application is intended to run on a Mobile Device, it is an excellent tool to use during the preparation of OEM packages. For example, the following procedure speeds up the process of converting from .CAB to OEM:
  1. Copy the files from extract .CAB to the device
  2. Import the registy settings
  3. Process the .PROVXML files.
  4. Reboot the device
  5. Test application

  • The application can run from an SD card.
  • .RGU files can be renamed to .REG; make sure to remove the hidden, system file attributes.

  • .PROVXML files require a minor adjustment; see reference link below.

Reference Links:
Last edited by hilaireg; 27th February 2011 at 03:17 PM.

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