You haven't been to my site for a very long time have you? I compress ALL my programs now to make the EXE's smaller. A 40KB VB EXE can easily be shrunk down to 12KB. Also, since it compresses - all plain text in the EXE file is no longer plain text.
You may use the program to only optimize your EXE without compressing - or do both. It was written in assembler. To force you to visit my site, I'm not going to tell you where I got the program. Instead, you'll just have to go to my site's Recommended Links page and find out for yourself. heh
And uh, I know what I'm talking about here. If you do this:
Open File For Binary As #1
Put #1, , CStr(AnyVariable)
It will properly save EXACTLY what's in that variable and nothing more and nothing less.
As for an alternative to using resource files, see if you can do something with PEBundle by the same guy who made the EXE compresser.