Change icons in Windows 11? This is how!

In Windows, you can change any shortcut icon, whether it’s a regular icon that points to an app, file, folder, or webpage, or one of the standard desktop icons.

This is useful if you do not like the default icon of an app or if you want to add a personal touch to your Windows 11 computer or device.

Modifying the icons for certain shortcuts, especially those with boring, generic icons, such as files, folders, and web pages, can also help you find and access them more quickly.

In Windows 11, the icons you use for your shortcuts can be stored in different file types:

An .ico file. This is the most well-known file format used for icons in Windows operating systems. It can only store one icon.

Then there is the .exe file. Icons can be embedded in the executable files of an app or program. An executable file may contain one or more icons.

Finally, there is the .dll file. Multiple sets of icons can also be embedded in Dynamic-link library (DLL) files. A DLL file can store one or more icons. Windows uses DLL files to store most of its icons.

Change an app or folder icon in Windows 11

Change shortcut icon

To customize an app icon, you must first create a shortcut to the app location. You can only provide this shortcut with a new icon. You can then use this shortcut again to open the app.

Right-click on the .exe file and click “Show more options”. Then click Copy to and click Desktop (create shortcut).

On the desktop, right-click the shortcut and click Properties. Then click on the Shortcut tab and click on the “Other Icon” button.

Other icon

You will then see the icons available in the executable file. You can choose one of these default icons or click Browse to select an icon yourself. You can choose from an .ico file or another output or select a DLL file. It differs per file from which icons you can choose.

Most standard icons can be found in the Shell32.dll file by location: C: WINDOWS system32 shell32.dll or C: WINDOWS System32 imageres.dll

Select the new icon and click OK. You have now customized a shortcut icon in Windows.

New shortcut icon

Icon of a shortcut to a website

If you have multiple shortcuts to different websites through the same web browser, then all shortcuts have the same icons. Namely that of the browser itself. If you want to set a different icon for each website shortcut, do so in the following way.

Right-click on the Internet shortcut. Click Properties on the menu. Then click on the “Other Icon” button.

Set another internet shortcut icon

Select the desired icon and click OK. Again, most Windows icons can be found in the C: WINDOWS system32 shell32.dll or C: WINDOWS System32 imageres.dll file.

Set new icon for internet shortcut

Customize icon of a standard Windows shortcut

Windows has a number of standard shortcuts. These are the This PC, Trash, Control panel, Network and files of user shortcuts. You can also provide these shortcuts with a custom icon of your choice.

Right-click on free space on the desktop. Click Customize. Then click on Themes and at the very bottom on Desktop Icon Settings.

Desktop icon settings

Select one of the desktop icons and then click the “other icon” button. You can now choose a new icon in file: C: WINDOWS System32 imageres.dll. Of course, you can also select an .ico file from your computer. Click OK to complete.

Custom icon for desktop icons

If you’ve changed your mind now and want to restore all desktop icons to their original icons then click the “Restore Defaults” button.

Change folder icon in Windows 11

You can easily change an icon of a folder in Windows 11. If you change the icon, no preview of the folder contents will be displayed.

Right-click on the folder, click Properties on the menu. Then click on the customize tab and click on another icon at the bottom.

Select the new icon for the folder from the list or click Browse to point to an icon yourself. Click OK to complete.

Change icon from folder in windows

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I hope you have helped with this. Thanks for reading!