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Windows 7: Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon

Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon

How to Change the Windows 7 Default Folder Icon
Published by Brink
06 Sep 2009
Published by

How to Change the Windows 7 Default Folder Icon

information   Information
This will show you how to change all of the default yellow folder icons in Windows Explorer to any custom icon that you want instead in Windows 7.

User Folder icons will not be affected by this.
Note   Note
If you have thumbnails turned on, then only empty folders will have the new icon displayed in Windows Explorer when the folder view is set to anything other than Small icons, Details, or List. Otherwise the folders will have a thumbnail preview icon when the folder is not empty instead. When the folder view is set to Small icons, Details, or List, then all folders will display the new icon since they are small icons.
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-thumbnails_on.jpg
If you have thumbnails turned off, then all folders will have the new icon display no matter what the folder view is set to in Windows Explorer.
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-thumbnails_off.jpg
warning   Warning
  • You can only do this while logged in to a administrator account.
  • This will affect all user account's folder icons on the computer.
EXAMPLE: Folder Icon
NOTE: This is Windows Explorer with the default folder icon (left screenshot) and a custom folder icon (right screenshot). This is with the folder view is set to Details.
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-default.jpg

Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-after.jpg




OPTION ONE
Change the Default Folder Icon
1. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search line and press Enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.

3. In regedit, navigate to: (See screenshot below)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-reg1.jpg
4. In the left pane, right click on the Explorer key, and click on New and Key in the context menu. (See screenshot above)

5. Type Shell Icons and press Enter. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: If Shell Icons is already here, then you can skip steps 4 and 5.
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-reg2.jpg
6. In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on a empty space and click on New and String Value. Type 3 and press enter. (See screenshot below)
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-reg3b.jpg
7. Right click on the number for the folder type, and click on Modify. (See screenshot above)

8. To Use a Custom Icon of Your Own

Note   Note
  • Be sure to unblock the icon file.
  • Be sure save the icon file in a location that all user account's can access (ex: c:\Users\Public\My Pictures) so the icon will be able to be viewed in their account as well.
  • You must use a 256x256 pixel icon .ico file for it to display properly in all icon sizes in Windows Explorer.
A) In the Modify window, type in the full path of the icon that you want to use within quotes and click on OK. (see screenshot below step 9E)
NOTE: If you change the icon's location (path), then you must also change the location here in step 8 as well for the folder to still display that icon in Windows Explorer.
"full path of the icon file with file extension"
FOR EXAMPLE:
"G:\Windows 7 PNG Files\My_Folder.ico"
B) Go to step 10.
9. To Use another Icon Included in Windows 7
A) Download and install the free program IconViewer for your 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7.
NOTE: This program will add a Icons tab to files (ex: imageres.dll) that contain a icon library in them so you can see the icons available in it.

B) In Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll and right click on imageres.dll, click on Properties, and click on the Icons tab.
NOTE: You can use any of the Windows 7 files that include icons in them that you want though. This is just the most common one.

C) Scroll through the icons and make note of the icon number of the one you want to use to replace the default folder icon with, then close the properties window. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: For example, icon number 190 for the green folder icon.
Name:  Icon_Viewer.jpg
Views: 63976
Size:  55.4 KB
D) In the right pane of DefaultIcon, right click on (Default) and click on Modify. (see screenshot below step 8)

E) In the Modify window, type in the location below and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
(full path of the Windows 7 file with file extension),-####
FOR EXAMPLE:
C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll,-190

Name:  Modify.jpg
Views: 65480
Size:  38.0 KB
10. The registry will now look similar to this with your icon path under the Data column in the right pane instead. (See screenshot below)
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon-reg4.jpg
11. If you have 64-bit Windows 7 Installed
Note   Note
To also change the default folder icon in the "Open" and "Save as" type dialog windows as well in 64-bit Windows 7, you will also need to do this step.

If you have a 32-bit Windows 7 installed, then skip this step and continue on to step 12 instead.
A) In Regedit, go to the location below:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer
B) Repeat steps 4 to 10 above using the same settings you used with the location from step 3.
12. Close Regedit.

13. Log off and Log on, or restart the computer to apply the new folder icon.
NOTE: Since you changed the default Folder icon, you might would like to change the Open Folder icon as well in the navigation pane to have them all changed.






OPTION TWO
To Restore the Default Folder Icon

NOTE: This option assumes that you did OPTION ONE above to change the default folder icon.
1. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search line and press Enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.

3. In regedit, navigate to: (see screenshot below)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons
4. In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on 3 and click on Delete. (see screenshot below)
Click image for larger version

Name:	Reg4.jpg
Views:	27098
Size:	199.2 KB
ID:	26814
5. Click on Yes. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Confirm.jpg
Views: 60598
Size:  44.3 KB
6. If you have 64-bit Windows 7 Installed
Note   Note
To also restore the default folder icon in the "Open" and "Save as" type dialog windows as well in 64-bit Windows 7, you will also need to do this step.

If you have a 32-bit Windows 7 installed, then skip this step and continue on to step 7 instead.
A) In Regedit, go to the location below:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Shell Icons
B) Repeat steps 4 and 5 above.
7. Close Regedit.

8. Log off and Log on, or restart the computer to restore the default yellow folder icon.
That's it,
Shawn





30 Sep 2009   #1
Hill Mantarou

Windows 7 Eternity™ 2009
 
 

thanks..this is really work..
but can you show how to make thumbnails shown in default folder icon after we change default folder icon with custom folder icon??

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2009   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Hill, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Sorry , but it's either the custom folder icon, or a plain plain yellow folder icon with the thumbnail previews.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2009   #3
Adiq

Windows 7
 
 

Is there any known way to have my custom folder icon in every folder (without showing the contents) with thumbnails in files (eg. photos)?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


19 Oct 2009   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Adiq, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Maybe with using a 3rd party program to change the default folder icon with instead, but I do not know of any yet for Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2009   #5
andrewa1

windows 7
 
 

Hi all, i tried it word for word but my new icons do not display. do i have to use a .ico or use a .dll file? i can't see where im going wrong, any help would be great, thanks.

Edit

How dumb am i..... i typed c:\windows\system32\icon67

instead of c:\windows\system32\icon67.ico

i forgot to add the file extension, feel so noobish. thanks for the guide.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2009   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Andrew, and welcome to Seven Forums.

I'm happy to hear that you got it sorted. Thank you for posting back with what the problem was.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2010   #7
knirb01

Windows 7
 
 

I've tried so hard to change the default folder icon, but it won't work. This is a great thread, but I need some more help. Brink, can you help me?

Thanks.

YES I MADE IT Thanks for great post!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2010   #8
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're welcome Knirb, and welcome to Seven Forums.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2010   #9
voiv

windows 7
 
 

Hey Brink.. good guides you have in this place. I applied this tip successfully but still there is a remaining default open folder icon.. so now: how to change that generic (open) folder icon?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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