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Windows 7: Global (all users) vs User Icon question

11 Apr 2010   #1

Global (all users) vs User Icon question

I have a new Windows 7 machine with an Admin account and two standard accounts for both my wife and I. Recently, when she changed the icon associated with a Global icon (program for all users) on the desktop (which required Admin permissions) it wiped out the icons in my desktop and replaced them with the idiotic blank white page icon.

Question, is there anyway to set up shortcut desktop icons if they are Global to have individualized appearances for different user accounts?

Note: I do not have access to wife's account thru mine, only thru the Admin account. I realize this is why I got the blank.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2010   #2


Wow, no help, eh?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home 64, Vista Ultimate 64

Are you asking if you can have a shortcut on the "all users" Desktop, but have it appear with different icons for different users? Of course not. The icon path is kept in the shortcut (.lnk) file and if you share the shortcut you share the icon. That's what the "per-user" Desktop is for - to store the user-specific items. So if you want different appearance, create two shortcuts and place them in each user's Desktop. Customize them as you like.

Now, if you insist on doing this even though it is against the OS design, maybe you can trick the shortcut into having its icon on a path that is different for each user. Maybe you can edit the .lnk file to look for the icon in %USERPROFILE%, and then place a different icon with the same file name in the user profile directory if each user. There is a pretty good chance this won't work though because the shortcut files may not expect to have environment variables like %USERPROFILE% in the icon path.

Another thing you can do is to have 2 shortcuts and have a login script that copies the right one to the shared Desktop. This however will require admin rights and will also not work with fast user switching.

And finally, maybe a third-party software like Microangelo On Display may be able to customize the icons per user. I don't know for sure, you'll have to try it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Apr 2010   #4


I don't think that's what I was trying to do "one shortcut two different appearences" but maybe I was. Here's the exact scenario:

I had Norton on the Admin account, created 2 standard accounts, and when my wife changed the icon on her desktop, it asked for admin credentials. When she changed it, it changed it on both my desktop and the Admin desktop, but on the admin, it showed the same as hers (admin has rights to her folder) but on mine it came up blank white. I want to be able to have different icons on each of the three desktops that all point to the same program. Is it possible?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home 64, Vista Ultimate 64

Well, sure it is possible. You can have as many shortcuts as you want pointing to the same program. First log in as admin and delete the shortcuts from the shared Desktop and each user's Desktop. Then log in as each user and create an icon in that user's Desktop (for best results do it directly on the Desktop, and not the C:\users\...\Desktop folder). Customize each shortcut as you wish.

Sure, it's a bit of a pain to do all this, but it will probably be easier than trying to figure out what's wrong with your existing shortcuts.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Global (all users) vs User Icon question

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