How Do I Change Icons in Windows 7?

Eugene DeFalco from Home writes:

I am running windows 7. I want to change the picture of one of my icons. I do the same as I used to do running XP. But this does not work on Win7. Can you help?

The problem you are experiencing is likely caused by a change in how Windows 7 allows users to modify icons. You may notice that some icons contain an option to manually change its image, while others do not. Windows 7 unfortunately only allows you to change the icons for folders and shortcuts (with a few minor exceptions, such as the Recycle Bin).

This doesn’t mean you can’t change the icons you want to change, however, it just means you need to add in another step and make shortcuts first. When a new program is installed, Windows 7 typically doesn’t place the original program icon on the desktop, but instead creates a shortcut to that program.

If for some reason you don’t have a shortcut, making one is incredibly simple. To get started, open up the Start menu and click “Computer.”

Computer Start Bar

Navigate to the folder containing the program icon you want to change. For instance, if you wanted to change the icon for Firefox, you’d navigate through the “C:” drive to “Program Files” and “Mozilla Firefox.” Right-click the program icon you want to change, and select “Create Shortcut.”

Create Shortcut

You may see a warning box appear on the screen stating that Windows can’t create a shortcut in that location. If the box appears, simply click “Yes” to automatically set the shortcut on your desktop. If the box doesn’t popup on the screen, click the new shortcut and drag it onto your desktop.

Creating Shortcut

Minimize the window and return to the desktop. Right-click your new shortcut and select the “Properties” option.


Navigate to the tab labeled “Shortcut” and click the “Change Icon” button located near the bottom of the window.

Changing Icons

Now you can modify the icon, either using one of the pre-installed options picture, or you can instead click “Browse” and choose an image file saved on your computer.

But what about those standard desktop icons like the Recycle Bin? Those are even easier. Click anywhere on the desktop that doesn’t have an icon and select “Personalize,” and then click the “Change Desktop Icons” link at the top-left corner.

Change Desktop Icons

Click the icon you want to modify and then click the “Change Icon” button. Select the new icon you want to use and click “Apply” to make the change.

Desktop Icon Options 

~ Ty Arthur

2 thoughts on “How Do I Change Icons in Windows 7?

  1. I have discovered FolderShine – a simple utility from CoolUtils, which offers a variety of folder icons so that you can replace dull yellow folders with more colorful ones

  2. I have so many folder Icons… I have changed my folder icon to what I want but it cant change… What I do… Any one know that…???
    I am using windows 7…

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