Thursday, December 3, 2009


Change The Icon For All Files Of A Type In Windows 7 And Vista

Every file type has a default icon, the icon shown for all files with filename extensions linked to that type. Yet Windows Vista And Windows 7 offers no way to choose your own icons—apart from editing the Registry directly—despite the fact that you could do this right in Windows Explorer in previous versions of Windows.

The (Default) value in the DefaultIcon key contains the full path and filename of the file containing the default icon. Often it points right to the application executable that uses the file (e.g., excel.exe for .xls files), but sometimes it references a .dll or .ico file containing a bunch of icons. The filename is then followed by a comma and then a number (called the index) that indicates which icon to use.
For example:
C:\Program Files\Photoshop\Photoshop.exe, 15 
points to the file Photoshop.exe, located in the C:\Program Files\Photoshop folder, and references the 16th icon in that file (0 or no number indicating the first icon, 1 indicating the second, and so on).
Occasionally, you may see something like this in the DefaultIcon key:
Here, %SystemRoot% is a variable that represents the Windows folder (usually C:\Windows). When the (Default) value in which this information is stored is an expandable string value, Windows converts the filename to C:\Windows\System32\wmploc.dll before retrieving the icon. You may also sometimes notice a negative value following the filename (-731, in this case) which represents the resource ID of the icon to use—as opposed to a positive value indicating the index (position) of the icon as described above.

In most cases, you can specify your own icon for a given file type by placing the full path to an .exe, .dll, .ico, or .bmp file in the DefaultIcon key’s (Default) value. (Hint: there are some nice icons in \Windows\System32\shell32.dll.)

Include a number to indicate which icon to use, or leave out the number to use the first icon in the file. In some cases, Windows Explorer will recognize the change right away, although due to the way Windows Vista or Windows Seven caches icons, you may need to restart Windows for your change to fully take effect.

The easiest way to change an icon for a file type is with a third-party tool like File Type Doctor. (available at


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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