Changing a Folder's Icon

by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 13, 2016)

Windows can be customized to a great extent. One of the ways to customize it is by choosing your own icons for things. For instance, you can change the icon that's used for a Windows folder. To do that, launch Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (later versions of Windows), navigate to the folder whose icon you wish to change, and right-click the folder. When the Context menu pops up, select the Properties option. In the resulting Properties dialog box, make sure the Customize tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Customize tab of a folder's Properties dialog box.

Click the Change Icon button, and Windows displays the Change Icon dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Change Icon dialog box.

At this point, you can type the name of an .ico file to be used as the folder's icon. Or you could type (or Browse to) the name of a .dll or .exe file that contains icons. You could also select from the set of icons presented in the list. Whatever method you use to choose a new icon, OK your way back to Windows and your new icon will appear for the selected folder. If you later want to revert back to the folder's default icon, go through the same procedure but click the Restore Defaults button before clicking OK.

There are a couple of points that should be mentioned about changing a folder's icon. One is that when you change the folder from its default icon, it will no longer show a preview of the folder's contents. Another point to be mentioned is that you can't change the icon of folders in a library. So if what you're trying to do isn't working, be sure you're not in a library.

 This tip (11724) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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