Sunday, October 19, 2008

Customize icons on your PC

This article will hardly be able to help improving your computer performance, but it might help you to find an easy way around your data stored and programs installed on your PC. I am talking about possibility to alter look of your icons, automatically assigned by your operating system. This one of the options we rarely think as customizable, but it is.

Making new icons

Let’s first make a new icon, solely with the standard tools, build in the Operating System, in 10 easy steps:

1. Start >> All Programs >> Accessories
2. Click Paint
3. In toolbar select Image
4. Click Attributes
5. Type 32 in both Height and Width and sure that Pixels are selected under Units, and click OK.
6. Now make your design.
7. If you want to add picture, store on your PC, you can do that as well: Edit >> Paste from >> Chose square picture with 32 x 32 pixels.
8. File >> Save As. Choose name and extension ICO from the drop down listing: name.ico.
10. Save your creation.

Most of the readers would definitely choose the more advanced graphic editor available instead of Paint (which I never use myself). The actions list will be the same, but the process of the picture cropping, editing, and resizing will be much easier.

You might even use one of the many available free online icons creation tools. For example, Real World Graphics Online Icon Maker ( or Sherv Icon Maker (

Storing new icons

More likely, you stored your icon at the default location, which is My Documents, My Pictures, or Desktop. It might be accidently deleted or misplaced. It is recommended to move it in the save location together with you system files.

1. Go to the system folder System32 and make a new folder with name My Icons, or any other easy recognizable name you like. Note that the folder might be hidden, if the Hide system files option is activated in the Folder Properties. You need uncheck it, if you want to access the folder.

2. Copy your new icon there, and use the folder for any new custom icons you might be willing to create in the future.

Changing icons

This operation is easy and straightforward.

1. Just right click on any program or folder icon, find Properties (usually the last line in the menu) and open the Properties Window.

2. Locate change icon button to execute the option. It might be in different tabs depending on what you are working with. For example, for folders, this button is under Customize tab, and for shortcuts on the desktop - it is under Shortcut tab.

3. Select browse and follow the path to your new icon file. Choose it and set it up for replacement.

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