Customize shell icons

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Tweak #36 - june 26, 2002

Many tweak sites and tweaking programs contain a registry hack to replace a specific icon in the Windows shell. The most common of this is probably the Recicle Bin icon, but some others are very popular too.

However, they don't provide a general way to change system icons.

This tweak will let you change all icons in the Windows shell.

The tweak

Go to the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

By default this key exists but is empty. In this key, add string values that have a number as their name.

The value of the newly created string values should be the full path of the file containing the icon.

If the file contains more than one icon, then the filename should be followed by a comma and then the index of the icon.

Example: To change the icon for a normal folder to icon 7 in c:\myfile.dll, create the following string value:

"3" = "C:\myfile.dll,7"

The settings may not take effect immediately. To activete them, you may have to delete the following file:


This is a hidden file in the Windows (or WinNT) directory.

Full list of all icons that can be replaced:

0 Unknown File Type
1 Default document
2 Default application
3 Closed folder
4 Open folder
5 5 1/4 floppy
6 3 1/2 floppy
7 Removable drive
8 Hard disk drive
9 Network drive
10 network drive offline
11 CD drive
12 RAM disk
13 Entire network
14 Network Service
15 My Computer
16 Printer Manager
17 Network Neighborhood
18 Network Workgroup
19 Start Menu Programs
20 Start Menu Documents
21 Start Menu Settings
22 Start Menu Find
23 Start Menu Help
24 Start Menu Run
25 Start Menu Suspend
26 Start Menu Docking
27 Start Menu Shutdown
28 Sharing overlay (hand)
29 Shortcut overlay (small arrow)
30 Default printer overlay (small tick)
31 Recycle bin empty
32 Recycle bin full
33 Dial-up Network Folder
34 Desktop
35 Control Panel
36 Program Group
37 Printer
38 Font Folder
39 Taskbar
40 Audio CD
41 Novel Tree
42 ?
43 IE favorites
44 Start Menu Logoff
45 ?
46 ?
47 Lock
48 Hibernate