Open Folder Icon

ByLine
How to Change the Active Open Folder Icon in Vista
Synopsis
This will show you how to change the active open folder icon to use a icon of your choice to help tell what folder is open in all folder trees in the Vista. For example, in the Navigation Pane and Start menu All Programs.
How to Change the Active Open Folder Icon in Vista


information   Information
This will show you how to change the active open folder icon to use a icon of your choice to help tell what folder is open in all folder trees in the Vista. For example, in the Navigation Pane and Start menu All Programs. It makes it easier to navigate when the open folder icon is different than all the other folder icons.
EXAMPLE: Folder Tree Open Icon Before and After
NOTE:
Notice how the default yellow folder is changed to another icon now to help see which folder you have open currently.

BEFORE -------------------- AFTER --------------------- AFTER






OPTION ONE
Using a REG File Download

NOTE: To use a icon of your own instead of the one in the example above, see step 7D in the Manual Way below.
1. To Change the Active Folder Icon
A) Click on the Download button below to download the file below.​
Open Folder.reg
download

B) Go to step 3.​

2. To Restore the Default Active Folder Icon
A) Click on the Download button below to download the file below.​
Remove_Open_Icon.reg
download

3. Click on Save, and save the .reg file to the Desktop.​
4. Right click on the downloaded .reg file and click on Merge.​
5. Click on Run, Continue (UAC), Yes, and then OK when prompted.​
6. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.​
7. When done, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.​






OPTION TWO
Manually in Registry Editor

1. Open Start Menu.​
2. In white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.​
3. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below)​
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer

5. In left pane, right click explorer and click on New and Key.​
Reg_explorer.jpg

6. Type Shell Icons and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If Shell Icons is already here, then you can skip steps 5 and 6.​
Reg_New_Key.jpg

7. To Change the Active Folder Icon
A) In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on a empty area and click on New and String Value. (See screenshot below)​
Reg_Shell_Icons.jpg

B) Type 4 and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
New_String_Value.jpg

C) In the right pane, right click on 4 and click on Modify. (See screenshot below.​
String_Value_4.jpg

D) Type C:\windows\system32\Shell32.dll,137 and click on OK. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you want to use a icon of your own, then type in the full path of where you saved the icon instead.
Modify.jpg

E) The registry will now look like this.​
Shell_Icons_After.jpg

F) Go to step 9.​

8. To Restore the Default Active Folder Icon
A) In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on 4 and click on Delete. (See screenshot above)​
B) Click on Yes to confirm the deletion.​

9. Close regedit.​
10. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.​
That's it,
Shawn


Related Tutorials


 
Last edited:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Hey!! Thanks for this solution .. but I think its a little miss-labeled.

This changes the ACTIVE folder icon, not the OPEN icon!

I.e. In windows XP, every branch of the registry in Regedit that is EXPANDED has an "open folder icon" .. not just the ONE branch you are currently focused on (currently selected and highlighted).

The OPEN BRANCH icon is the functionality I was looking to duplicate!

Your solution does come close (and I thank you.. I can now tell which branch I am in when doing searches in regedit!) .. but I would really ALSO like to know which branches are open by showing a folder that is more open than the default.


------
haha I will leave my silly reply above just for enterintament. But I take it ALL back! I just ran regedit on my XP machine and to my surprise it was not happening as I've described above!

Therefore your solution is perfect and exactly what I was looking for (lol) THANK YOU!
 
Last edited:
is there a way to change the default folder icon? because all this does is it makes the folder the icon you want when its open =/
 
Hi hc03,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

Yes. In step 7D in the Manual method, substitute with the full path of the icon you want to use instead. ;)

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Hi Brink,

I followed your instructions, but it didnt change the folder icons... I did it through the manual version using my own icons..

on 7D is pasted this C:\Users\Home\Documents\Icons\Folder2.ico

Help! Not sure if im doing something wrong
 
Hi Noturchick, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Attach the icon file to a post so I can try to get it to work for me. If I can, I'll post back a reg file for you to use to do it with.

You might check for any typo's and to also try this path: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Icons\Folder2.ico to see if it will work.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Hey!! Thanks for this solution .. but I think its a little miss-labeled.

This changes the ACTIVE folder icon, not the OPEN icon!

I.e. In windows XP, every branch of the registry in Regedit that is EXPANDED has an "open folder icon" .. not just the ONE branch you are currently focused on (currently selected and highlighted).
Unfortunately we can't define separate icons for (a) the currently Active folder (the one in the tree whose files are being shown in the file pane) and (b) any folder containing subfolders which is currently expanded. Windows uses the same icon called SI_FOLDER_OPEN for both those situations.

You can use other values in the Shell Icons key, to define other icons, for example 3 is the icon for a closed folder and 29 is the Shortcut overlay arrow (set it to a blank transparent icon to have no arrow on shortcuts): "c:\folder\myblank.ico",0

Here's a list I have collected from a few web pages. I think they work in both XP and Vista, but I haven't tested them all.

0 to 13 are drive and application icons:
0 - Unknown application
2 - Default application
3 - Closed folder
4 - Open folder
5 - 5 1/4" Floppy
6 - 3 1/2" Floppy
7 - Removable disk
8 - Hard drive
9 - Network drive online
10 - Network drive offline
11 - CD drive
12 - Ramdrive
13 - Entire network
14 ?
15 - My Computer
16 - Printer manager
17 - Network neighborhood
18 - Network workgroup

19 to 27 Are the start menu icons:
19 - Programs icon
20 - Documents icon
21 - Settings icon
22 - Find icon
23 - Help icon
24 - Run icon
27 - Shutdown icon

Other icons
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 Networking folder
34 - Desktop
35 - Control Panel
37 - Printer folder
40 - Audio CD
41 ?
42 ?
43 - Favorites icon
44 - Logoff icon
45 ?
46 ?
47 - Lock
48 - Hibernate

To set one of them to an icon inside a .dll or .exe file, use the index number counting from 0, for example for the 4th icon in this.dll you would type:
"c:\windows\system32\this.dll",3

To set one of them to an .ico file, the string should end in ",0" because it's the first and only icon in that file. For example:
"c:\folder\subfolder\myicon.ico",0

Note, you need "quotes" around the path if it contains a space, but not around the comma and index number.
 
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