Shortcut Folder or File Icon Change

How to Change a Shortcut Folder or File Icon in Vista
This will show you how to change a shortcut folder or file icon to any icon you want.
How to Change a Shortcut Folder or File Icon in Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to change a shortcut folder or file icon to a icon of your choice. To change a regular file icon you must make a shortcut of it first, then you can change the icon for the shortcut.

EXAMPLE: Before and After Icon Change

Here's How:
1. Right click on the shortcut folder or file, then click on Properties.​
2. Click on the Shortcut tab. (See screenshots below)​
3. Click on the Change Icon button.​

4. To Select an Available Icon in Vista
A) Select a icon here. (See screenshot below)​
B) Click on Browse and navigate to another icon available in Vista.​
NOTE: Some common icon locations in Vista.
  • C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll (Recommended one to use)
  • C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll
  • C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe

C) Go to step 6C.​

5. To Create a Icon of Your Choice to Use
NOTE: You will only be able use Views set up to Medium Icons with these to have the shortcut icon display properly.​
A) Open the Start menu and click on All Programs, Accessories, then Paint.​
NOTE: Paint is located at C:\Windows\System32\mspaint.exe if you do not have the shortcut for it.​
B) Take a screenshot of the image you want to use for the icon of the URL shortcut.​
NOTE: You can press the PrtScrn key for a screenshot of the entire desktop, or ALT+PrtScrn keys for just the current open window.​
C) Go to the Paint window and Paste this image into Paint.​
NOTE: You can do this by pressing the CTRL+V keys while in Paint.​
D) Make any adjustments to the image you want in Paint.​
NOTE: It is best to not use a large size image to avoid distortion when Vista sizes it down automatically for the icon later.​
E) Save this image in Paint as a 24-bit Bitmap (*.bmp;*.dib) file in the Save as type drop down menu to a location of your choice.​
F) Now save this same .bmp image in Paint again, but change the file extension from .bmp to .ico manually in the File name field.​
NOTE: You will need to save this to a location where you can keep this for the URL shortcut's usage.​
G) Close Paint.​
H) Continue to step 6 to use the icon.​

6. To Select a Icon of Your Choice
A) Click on the Browse button. (See screenshot below step 4B)​
NOTE: For the best icon size results, use a 256x256 bit .ico (Icon) file in Vista.
B) Navigate to where you have the icon saved. (See screenshot below)​
C) Select the icon and click Open.​

D) Click OK to apply. (See screenshot below step 4B)​

That's it,

Related Tutorials



  • thumb_Shortcut.jpg
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New Member
Hello Brink,whenever I change an Icon in that same type of window where the computer Icons are stored,but in this case it's in a window where it doesn't show any of the computer Icons,just my own Icons that I have created,why does it only show the one Icon? It should show more in that window because it has room for lots of Icons.Could you please reply back Brink whenever you have a chance,Thank's!


Staff member
Hello dtheincredible,

The icon location will always display at the one for the current icon. You can click on the Browse button to go the locations in the NOTE under step 4B instead to select another icon.

Hope this helps,


maybe a bit late but can i also change this automatically?

like with a folder you can do it with desktop.ini, if this is possible how can i do this?

because i have many scortcuts i would like to change and it will take days to do this hope u can help me


Staff member
Hello Gingerino, and welcome to Vista Forums.

I'm afraid that I'm not aware of a way to do so. :(