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Change Your Windows 7 Library Icons the Easy Way

Have you ever wanted to swap out the Windows default icons with something else? The new Windows 7 library icons can be changed with a hack to a text file, but there’s an easier way. We’ll explain both.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Open up Windows Explorer, and check out the Libraries.

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For today’s lesson, we’ll teach you how to change those icons with something else. (It’ll also work for your own custom Libraries).

Change Library Icons the Easy Way

To change the icons out the easy way, we’ll use a tiny tool called Library Icon Changer from a user over at deviantART. Thanks to Pratik for pointing us towards this tool!

Once you’ve opened up the tool, you’ll be presented with list of icons and libraries… just click on the Library on the right-hand side, and then choose the icon on the left, and click “Select Icon from dll”. You can also use the Select new Icon from file instead, if you don’t want to use a default Windows icon.

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Note that if you want to restore the icon to default, you have to click on the Library first on the right-hand side, and then click the Restore default icon button.

Another note is that if you want to change out the DLL, you’ll need to select it, and then hit the Enter key.

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Once you’ve swapped out your icon, it usually shows up right away, or you can Refresh with F5 (though logging off or restarting explorer.exe might be required).

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Download Replace Librarie Icons from deviantART [mirror copy]

Change Libraries the Manual Way

Don’t feel like messing with a piece of software from some person somewhere? You can make these changes manually with nothing more than Notepad. Just paste the following into the start menu search box, or Explorer location bar:

%appdata%\microsoft\windows\libraries

Then drag one of the icons from Explorer over to a Notepad window to open up the file.

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Inside the file, you’ll see an iconReference line, or if you don’t see it, you’ll want to add one like so:

<iconReference>C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll,301</iconReference>

The data in the middle is the path, either to the icon (.ico) file, or if you are referencing a DLL file, you’ll need to add the comma and number position of the icon in the file.

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And now you’ve learned how to swap out the icons. Awesome, eh? Alright, well it’s not that awesome. But still fun geeky information to have.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/9/09

Comments (18)

  1. Craig Barabas

    I love DisplayFusion. I currently use the lite version and it’s amazing. The desktop wallpaper is cool, but I don’t know how I would live without the maximized window dragging. It makes it so much easier to multitask (with everything execpt chrome for me). The feature I like the best in the pro version is multiple monitor taskbar; I hate looking onto my other monitor just to check the time or open a program.

  2. Nahh

    Nahh, didn’t work – disappointed. Followed instructions, but no go Joe!

  3. asim

    i have desktop

  4. berto

    thanks… worked like a charm

  5. Muaad

    Hi geek.
    Just want to know how to remove these items out of my computer folder.
    There are two of them one called “other” containing all of my personal folder, and folders which has only the folders from my personal folder.
    I am using windows 7 starter.

  6. Hitman7112

    Thank you so much, I was busting my balls after using hyperdesk to theme my desktop and after removing hyperdesk it returned my icons back to default, then when I reinstalled the Token icons the library icons to the left of the window where simply folder and not an icon representing music, video and ect. So anyways thank you.

  7. jason404

    Does anybody know where I can find Library icons that look similar to the default ones? The ones I have seen on DeviantART do not include the icons for the left-hand folder pane and most of them do not look much like the default icons.

  8. Sylvia

    love it. I’m your fan!!

  9. cantos

    no! i didnt learn anything you geek freak! you absolutely not explain anything right!
    you tell us to open explorer and then notepad, and then dragging something, find something that probably doesnt exist, then what???
    You didnt tell us how to swamp it, you did tell us how to save, how its work or something. you say we’ll learn something, but we dont! because of your fucking bull shit tips!!
    fucking retard geek!!! you fucking freaks and you cant do anything right!!!

    well at least you good as a gay mate! and thats all you good at! dickshape!!!!!

  10. ibnsaud

    Cantos, you must have an above-room-temperature IQ in order to participate here. Also, they will never require you to swamp anything. Ever.

  11. MIke

    Cantos, that was hilarious. I nearly shot hot tea out of my nose.

  12. Tony

    It takes several steps, but I can create an icon from any picture, whether an icon or a photo. I save the photo (if I have found it as a logo, on Google Images, etc.), then using MS Office Picture Manager (or whatever you wish, though MS OPM allows the steps I take), crop the picture into a square, as tight on the desired material as possible. Then, using WPM, I change the size to 48×48. Using Liquid Icon, a free download from the internet, I open a new blank icon in 48×48 size (default is 16×16, or there is also 32×32), then, on toolbar, use “effects” and “capture.” The “capture” square is identical in size to the 48×48 revised-size picture. Perfectly align the capture square with the same-sized picture and left-click. Once it is on the 48×48 grid, play with it, add text, borders, alter colors, color over lettering, etc. Save it in a place with other icons according to how you think and organize your files—no one right way to do this. Then you can retrieve from your icons folder(s) to your heart’s content. By this method, I am able get the best of higher-res icons, no-cost icon-creating software, and unlimited availability of pictures, including personal photos of friends and relatives otherwise not available on the net. Finally, I can change almost any icon: right-click, properties, customize, change icon, locate the icon that I want to use in the folder, and I have an icon that is both clear, colorful, and contains no lettering, etc. that I do not want.

  13. BrinkDroid

    @jason404
    Here’s the link: http://carlosjj.deviantart.com/#/d39ga2g
    *It also includes the .png versions of the .ico icons, for Linux.

  14. Nasim

    It worked for me!!!
    Thank you!!!
    :)

  15. Ant

    If you are looking for a more expanded collection that looks like the Windows 7 ones try here

    http://rocketdock.com/addon/icons/35992

    They are in png format but you can convert them to ico at convertico.com

  16. D3TROy

    We know you are Cantos, but what is he?

  17. grayknight

    doesn’t work with a user in a domain.

  18. Winston

    quite useful article. although i prefer using resource hacker to modify the resources.

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