Ask-How-To-Geek-TemplateEvery week we dip into our reader mailbag and answer your computer and tech-related questions. This week we’re looking at swapping file icons, missing volume icons, and sending links to your smartphone.

Distinguish Between Similar Documents with Unique Icons


Dear How-To Geek,

Is it possible to select the shortcut picture for a file?  I have 3 Excel files which have shortcuts on my desktop, Budget 2010, Budget 2011 and Budget 2012.  This gets confusing as both the name of the files and the shortcut picture is the same.  I don’t want to change the name of the files, I want to change the picture.

Multiple Files in Miami

Dear Multiple Files,

Absolutely, you can just go into the shortcut properties by right-clicking on it. Then find the Change Icon button, and select a different icon. You can even download icons, save them somewhere, and then use those for the shortcut.

We’ve done the same thing for some highly used but similarly named documents.

Replacing a Missing System Tray Icon2011-08-01_160154

Dear How-To Geek,

The volume adjustment icon vanished on my computer. I can still adjust the volume with the multimedia buttons on my computer keyboard but there is no icon in the tray! How do I get it back?


Missing Icons in Manitoba

Dear Missing Icons,

Sometimes the system icons vanish in response to other variables on the computer. It’s easy enough to get them back. Right click on your taskbar and click Properties. Then click the Taskbar tab in the menu that pops up. Halfway down the Taskbar options menu there is a Customize button in the Notification section. Click on that to toggle Notification Area icons on and off, including your missing volume icon.

Sharing Links with Your Smartphone

Dear How-To Geek,

I find typing on my smartphone to be a real pain and the browser doesn’t support bookmark syncing. How can I easily send bookmarks to my phone?


Phone-Irritated in Phoenix

Dear Phone-Irritated,

You didn’t specify which smartphone you’re using… but that’s OK! We have a handy tutorial that covers sharing link between popular web browsers and popular phone operating systems including iOS, Android, BlackBerry and more, right here. Hit up that link and you’ll be able to easily shuttle links from your browser to your smartphone; no pecking on a tiny touchscreen necessary.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at and we’ll do our best to answer your question.


Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy, How-To Geek's sister site focused life hacks, tips, and tricks. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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