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Windows 7 - How to Change the Icon for a Shortcut

Icons are small graphics which represent shortcuts, applications and files. Icons are everywhere in the operating system. You'll see them on the desktop, in the start menu and when you browse the contents of your computer. Part of customizing your computer is changing icons for shortcuts. All of the shortcuts in the start menu and on the desktop can have their icons changed easily. Icons come in various different formats. The most common icon format is the file type which ends in the ".ico" file extension. Icons are also embedded into executable program files and DLL files. Follow this guide to learn how to change an icon for any shortcut on your computer.

Go to the shortcut that you want to change. Right-click on it and click "Properties." When the properties window appears, click on the "Shortcut" tab. Click "Change Icon" to continue. In the address bar in the top of the "Change Icon" window, you'll see the location of the current icon. If you're changing the shortcut icon for a program shortcut, this will typically display the location of the executable program file itself. The icons are embedded into that file, rather than occupying a separate icon file. Many programs provide multiple embedded icons. If you don't see an icon which you want to use in the list below, click the "Browse" button to continue.

Navigate to the location of the icon you want to use. All icon files and file types which can contain embedded icons will be displayed. For best results in Windows 7, you should choose an icon which has a size of 256 by 256 pixels. This is the optimal icon size for Windows 7 and it will display correctly when you view large icons. Select the icon and click on "Open." With the icon selected among the available thumbnails below, click on "OK" to continue. Click "OK" again on the shortcut properties. Your changes should take effect immediately.

You can change the icon for an Internet shortcut as well. To do this, right-click on the shortcut and click "Properties." Open the "Web Document" tab and click "Change Icon." Change the icon in the same way as explained above and click "OK" to make the changes take effect.

Changing an icon for a folder is also a similar process. The only difference is that you need to open the "Customize" tab in the properties window.


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