Change a pinned app’s shortcut icon on the taskbar in Windows 10

Since Windows 7, Microsoft redesigned the taskbar and introduced the concept of pinning shortcuts, which were earlier stored in the Quick Launch. However, once you pin a shortcut, changing the icon of the pinned shortcut isn't so easy. Windows 10 does not show the new icon! Let's see how to fix it.

Changing the icon of a shortcut on the Desktop, or any shortcut which is located in a folder is an easy and standard task since Windows 95. You can just right click the shortcut -> Properties and click the "Change icon" button on the Shortcut tab:

Windows Defender offline scan shorcut icon

However, for icons pinned to the new Taskbar in Windows 10, the icon change isn't reflected immediately because the shell image list (icon cache) that Windows maintains does not get immediately updated when you click OK or Apply in the Properties window.

This is an annoying bug.

After you change the icon, you need to force the Explorer shell to refresh its icon cache correctly. We will use a third party tool specially designed to refresh the shell icon cache for this.

How to change a pinned app’s shortcut icon on the taskbar in Windows 10

  1. Download Winaero Tweaker.
  2. Run it and go to Tools\Reset Icon Cache:
    Winaero Tweaker reset icon cache
  3. Now every time you want to refresh the icon cache, click the button "Reset Icon Cache".

That's it. To verify that this tool works, try changing the icon of any pinned shortcut on your Taskbar. This works without even restarting the Explorer shell.

To change a pinned app’s shortcut icon on the taskbar in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Hold down Shift and then right click on any pinned taskbar shortcut to show the regular context menu of Explorer instead of the jumplist. Windows 10 pinned app shortcut properties
  2. Click Properties in the menu. The Properties will open with the Shortcut tab active.
  3. Click the Change Icon button and pick the icon of your choice.
    Windows 10 change pinned app icon
  4. Even if you click OK or Apply, and close the Properties window, the icon change won't be reflected in the taskbar.
  5. Now run Winaero Tweaker and reset the icon cache. The new icon will show in the Taskbar.
    Windows 10 changed pinned app icon

In fact, this tool to build the icon cache is useful not only in the above scenario but also when Windows displays incorrect icons for file types and sometimes fails to refresh them. Although your icon cache may also be damaged in which case refreshing the system image list won't work and you should try the steps in another article to completely rebuild the cache, most of the times refreshing the icon cache using this tool will work. You can do the same in Windows 8 and Windows 7.

4 thoughts on “Change a pinned app’s shortcut icon on the taskbar in Windows 10

  1. Phreaky Phillip

    Another way to do this is find the program in the Start Menu and change it there, the change applies immediately. Then right click on the program and pin it to the taskbar.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Thanks for your suggestion!

      Reply
  2. Hari

    You can also Shift+Right click on the icon in the taskbar, go to Properties and change the name in the General tab

    Reply
  3. Sarah Thompson

    This doesn’t work for the Win 10 Calendar app and, I suspect, other apps like it. How about an update to include instructions for how to change those icons?

    Reply

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