Change Windows 10 folder icons with *.ico file

Windows 10 features really nice folder icons which look very stylish and modern. Folder icons were changed for the first time since Windows Vista. They look similar to the icons in Windows Vista/7/8 however they are flatter looking yet retain the richness of colors. However, if you get bored with these new icons, you might want to replace the standard folder icons with a custom icon from an external ICO file. Here's how it can be done.

To change Windows 10 folder icons with a custom *.ico file, you need to do the following.

  1. Open Registry Editor. If you are not familiar with the Registry editor, see this excellent tutorial.
  2. Go to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

    Tip: You can access any desired Registry key with one click.
    Note: If the Shell Icons key does not exist, just create it. Windows 10 create shell icons key

  3. Create a new string value at the above key called 3 by right clicking in the right pane and choosing New -> Expandable String value.
    Windows 10 create new expand sz parameter Windows 10 name expand sz parameter
    Set its value data to the path of your icon file. I will use the blue folder icon from the Deepin icon set, which I placed in c:\icons:

    C:\icons\Blue Folder.ico

    See the following screenshot:

    Windows 10 icons folder Windows 10 value expand sz parameter Windows 10 change folder icon Note: If you are customizing the folder icon on earlier versions of Windows, also add a value named '4' with the same path as '3'. See this article for reference: How to set different icons for the open and closed folder in Explorer.

    Also if you are using Classic Shell Start Menu, delete the file %localappdata%\ClassicShell\DataCache.db to make the menu switch to the new icon.

  4. Close all Explorer windows and restart Explorer. Alternatively, instead of restarting Explorer.exe, you can also log off and log back in to your Windows 10 user account.

Now the icons will be updated in Explorer: Windows 10 change folder icon with ico file

Where I can get icons?

You can start with icons from our local collection.

Blue Folder folder deepin You can download the mentioned Blue Folder HERE.

Pre-release Windows 10 folder icons
Windows 10 had the following folder icon in one of the pre-release builds: Windows 10 pre-release icons folder

You can download it HERE.

Windows 7/Windows 8 icons
You can download the good old icons from Windows 7 and Windows 8 here: Get Windows 8 icons back in Windows 10

They look like this:

large icons issue fixed

Finally, you can use any icon you find on the web.

Now tell us: are you happy with the default folder icon? Or do you change the default folder icons in Windows 10?

7 thoughts on “Change Windows 10 folder icons with *.ico file

  1. anon

    Windows 10 icons are OK for me. Never changed them.
    But now I like your blue folder icons. Thinking to apply them.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, it is not mine icon. It comes with Deepin icon set for Linux, as mentioned in the article.
      Yes, those icons are gorgeous.

  2. Benedito Antonio Freire de Oliveira

    When i opened the key,already exist one with value 29.What to do…..delete or criate the new one with value 3

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Do not touch the parameter 29 and create a new one named 3.

  3. qafi

    It doesn’t work or may be I’m not follow correctly, because certain folder are not change it unless I change to ‘always show icons, never thumbnails’ in folder option. What should I do?

  4. Greg

    I actually prefer the windows 10 icons over the windows 7/8 ones. The issue I am having is a got a new laptop and it’s on Win10, but has the Win7 icons. I have tried everything including messing with the shell32.dll and imageres.dll and desktop.ini ifles but to no avail…Anyone have any ideas please help!

  5. Adnan

    yes it worked but i have another issue, when i change folder view from small to large icons, its thumbnail icon changed so how can i change that icon? i am sharing screenshot as reference.



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