Get Windows 8 icons back in Windows 10

So it seems from the sheer number of emails I get that many people are not happy with the new icons in Windows 10 Technical Preview. Most users complain about ugly Recycle Bin icons and bright yellow folder icons. Personally, my favorite icons were in Windows XP. I simply don't like any of the icon sets which came after Windows XP. And I still do not like the default icons. Today, we will replace Windows 10 icons with the ones from Windows 8 (or Windows 7, which are mostly the same). This tutorial will be helpful for people who are looking for a way to make Windows 10 look like they want.


Let's get Windows 8 icons back in Windows 10. First, we need to obtain icons from Windows 8. I extracted and uploaded them for you.

Download Windows 8 icons for Windows 10

Extract the ZIP archive you downloaded to some folder like C:\Icons (for example) and you will see the .ICO files:

Windows 7 icons in Windows 10 opened Let's apply them one by one.

Tip: Here's how to tweak your PC to ensure top performance for a specific type of task, be it gaming, document work or something else.

Get old Desktop icons in Windows 10

  1. Right click on an empty area of the Desktop and pick "Personalize" from the context menu: Personalize
  2. The Personalization window will be opened, click "Change desktop icons" on the left: personalize window
  3. In "Desktop Icon Settings", change all the icons you want to the ones you downloaded. You will get them as follows.
    Before: Desktop Icon Settings before
    After: Desktop Icon Settings after

So, we got the old Recycle Bin icon back along with a few other Desktop icons.
Tip: You can open the "Desktop Icons Settings" dialog directly using this command:

control desk.cpl,,web

Get the old folder icon from Windows 8 in Windows 10

The new folder icon can be applied with a simple Registry tweak. Do the following:

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.

  3. Here you must create a new subkey and name it Shell Icons. It may already exist in your Registry. That is normal.
  4. Create new string values named 3 and 4. Set the value data of both values to following value:
    C:\Icons\Folder.ico

    Now create the c:\Icons folder and move your Folder.ico file that you extracted from the ZIP archive there.

    You should get something like this:
    new folder icons

  5. Restart Windows 10 to get the update folder icons.
  6. Enjoy: Windows 8 icons in Windows 10 applied

Replace icons for user profile folders in Windows 10 with Windows 8 icons

Here is how you can change icons for folders in your user profile.
These are default icons: user profile icons before

Here is how you can change them. I will explain these steps with an example, the Contacts folder:

  1. Open the "Contacts" folder (C:\Users\Your user name\Contacts).
  2. In the address bar of File Explorer add "\desktop.ini" to the end of the current folder path and press Enter. For example, C:\Users\Your user name\Contacts\desktop.ini):
    add desktop ini
  3. The Notepad application will be opened.
  4. Find the line starting with "IconResource" and comment out it by adding a semicolon before the IconResource word: commented iconresource
  5. Add a new line to the end of the file, like this
    IconResource=C:\Users\Winaero\Desktop\Icons\Contacts.ico

    All you need to do is to point the IconResource parameter to the new ICO file which contains the desired icon for the Contacts folder. New IconResource Value

  6. Save the file and close Notepad.
  7. Re-open your user profile folder to see the changes: contacts icon replaced
  8. Repeat all steps above for other folders in your user profile.
    Note: If some file comes with IconFile/IconIndex parameters, comment them out too by adding semicolons. iconindex commented
    Finally you will get the following: user profile icons after

Fix large icons issue

If you apply Large icons view to File Explorer, you will see the following:

large icons issue To fix this issue, do the following:

  1. Press Win + R on the keyboard.
  2. Type the following in the Run box:
    SystemPropertiesAdvanced

    Press Enter.
    run SystemPropertiesAdvanced

  3. Click Settings in the Performance group: SystemPropertiesAdvanced performance
  4. Untick "Show thumbnails instead of icons:
    untick show thumnails
    Press Apply.

That's it. Windows will show the correct icons:

large icons issue fixed You are done. If you wish to change more icons or need help, you are welcome to comment on this article.

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27 thoughts on “Get Windows 8 icons back in Windows 10

  1. Shyam Reddy

    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Sergey! I would rather not as that will take me back to 8.1 :D I don’t see much difference between 8.1 and 10 as a day to day user. To me, Windows 10 = Windows 8.1 + start menu & metro apps tweaks. I am sure I am wrong but still. ;)

    Reply
  2. EBIN

    When W10 RTM releases you should really make some automated app for this. It’ll be popular I tell ya.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Only if MS will not change icons.

      Reply
  3. jn

    How do you change the icons under quick access?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Which exactly?

      Reply
      1. jn

        Well in the picture you have on the top, it shows on the navigation panel that the downloads, pictures, music and document still have windows 10 icons. How would you change those?

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Ah those. Unpin them and then pin back. It should help

          Reply
  4. Rezki Dharmawan

    This is very helpful, thank you

    Reply
  5. Dude

    We really need an app that will help us apply these changes with one click to beautify Windows 10. The icons that will be shipped with RTM are still flat and ugly. Microsoft and good aesthetics are never fond of each other, and that’s what happens when Microsoft made the Windows 10 icons in-house.

    Reply
  6. Yves

    Would it not be possible to replace the imageres.dll from 10 with one from 8?
    Not sure i you can replace shell32.dll though.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      AFAIK It performs CRC checks for imageres32. You cannot modify the file.

      Reply
      1. Yves

        Alright, didn’t think of that.
        I once tried it on a earlier build on vmware.
        Which seemed to work for the most part, except that it for some reason switched from imageres.dll to shell32.dll.

        Reply
        1. Andrew

          it is technically possible to change the imageres,dll file to another, but it will break things later on. For me, i swapped out the file with the one from 7, and it breaks CTRL-ALT-DEL, Causing a security error (and a ton of headaches). Can’t confirm if the same thing will happen with the windows 8 imageres.dll file or a custom one (if you have one).

          Reply
          1. Yves

            I ended up trying a bunch of things on VMWare.
            But eventually it broke and would not login to my user account anymore.

            The only reason i have not updated to 10 yet is because of the(to me) hideous icons.
            Yeah you can change some by using the .ico files you can download in this thread.
            But when you are under This PC the disk icons and the folder icons are still the new Windows 10 icons.

          2. Andrew

            There is an incredibly tedious method to tweak all of them, but it requires editing system files and the use of third party tools . You can edit the imageres file directly using something such as resource hacker or IcoFX, and replace every image with an old image. Windows 10 has a tendency to replace any edits you make to the desktop.ini files, reverting the tweak above. I used IcoFX, and exported icons from the win7 imageres, and then replaced those in windows 10, one by one. i wouldn’t recommend it unless you absolutely despise the new icons or get really bored (read: me).

          3. Andrew

            Edit: Please, if you are going to edit system files, back them up first, and do so at your own risk.

            I only do this because i’m a nerd who tweaks things when bored, and am willing to reinstall my OS if need be.

  7. Rahul Nair

    Hi,
    I didnt like the Win 10 , My computer and Recycle bin icon. When i tried to change them , i cannot find anything where i can start from.
    In my personalisation window, there is no change icons selection.
    I’m using Windows 10 Professional ( Aint a preview).

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Try with Personalization Panel for Windows 10\
      https://winaero.com/blog/personalization-panel-for-windows-10-v1-1-is-out/

      Reply
  8. Chris

    With reference to the above topic: “Get the old folder icon from Windows 8 in Windows 10”, although this does work anyone trying this should be aware that you will no longer be able to see thumbnail images on your image files. For example if you have a folder full of photos Windows Explorer usually shows you a thumbnail preview on each image file. The above registry method of changing all the folder icons back to Windows 8 prevents this from working.

    Reply
  9. Chris

    A much quicker and simpler way to change the icons for user profile folders in Windows 10 is to ‘Right Click’ each folder and select ‘Properties’ then click the ‘Customize Tab’. Here you can change the icon to whatever you want without the need to edit the ‘ini’ file. You can even select icons that are located inside an icon library file.

    Reply
  10. Jacqueline

    I’m not having much luck changing my user profile icons. I went the desktop.ini route. It worked for about a week and then they all changed back to the default after a windows update. I changed them all again, and the same thing happened again.

    I tried right clicking and going to the customize tab and “choose a file to show on this folder”. Unfortunately, no matter what file I choose, the default icon won’t not change that way, either.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    Reply
  11. mu695

    Slight problem, unticking ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons’ does exactly what is says on the tin – it’ll fix your folders, but it’ll get rid of the thumbnails of stuff like your image files. Is there another solution?

    Reply
  12. Briand

    Ok. In Win 7 I had customized several of the icons for links on the desktop. Win 10 didn’t have a change icon button in the properties menu. (I don’t like messing in the registry unless it is absolutely unavoidable.)
    That was a bummer.

    Then I imported my folders and settings from Win 7 to Win 10 with the program Laplink PC Mover. It evidently merged the Win 7 desktop with the Win 10 one. (Laplink instructions says that is what it does, I just couldn’t visualize how that would play out in reality.) Now the properties menu has the buttons to change icons. Better yet it moved all my customized icons over to the new system, sweet! I don’t know how this would be useful to someone who isn’t transferring to a new system from an old one but it was worth the $59 for the program. It was quick, once I set all the options for the move. (very detailed customization) No downside, and the added and unexpected benefit of getting my beloved icons back.
    I hope this might be helpful to someone.

    Reply
  13. Kerry K

    I’M having a problem with the desktop icons. I got all the old icons back ok, but the recycle bin isnt working. When i delete or add something to it, i have to hit refresh to show the change in status of full or empty. Help…….

    Reply
    1. T800

      I noticed the same thing when I tried to replace them myself. This seems a bit odd considering the OS lets you substitute them, but it is annoying you have to keep “refreshing” the desktop to display them.

      May have to investigate another way of doing this to not lose the functionality – which probably means hacking around with the imageres.dll to replace things in it directly as alluded to by one of the previous comments.

      Reply
  14. jde

    Changed some icons, didn’t change others. The icons that remained unchanged were of folders that showed image indicating contents: PDF, Word files, etc.

    Reply

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