How to change the icon of a pinned desktop app on the Start screen

The Start screen in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 allows you to pin Desktop app shortcut for fast access. After pinning a shortcut, the Start screen shows a tile with the app's icon and its name. In Windows 8.1, Microsoft has improved the visual appearance of such tiles by making the background color of the tiles match the icon's predominant color. The one thing the Start screen lacks is the ability to change the pinned app's icon. Let's look how it can be done.

To change the icon of a pinned app on the Start screen, you need to follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open the Start screen and right click the pinned app icon.
  2. From the context menu, choose the Open file location item.
    open file location
  3. A folder containing the shortcut for the pinned app will open on the screen. The app's shortcut file will be selected by default.
    file location
  4. Open its properties and press the Change icon button.
    change icon
    Pick the icon that you want.
    pick an icon
    Tip: You can find nice icons in Windows DLL files like C:\windows\system32\shell32.dll, C:\windows\system32\imageres.dll, C:\windows\system32\moricons.dll. The last one contains very old-school icons which were used in Windows 3.x.
  5. Click Apply and close the Properties window.

Now go to the Start screen again. You will see the new icon that you just assigned.
new tile icon
If not, you can restart the Explorer shell or rebuild the icon cache.
This trick works in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and above.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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