Change a File Type's Icon in Windows 7

In Windows XP, you could change the icon associated with a file type in Windows Explorer. In Windows 7, you have to do some registry hacking to change a file type’s icon. We’ll show you a much easier and faster method for Windows 7.

File Types Manager

File Types Manager is a great little utility from NirSoft that includes the functionality of Windows XP’s folder options and adds a whole lot more. It works great in Windows 7, and its interface makes it easy to change a bunch of related file types at once.

A common problem we run into are icons that look too similar.

You have to look for a few seconds to see the difference between the movies and the text files. Let’s change the icon for the movie files to make visually scanning through directories much easier.

Open up File Types Manager.

Find the “Default Icon” column and click on it to sort the list by the Default Icon. (We’ve hidden a bunch of columns we don't need, so you may find it to be farther to the right.)

This groups together all file extensions that already have the same icon. This is convenient because we want to change the icon of all video files, which at the moment all have the same default icon.

Click the “Find” button on the toolbar, of press Ctrl+F. Type in a file type that you want to change.

Note that all of the extensions with the same default icon are grouped together.

Right click on the first extension whose icon you want to change and click on Edit Selected File Type, or select the first extension and press F2.

Click the “…” button next to the Default Icon text field.

Click on the Browse… button. File Types Manager allows you to select .exe, .dll, or .ico files.

In our case, we have a .ico file that we took from the wonderful public domain Tango icon library.

Select the appropriate icon (if you’re using a .exe or .dll there could be many possible icons) then click OK.

Repeat this process for each extension whose icon you would like to change.

Now it’s much easier to see at a glance which files are movies and which are text files! Of course, this process will work for any file type, so customize your files’ icons as you see fit.

Download File Types Manager from NirSoft for Windows

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