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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Change the Default Icon of a File




How to Change the Default Icon of a File Extension in Windows 7

Information
This article will show you how to change the default icon of any file extension to have a custom icon of your choice instead for it in Windows 7.



Tip
By default, known file extension types are set to be hidden in Windows 7. You will need to unhide file extensions to see and know what the file extension is to make it easier to change the icon for the file extension.

Note
You will need to use a 256x256 pixel icon for them to display properly at all of the available icon view sizes in Windows 7.

Some programs may automatically reset the default file extension icon back to the default one it uses even after you have changed it. This tutorial will not work for these programs.

If you change the default program for what opens the file extension, it will also change the icon of the file extension to be whatever it is for the program you selected uses.

Warning
You will need to be logged on to a administrator account to do this.
Making changes in the registry can cause problems if you make a mistake. You should create a system restore point before proceeding in case you need to do a system restore with the restore point to undo a mistake made in the registry.

EXAMPLE:
Default and New Icon for "MP3" File Extensions




Here's How:

NOTE:
For an example in this tutorial, I will be changing the default icon used for the MP3 file extension. You would just substitute the file extension that you want to change the default icon for instead.

1. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search box and press enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.

3. If Using the Default Program in Windows 7 to Open the File Extension With

NOTE:
You would use this option if you are using the default program that Windows 7 uses to open the file extension with, and not opens with a 3rd party program that you installed.

A) In regedit, go to: (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
Substitute .mp3 below with the file extension you want to change the icon for instead.

Code:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.mp3



B) In the right pane of the file extension, make note of the Data value to the right of (Default). (see screenshot above)
NOTE:
For example it is WMP11.AssocFile.MP3 for the .mp3 file extension.

C) Go to step 5.

4. If Using a Installed 3rd Party Program as the Default Program to Open the File Extension With

NOTE:
You would do this option if you have changed the default program used by Windows 7 to open the file extension with to be opened by a installed 3rd party (not included in Windows 7) program instead.

A) In regedit, go to: (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
Substitute .mp3 below with the file extension you want to change the icon for instead.

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.mp3\Userchoice



B) In the right pane, look at the Data value to the right of Progid. (see screenshot above)

NOTE:
For example it is WMP11.AssocFile.MP3 for the .mp3 file extension type by default. Your value will vary depending on the default program you have set or installed to open this file extension with.

5. In regedit, scroll past the file extensions and go to: (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
Substitute WMP11.AssocFile.MP3 with the Data value from step 3B or 4B for the file extension Data value that you want to change the icon for instead.

Code:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\WMP11.AssocFile.MP3



6. Click on the arrow next to for example WMP11.AssocFile.MP3 to expand the key (folder). (see screenshot above)

NOTE:
Substitute WMP11.AssocFile.MP3 with the Data value from step 3B or 4B for the file extension Data value that you want to change the icon for instead.

Tip
To Backup the Default File Extension Icon

NOTE:
To restore the default file extension icon from this created backup below, right click on the .reg backup file and click on Merge. Next, approve the merge and log off and log on to apply the change to restore the default icon.

A) In the left pane of regedit, right click on DefaultIcon and click on Export. (See screenshot below step 5)

B) Select a location to where you want to save the backup reg file to.

C) Type in a name and click on the Save button.
NOTE:
Be sure to type in a name that is easily recognized by you for that file extension. For example, MP3 default icon.


7. In the right pane of DefaultIcon, right click on (Default) and click on Modify. (see screenshot below step 5)

NOTE:
If you do not have DefaultIcon in the left pane of for example WMP11.AssocFile.MP3, then right click on WMP11.AssocFile.MP3, click on New and Key, type in DefaultIcon, and press Enter.

8. Select either Option One or Option Two below for what type of icon you want to replace the default file extension icon with.



OPTION ONE

Use another Icon Included in Windows 7

A. Download and install the free program IconViewerfor your 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7.

NOTE:
This program will add a Icons tab to files (ex: imageres.dll) that contain a icon library in them so you can see the icons available in it.

B. In Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll and right click on imageres.dll, click on Properties, and click on the Icons tab.

NOTE:
You can use any of the Windows 7 files that include icons in them that you want though. This is just the most common one.

C. Scroll through the icons and make note of the icon number of the one you want to use to replace the default file extension icon with, then close the properties window. (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
For example, icon number 1023.



D) In the Modify window, type in (full path of the Windows 7 file with file extension),-#### and click on OK. (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
For example, I would type in the location exactly as below for what I used in B and C above.

Code:
C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll,-1023

E) Go to step 9.

OPTION TWO

Use a Saved Custom Icon of Your Own

A) Create or download and save a icon (.ico file) of your choice to a location you wish to keep the icon stored at.

NOTE:
See the Note box at the top of this tutorial for about what kind of icon to use. The icon must stay at this location for as long as it is being used for the file extension.

B) In the Modify window, type in "full path of the icon file with file extension" and click on OK. (see screenshot below)

NOTE:
For example, If I I had a icon store on my Desktop name New Icon Location.ico, I would type in the location exactly as below. Just substitute with your icons full path and name with file extension in quotes instead.

Code:
"C:\Users\UserName\Desktop\New Icon Location.ico"

9. Close regedit.

10. Log off and log on, or restart the computer, to fully apply the icon change.


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