How to Change Windows 7 Icons?

Is your Windows 7 installation a bland sea of yellow folders? Are you tired of your desktop icons being that way? This Windows version is actually better at customization than its XP or Vista counterpart or even its much-maligned successor, Windows 8.

If you want to know how to change windows 7 icons, you’ve come to the right guide. It will cover both desktop and folder icons in customization terms.

How to Change Windows 7 Icons

Long story short, if you want to change your desktop icons on Windows 7 Home Basic, just right-click on your desktop background or wallpaper then choose “Personalize” on the ensuing drop-down menu. Click the “Change Desktop Icons” link in the Navigation pane to get started.

As for changing folder icons, right-click on the folder you wish to customize then select “Properties”. Choose folder icons from the “Customize” tab then click the “Change Icon” button. More on this in the next section.

How to Change Folder Icons in Windows 7

The specifics of changing folder icons in Windows 7 are as follows:

  • Change Icon Button: Right-click the folder you wish to customize then select “Properties” on the drop-down menu. Go to the “Customize” tab’s “Folder Icons section. Click “Change Icon”.
  • Choose Icons:  In the box, you’ll see many icons listed there. These icons’ location? It’s at the Windows System 32 folder—to be more specific, C:\Windows\system32\SHELL32.dll
  • More Icon Choices: You can get more icon choices by browsing System 32 again, specifically the C:\Windows\system32\imageres.dll location.

How to Change Desktop Icons in Windows 7

Let’s now discuss changing your Windows 7 desktop icons. Just do the following:

  • Desktop Background: Do a right-click on your desktop background to access the “Personalize” option on the subsequent drop-down menu.
  • Personalization Window: Go to the “Personalization” window and, on the “Navigation” pane, click on the “Change Desktop Icons” link. This opens the dialog box for “Desktop Icon Settings”.
  • Check Boxes: Click on the check boxes for any desktop icons you want to customize for your desktop on Windows 7. Aside from the Recycling Bin icon, you can add these icons to Windows 7:
  • Network: The “Network” window gives you access to all the PCs within your LAN (Local Area Network).
  • Computer: Gives you “Computer” window access, which shows all the components and drives (mapped with drive letters) connected to your PC.
  • Control Panel: The ever-useful “Control Panel” window is where you manage programs, troubleshoot errors, and customize your PC settings at will.
  • User Files: This allows you access to your “My Documents” window, which is the primary container for all your personal files, documents, photos, and music.
  • Save Changes: Now save the changes by clicking “OK” to close the dialog box. Also click the “Close” button on the “Personalization” window’s upper-right corner (as found in many other Windows apps).

Access these programs by right-clicking it then choosing “Open” from its menu or double-clicking the icons themselves.  You’ve now customized your desktop iconography for Windows 7!

How can I change my Windows 7 icon to Windows 10?

To change your Windows 7 icon to Windows 10, simply double-click the “Change to the Windows 7 Folder Icon.reg” file and click through the prompts. You can also revert back to the default Windows 10 folder icon by double-clicking the “Change back to the Windows 10 Folder Icon.reg” file. With just a few clicks, you can easily customize your desktop icons to match your personal preference!

How do I change my custom Windows icons?

Windows 10 offers a variety of ways to personalize your PC, and one of the most popular is to change the icons for shortcuts. While you can always change the icon for an individual shortcut, Windows 10 also lets you change the default icons for common shortcuts, such as This PC, your user folder, Network, Control Panel, and the Recycle Bin.

To Change your custom Windows icons, go to Settings > Personalization > Themes and on the right side of the window, select Desktop icon settings. This will launch a new window where you can toggle the icons for each of these shortcuts.

If you want to change the icons for these shortcuts, simply click on the icon and then select a new icon from the list. You can also use a custom icon by clicking on the “Browse” button.

Once you’ve selected your custom icons, click “OK” to save your changes.

With just a few clicks, you can easily change the look of your desktop!

Additional Tips

Windows 7 was developed for easy customization and personalization by customers. For its users, one of the things you can do to spruce up the GUI is by changing the desktop and folder icons. You have more iconography options this time around compared to the barebones approach of Windows XP.


  1. Ed Rhee, “How to customize folder icons in Windows 7“,, October 26, 2011
  2. Greg Harvey, “How to Add Desktop Icons in Windows 7“, Dummies, March 27, 2016

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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