Customizing Icons & where to find them!

Its no big secret that I like to customize my computer and I change it all around at least once a week. Icons play a big part in personalizing my computer and making it mine.

I have written an article on icons and how to change them which you can read here: Customizing Your Icons, so I won’t bore you with the procedure again. There are many sites where you can download free icons to really personalize your computer but did you know there are over one thousand icons hidden within your Windows dll files?

Below is a list of dll files that contain icons you can use, once you have right clicked on a shortcut, selected Properties then Change Icon and browsed to one of these dll files you can see what’s hidden in there.

Take note that the shortcuts I am referring to are the ones on your Desktop not the ones on the Windows 8 Start Screen.

This list is compiled from Windows 7 files but most of the files are available from Windows XP to Windows 8.

and Explorer.exe

All these files can be found in your Windows directory and in many instances there will be more than one file with the same name but in different folders. System32 contains many dlls.
You can see a lot of these hidden icons at this site.

I still prefer the sites where I download icons of my choice, Microsoft just isn’t big on icon quality… but these native icons are worth investigating if you want to change an icon or two without downloading from external sites.

About the Author

Alan Wade

Alan is a semi-retired geek from England, who has lived in Sweden with his wife and family since 2001. His interest in computers began in the mid 1980’s with the introduction of the Commodore Vic 20 where he learned to hack game code so he could force his name to appear as the high scorer. Alan made his way through the horde of console computers in the late 80’s and early 90’s before settling on Windows with the release of Windows 3.1. He has worked in the broadband industry on both the technical and installation side. In his off time he enjoys building computers for family and friends as well as digging into the guts of the OS to customize and tweak the OS.


  1. Hi Alan, I too like to change my desktop and change the wallpaper frequently. The difference is, that I use Rocket Dock, and auto hide my task bar.
    It doesn’t pertain to your article, I just thought that anyone who has a messy desktop, might find that seeing a nice picture in it’s entirety more pleasant. Rocket Dock works a treat, and looking at a nice picture or photo is cool! Thanks.