Windows XP and earlier Operating Systems include the most useful File Types tab in the Folder Options applet. This tab was removed in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and replaced by Default Programs, which lacks many features that the File Types tab has. This forced users to look for third-party utilities to manage file type associations and customize the icons. This article provides information on how to manually change the icon for file types in Windows 7 and Vista.
Customizing the Icon for a File Type
For illustrative purposes, let’s assume that you have a custom file type .abc for which you want to change the icon.
1. Click Start, type Regedit.exe and press ENTER
2. Navigate to the following branch:
Registry Branch Not Found? As said earlier, let’s assume .abc is a custom file type, given for illustration purposes in this article. You need to replace .abc with the actual file type extension for which you want to change the icon.
3. In the right-pane, note down the value data for Progid (e.g. abcfile). This is the user chosen (via Default Programs) Programmatic Identifier for the file extension.
4. If the UserChoice branch does not exist, navigate to the following branch:
5. In the right-pane, note down the (default) value data (e.g. abcfile). This is the Prog ID for the file extension.
6. Navigate to the following key (where abcfile is the Prog ID noted in Step 2 or Step 4 above):
Note: If the DefaultIcon key does not exist by default, you need to create it manually.
7. In the right-pane, double-click (default) and mention the path to your custom icon (.ico file or reference to an icon resource from a EXE/DLL file).
Once noted down the icon index, simply cancel the icon picker dialog and close folder properties dialog.
For example, to set the 260th icon in Shell32.dll (contains a text pad icon), type the following path:
8. Exit the Registry Editor.