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How to Change Icon of Any File Type in Windows

Don’t like the icon of a specific file type? You can change it. Here is how to change the icon of any file type in Windows 10 and 11.

For most popular file types, Windows has a dedicated file type icon. For application-specific file types, the parent application will automatically assign an icon. If there is no icon for a certain file type, Windows displays a blank file icon.

As you can guess, the file icons make it easy to recognize the file type with just a glance. For example, you can easily identify a text file with its icon. You don’t have to read the file extension or open it.

Generally, the default file type icons are pretty good. Microsoft is even modernizing the majority of them to conform to newer design standards. However, what if you dislike an icon of a specific file type? For example, Windows shows a blank icon for subtitle files (.srt). I generally dislike the blank icon. So, after installing Windows, one of the first things I do is change the file type icon. It gives me a piece of mind.

Change file icon win 10 - blank file icon

The good news is that you can do it as well. So, without further ado, let me show you how to change the icon of a file type in Windows 10 and 11 operating systems.

Table of contents:


Before proceeding, I’m assuming you already have an icon in the ICO format. If you don’t have one, you can get one on the internet.

Convert the downloaded icon to ICO if it is in PNG, JPG, or another format. There are numerous free online resources that can convert images to ICO format.

Save the icon in a separate folder as well. For example, I save all of my icons to a dedicated folder to avoid mistakenly deleting them. If you delete the icon after setting it up, the file type will display a blank icon.

Change Icon of a File Type

  1. Get the FileTypesMan software.
  2. Extract the zip file.
  3. Open the extracted folder.
  4. Double-click the exe file.
  5. Find the file type you want to edit.
  6. Right-click on the file type you want to edit.
  7. Select “Edit Selected File Type.”
  8. Click “” next to the “Default Icon” field.
  9. Press the “Browse” button.
  10. Find and select the .ico icon file.
  11. Click “Ok” in both windows.
  12. Exit the application.
  13. Reboot Windows.
  14. With that, you have changed the icon of a file type.

Download FileTypesMan — https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/file_types_manager.html

Steps with more details:

Unlike the folder icon, there is no built-in option to change the icon of a particular file type in Windows. Generally, you have to edit registry keys to get the job done. However, editing the registry is messy and overly complicated. So we will use FileTypesMan from Nirsoft Utilities, which is free, portable, and lightweight.

First, download FileTypesManager from Nirsoft. Extracted the downloaded ZIP file to a folder and double-click the exe file. Being a portable application, there is no need for installation.

Change file icon win 10 - filetypesman home screen

After opening the application, you will see all the file types in your system. Find the file type you want to edit, right-click on it and select the “Edit Selected File Type” option.

Change file icon win 10 - select edit

Here, click on the “…” button next to the “Default Icon” field.

Change file icon win 10 - click browse

The above action will open the default Windows Icons list. Since we want to set a custom icon, click on the “Browse” button.

Change file icon win 10 - click browse 2

Find the saved icon, select it, and press the “Open” button.

Change file icon win 10 - select icon and open

Back in the “Change Icon” window, select the newly added icon and press the “Ok” button.

Change file icon win 10 - select icon

Click the “Ok” button in the main FileTypeManager window to save changes.

Change file icon win 10 - confirm changes

Close the application.

That is it. You’ve changed the icon of the target file type. From now on, you will see the custom icon for that specific file type. In my case, the SRT file type will have a new custom icon than the blank icon.

Change file icon win 10 - custom icon for file type

If you don’t see the changes immediately, restart File Explorer or Windows. Restarting will apply the change and reflect it as intended.

That is all. It is that simple to change the icon of any file type in Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, check out how to set a custom icon to drives in Windows and how to create an invisible folder in Windows.

3 thoughts on “How to Change Icon of Any File Type in Windows”

  1. Avatar for Christopher Frank
    Christopher Frank

    Just discovered site and have found some great articles…

    I’m hoping you can help with an issue I’ve been having for some time. The problem I am having is that all of my audio extensions get “bulked” together. For example, when I attempt to change the description or the icon for .mp3’s the description and icon changes for all audio extensions (.wav, .au, etc). Not only is this annoying, it’s a bit asinine too! (As a composer I’m constantly adding and removing samples into my DAW… nothing slows the process down more than thinking I’m dropping in a Wav file only to realize it’s Midi… ugh)

    I’ve tried both FileTypeMan and ShellExt but no luck… I’m thinking it might be because my “user Choice” application if I simply point and click on a file in explorer is the AIMP app through The Microsoft Store.

    Here’s what Appears in FileTypeMan “Notice – Changing the properties of this file type may affect the following extensions: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .flac, .m4a, .mid, .midi, .mka, .mp2, .mp3, .s3m, .wav, .wma, .xm” Then there’s the warning that says “UserChoice overwrites the actions and icon of the file extention.”

    Thanks in advance for any assistance

  2. Avatar for Matthias

    Also running into the same problem like Christopher, in my case problems are coming up with .php, .js, .html and co that are assigned to Visual Code. Is there any way to ungroup them, that any file format can get its own icon?

  3. Avatar for Colonel Sanders
    Colonel Sanders

    Actually WindowsXP, Server2003, and WindowsXP64 all came with a file extension manager, Simply named “Extension Manager”. It not only allowed you to quickly search for file extensions, add extensions and manually set file associations, you could indeed also manually set the icon for a given extension, either by selecting supported image files or pointing to a executable or DLL file and choose from an embeded icon within the exe or library..
    Why Microsoft chose to remove this very helpful tool from Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 is quite mind boggling.
    The windows 10 equivalent has a large clunky view, cannot search to quickly bring you to the extension you’re looking for in the huge list of extensions, and as already known by anyone reading this page, does not allow you to set extension icons.
    Simply Amazing how frequently companies toss out utility and function purely for things that look new and perform poorly….

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