How to Change a File Icon in Windows 10 (for Any File Type)

If you have a file type that has no icon or using an ugly one, you can easily change the file icon. Follow these steps to change the file icon of a specific file type in Windows 10 to anything you want.

I generally dislike the blank file icons. For instance, even when I understand the language, I like to have subtitles for the movies I watch. However, the SRT file type in Windows has no icon whatsoever. This always bugs me. So, one of the first things I do is set an icon for the SRT file types.

The good thing is, it’s pretty simple to do. Here’s how.

Preparation

Before moving forward, I assume you already have an icon and the said icon is in the ICO format. If you’ve downloaded the icon from the Internet then it is probably in PNG or JPG format. In that case, convert the icon to ICO format. There are a lot of free services on the internet that can convert images to ICO format.

If you don’t already have an icon, use websites like IconArchive to download some nice free icons.

Also, store the icon somewhere safe. For example, I generally store all my icons in a dedicated folder so that I don’t accidentally delete the said icon. If you delete the icon after setting up, the file type will show default or no icon.

Change File Icon for Any File Type

Unlike the folder icon, there is no built-in option to change the file icon in Windows 10 or previous versions of Windows for that matter. You have to edit registry keys. It is messy and unnecessarily complex. So, we are going to use a free, portable, and small software called FileTypesMan from Nirsoft Utilities.

1. First, download FileTypesManager from Nirsoft. Being a portable application, there is no need to install it. Just extract the ZIP file and execute the application. In the main home screen, you will see all the file types in your system.

Change file icon win 10 - blank file icon

2. In the application, find the file type you are looking for, right-click on it and select “Edit Selected File Type” option.

Change file icon win 10 - select edit

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

Change file icon win 10 - click browse

4. 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

5. In this window, go to where you’ve stored the icon, select it and click on the “Open” button.

Change file icon win 10 - select icon and open

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

Change file icon win 10 - select icon

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

Change file icon win 10 - confirm changes

8. 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 set by me rather than the blank icon.

Change file icon win 10 - custom icon for file type

If you are not seeing the changes immediately, either restart Windows File Explorer or reboot Windows. Doing any one of the two actions should reflect the changes.

Hope that helps. If you stuck in the procedure or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, do check out how to set a custom icon to drives in Windows 10 and how to create an invisible folder in Windows.

3 thoughts on “How to Change a File Icon in Windows 10 (for Any File Type)”

  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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