How to Change USB Drive Icon with Custom .ico File

Windows lets you change the default USB drive icon with a custom .ico file. Here are the steps you should follow to change the USB icon.

When you plug in a USB drive, with its default icon it appears just like any other drive in Windows. Often, it can hard to differentiate between system drives and USB thumb drive. If you have multiple USB drives, it is a good idea to change the USB drive icon to a custom icon. Adding a custom icon to the USB drive not only gives it a personalized look but also makes it quite easy to find it among the other drives and partitions.

In this quick guide, let me show you the process of changing the USB drive icon in Windows 10, 8, and 7.

Before proceeding, make sure you have the custom icon in .ico format. If you don’t have one, use websites like IconArchive to download one. You can also convert existing JPG or PNG images to ICO format.

Steps to Change USB Drive Icon using Notepad

To add a custom USB drive icon, all you have to do is copy the icon to the drive and use notepad to tell Windows to use the new icon instead of the default icon.

These are the steps you should follow to change the USB drive icon using Notepad.

  1. Plug-in the USB drive.
  2. Find and copy the .ico icon to the root of the USB drive.
  3. Rename the icon to “Drive.ico“.
    Custom usb drive icon - copy icon to usb
  4. In the USB drive, right-click and select “New → Text document“.
    Custom usb drive icon - create file
  5. Name the file as “autorun.inf“. It is important that you replace the .txt file extension with .inf.
    Custom usb drive icon - rename file
  6. Right-click on the “autorun.inf” file and select “Open“.
    Custom usb drive icon - select open
  7. In the file, copy and paste the below code.
    [autorun]
    ICON=Drive.ico
  8. Press “Ctrl + S” to save the file.
    Custom usb drive icon - add code
  9. Close the Notepad.

That is it. Remove and insert the USB drive again to see the new icon in the File Explorer.

Custom usb drive icon - usb drive icon changed

(Optional) hide drive.ico and autorun.inf files

Both the Drive.ico and autorun.inf files can be distracting. You can hide them so that they don’t appear alongside other files or folders in the USB drive.

  1. Select both Drive.ico and autorun.inf files, right-click on them and select “Properties“.
    Custom usb drive icon - select properties
  2. In the properties window, select “Read-only” and “Hidden” checkboxes.
  3. Click on the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save changes.
    Custom usb drive icon - hidden checkbox

That is it. Both files are now hidden. If you want to see them, go to the “View” tab and select the “Hidden files” checkbox.

Restore Default USB Drive Icon

If you no longer want to use the custom icon, you can restore the default icon by simply deleting the Drive.ico and autorun.inf files.

  1. Plug-in the USB drive and open it.
  2. Go to the “View” tab and select the “Hidden files” checkbox.
    Custom usb drive icon - show hidden files
  3. This will show the hidden files. Select both “Drive.ico” and “autorun.inf” files, right-click on them and select the “Delete” option.
    Custom usb drive icon - delete
  4. You will see a warning message, click “Yes“.
    Custom usb drive icon - warning yes

That is it. After deleting the files, re-insert the USB drive and you will see the default drive icon instead of the custom icon.

Custom usb drive icon - usb icon restored to default

To hide the hidden files, go to the “View” tab, and uncheck the “Hidden files” option.

Custom usb drive icon - hide files

That is it. It is that simple to change the USB drive icon with a custom .ico file.

I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible. If you like this article, check out how to turn on write protection for USB drives in Windows.

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