Customize your desktop icons

Recently we have received e-mails from our readers asking us to help them customize or restore their standard desktop icons. In order to answer their questions and also help other people having the same “problems”, we decided to publish this article. We will show you how to customize the list of standard icons shown on the desktop, how to change their icons and how to restore the originals, in case you want the standard icons back.

In Windows 10 you can customize your desktop icons by following our tutorial on how to add an icon to control panel on your desktop. In step three, where you select which items appear on your desktop you also have a button that says “Change Icon…”.

First, right click on your desktop and select Personalize.


The Personalization panel will open. Click on Change desktop icons.


Now, the Desktop Icon Settings window will launch. Here, you can select the icons you want to be shown on your desktop by checking the appropriate boxes. Computer stands for the My Computer icon (from Windows XP), User’s Files is the shortcut to your user folder (where you can find your Documents, Music, Pictures, Contacts) and so on.

Desktop Icon Settings

After you have checked the icons you want on your desktop you can also change their image. To do that, click on the icon you want to change and then on the Change Icon button.

Change Icon

In the Change Icon window you have to Browse to the new icon image. When you have found the new icon image, select it and click on Open.

Change Icon

You can follow this procedure for all the icons shown in the Desktop Icon Settings window.

Windows Vista desktop icons

If you don’t like the new icons you have assigned you can always go back to the default ones. To do that, go to the Desktop Icon Settings window, select the icon you want to restore and press the Restore Default button.

Related articles:
How to change the size of your icons
How to change the font size in Windows Vista
How to change Window Color and Appearance
Remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from your Windows Vista shortcuts
How to configure the Screen Saver

Recommended articles:
ITsVISTA Tip 58: Restore your Quick Launch ‘Show Desktop’ icon

11 thoughts on “Customize your desktop icons”

  1. Icons in Vista
    I’m having trouble with the SIZE of the visat icons – I want to make them smaller but can’t find the controls. I have two laptops with vista – one is sized ok, the other it’s icons are too big. Why the difference? Both laptops have the same screen rez.

    So far, Vista bites.

    • desktop icons
      Beats the hell outta me. I want to know how to move the icons around on the screen, and so do many other people. It seemed that the other comments were concerned with the size, style,and/or color; I want to move them. It irks me that MS can’t make them free moving as they have been for 20 yrs.

  2. Computer icon first icon on desktop?
    Anyone know how to default the first desktop icon to Computer on the Vista desktop as can be done in XP using Tweakui?


  3. icons
    just type ” free icons “there are 10’s of thousands available.
    i have over 30,000.
    some sites.
    deviant art
    a nice free program to try is ~ “file iconizer “.a simple 3 step system.this will let you put your choice of icon on any file.

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