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How to Change Icons on Windows 10

Windows OS includes several icons for you to utilize and personalize your computer. But like most peculiarities of Windows, the choices to customize and modify the icons are buried deep inside. Nevertheless, as you will discover, it is not actually challenging to change and transform the look of your PC.

How to Change Icons on Windows 10

Scroll down to learn how to change icons on Windows 10. First, you will learn how to change desktop, folder, file, and recycle bin icons by accessing the native Windows 10 library. And as a follow up you will also learn to customize all the Windows 10 icons by the ones available on the internet.

How to Change Desktop Icons on Windows 10?

While there are several ways (third-party apps) to change desktop icons on Windows 10, the most direct method is via accessing the Settings app. Here’s how to change icons on Windows 10:

Step 1. Go to the Search bar and type in Settings. Click on Open (on the right pane) to open Settings on Windows 10.

Within the Settings app, choose Personalization.

(To access the same Personalization options from the desktop, right-click on an empty area on the desktop and from the context menu — select Personalize).

Step 2. From the left pane, click on Themes.

Now, on the right pane, scroll to the Related Settings option and select Desktop icon settings.

The Personalization options highlighting the options to change desktop icons on Windows 10

Step 3. In the Desktop icon settings pop-up, choose the icon that you want to customize. (Windows allows you to change only one icon at once).

Choose the Change Icon option after selecting the desired icon.

The Desktop Icon Settings pop-up highlighting the options to change the desktop on Windows 10

Step 4. From the Change Icon pop-up box, choose the icon that you want to replace the current icon with and click OK.

The Change Icon pop-up showing how to change desktop icons on Windows 10

Click Apply to apply the new icon successfully.

Note: To choose an icon that you downloaded (or created), click on the Browse option next to Look for icons in this file: box.

  • From the pop-up window, navigate and select the desired icon that you want to Apply.
  • Click on OK.
  • Select Apply to replace the desired icon.

As stated, the options are hidden, but it is considerably effortless to change the desktop icons on Windows 10. Be it from the local library or the one downloaded from the internet — you can follow these simple methods and change the desktop icons conveniently.

How to Change Folder Icons on Windows 10?

The option to change folder icons on Windows 10 is accessible on the File Explorer ribbon; follow up to learn how to change folder icons on Windows 10:

Step 1. Hover to the desired folder.

Right-click on the desired folder and choose Properties from the context menu options (the last one).

Step 2. In the {folder’s name} Properties box, select the Customize tab.

Click on Change Icon from the Folder Icons box.

The Properties box of folder highlighting the Change Icon option within Customize tab

Step 3. From the Change Icon for {folder’s name} folder, choose an icon that best suits your needs.

Click OK.

The Change Icon for folder box showcasing all the icons to change the folder icon on Windows 10

Select Apply.

Note: You can change the system folder like Document, Downloads, etc., using the above method, but you can follow the same method by selecting the Choose File option (from the Folder Picture box) to browse an image from the computer and apply that instead.

Also, to use an icon that is not present in the native Windows 10 library — click on Browse and select the desired icon. Hit OK after selecting. And Apply to change the look of the desired folder.

There you go! You have now learned how to change the folder icons on Windows 10. So customizing the look of the folders will not be troublesome anymore.

How to Change File Icons on Windows 10?

Changing the File Icons requires you to edit the registry and modify the value data of ‘Progid (e.g., txtfile)’ — meaning there is a lot of work involved in changing one particular file type. And when it comes to modifying icons of all file types — the task becomes even more laborious. So it is salutary to utilize third-party freeware tools like File TypeMan that can help you customize the file icons conveniently and efficiently. Here we will use the mentioned tool — the File TypeMan — to change the file icons on Windows 10.

Follow these simple steps to learn how to change the file type icons on Windows 10 using File TypeMan:

Step 1. Get FileTypeMan on Windows 10.

Open the application and choose the file type (by default it lists all the files present on your PC; still, you can select the individual file type manually and insert it).

FileTypeMan interface showing highlighting how to change file icon on Windows 10

Close the Find pop-up once you see the file type in the Find What: box

Step 2. Right-click on the file type.

Select Edit Selected File Type.

FileTypesMan interface highlighting the option to change file type icon on Windows 10

In the Edit File Type pop-up, choose the … (three dots) next to Default Icon box.

Edit File Type pop-up of FileTypeMan highlighting the option to change file type icon on Windows 10

Step 3. You will see the Choose Icon box like in the previous methods. Choose one from the local library or click on Browse to import a saved icon.

Change Icon showing the options to change file type icon on Windows 10

Click OK.

Again, select OK on the FileTypeMan interface to save the changes successfully.

Yes, the method utilizes a third-party tool but the convenience is worth recognizing. Plus, you can delete the application once you changed the file type icon (in case you want to clean your PC and get rid of unwanted data) — as FileTypeMan is a standalone application and doesn’t demand installation on the computer to work.

How to Change Recycle Icons on Windows 10?

Being a part of the desktop, changing the Recycle Bin icons is the same exactly as modifying the desktop icons mentioned above. Still, here’s how to change the recycle (empty and full) bin icons on Windows 10:

  • Open Settings.
  • Choose Personalization.
  • From the left pane, select Themes.
  • Then, Go to the right-most pane, and choose Desktop icon settings under Related Settings options.
  • From the pop up choose either of Recycle Bins (empty or full) icons. And click on the Change Icon option.
  • In the Change Icon box, choose the desired icon you want to apply and click on OK. (Choose Browse if you want to import an icon not available in the local library).
  • And click Apply to save the changes successfully.

Note: You can customize the other Recycle Bin icon. For instance, if you have changed Recycle Bin (full) icon — change the empty one this time. Or vice versa by following the same method mentioned above.

FAQs About Icons in Windows 10

1. How can I show or hide desktop icons on Windows 10?

Follow these simple steps to show desktop icons on Windows 10:

  • Right-click on an empty space on your desktop.
  • Choose Personalize.
  • From the left pane of the screen, click on Themes.
  • And from the right-most side of the Themes screen, choose Desktop icon settings under the Related Setting options.
  • On the pop-up Desktop Icon Settings screen, check the box present before the programs to show them on the desktop.

In case you want to remove desktop icons like This PC from desktop — you have to uncheck the boxes.

2. How can I download free desktop, folder, file type, and Recycle Bin icons from the internet?

Sites like Flaticon, icons8, and similar freeware sites have a huge library of free icons. You can visit those and download the desired icons without any watermark or sticker for absolutely free. Needless to say, you can utilize the above method to change File Type, Folder, Desktop, and Recycle Bin icons utilizing the downloaded icons.

3. How can I create icons on Windows 10?

You can utilize the native Paint tool to create a personalized icon and change the desktop, file type, folder icons on Windows 10.


As you have seen, it is that simple to change the desktop, folder, and recycle bin icons. Yes, the file type icons can test your patience with the registry editing, and that is why this guide presents a much simpler option to change the file type icons, i.e., using the FileTypesMan.

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