How to customize the Desktop: Change or restore shortcut icons

In one of our previous article s we've shown how to add or remove standard shortcuts on the Desktop, such as Computer, Network, Control Panel or your  User's Files. N ow, we would like to illustrate how you can customize these icons. In case you're not  happy with the changes you made, this article also shows  how to revert back to the default icons in Windows.

NOTE:  This guide applies to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

How to change the icons for Computer, your user's files, Network & Recycle Bin

If you want to change the icons used by the default Desktop shortcuts in Windows, you need to open the Desktop Icon Settings window. Depending on what version of Windows you use, this panel can be opened in several ways. If you don't know how to start this window, read this article: How to customize the Desktop: Add or remove standard shortcuts.

The Desktop Icon Settings  window shows the list of default shortcuts that can be enabled or disabled. You should know that you can use the following procedure to change the default Desktop icons, with one exception: you cannot change the icon used for the  Control Panel.

To change the icon of a shortcut, select it and press the Change Icon  button .

Next, select the icon you prefer and click or tap OK. If you would like to try other icons than those suggested by Windows, read this guide  to learn where you can find other good looking icons.

In order to confirm your action press OK  once more.

If you'd like more details about changing icons, you should also read this article: How To Change the Icon of Any Shortcut in Windows. We recommend that you always use icons with a size of 256x256 pixels in order to ensure that they will be properly displayed when using the Large icons view. Smaller icons are OK but they won't look great when using this view.

NOTE:   On the bottom of the Desktop Icon Settings  window there is a checkbox named "Allow themes to change desktop icons". If it is checked, the themes you install are allowed to change the icons of the standard Desktop shortcuts. If you don't want this, uncheck the setting.

How to restore the default icons for Computer, User's Files, Network & Recycle Bin

If you want to restore the default icons for the standard Desktop  shortcuts, you need to go back to the Desktop Icon Settings windows.

Now select the shortcut for which you want to revert to the default icon and press the Restore Default  button.

The icon has been restored. Click or tap OK  and you are done.


As you can see from this tutorial, changing the icons used by the standard Desktop  shortcuts is a very easy thing to do. For more guides about personalization , check the articles recommended below and, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask us in the comments section.