Libraries can be used in various ways to enhance Windows user experience. One such way is to create an upgraded Start Menu, as I wrote about it in my previous post. An important aspect of library customization is the changing of their default icons.
I renamed the default Videos library to Tools. And I also wanted to give it a custom icon that would fit the library’s new name. The default icon is a movie strip…
To change the icon of a library, do the following.
Locate the .library-ms File
Open up Notepad or Notepad++.
Launch Windows Explorer — press
Now locate the
Edit the .library-ms File
On line number 7 of the file, the code says:
It also specifies the position of the icon within the container file. If there is only one icon in the container, the value will be set to default which is 0.
Unfortunately, none of the icons included in it are useful for a folder called Tools.
Create a Fitting Icon
I combined the two templates into a 256 × 256 pixels image with transparent background in Photoshop Elements.
And saved the image as
However, to display this image as my Tools library icon I needed to convert the PNG image into an icon and then add that icon into a DLL file which can hold icons.
Create an Icon DLL
To do all that, I downloaded GConvert which is an icon management tool and is free to use for 15 days.
Although I only used GConvert in trial mode, all its features were fully functional.
After the 15 days you need to buy the software or uninstall it. I only needed to use it once, so there was no need to buy it. And I uninstalled it immediately afterwards.
Create an Icon
The first step is to create an ICO format icon from the PNG image. To do this, click on the
I selected the 256 × 256 pixels dimension for the icon. Plus I selected
Then I exported the image as an ICO file.
Convert Icon to Icon Library
The next step is to convert the ICO icon file to an ICL icon library file.
To do this, open the ICO file you just created via
Then, go to
Convert Icon Library to DLL
The third and final step is to convert the ICL icon library file to an icon DLL.
To do this, go to
I saved the DLL as
This way I created an icon DLL with a single icon in it.
All that remained was to replace the above-mentioned iconReference line in the Tools.library-ms file.
I returned to Notepad++ which had the Tools.library-ms file still open and edited line number 7 to read:
I saved the changes to the file.
The icon change took effect immediately in Windows Explorer.
But for the Start Menu icon to change I had to log off from Windows and log on again.
The result looks good, doesn’t it?
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