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Changing Icons For Shortcuts Pinned To The Taskbar

Kenneth from NY writes:

Is there a way to change the icon of the new shortcut you pinned to the task bar?

The taskbar makes it simple to quickly bring up any program you need to use frequently, but if you are going to always be seeing the entries on your taskbar you may want to change their icons to something more pleasing to the eye. For whatever reason, the ability to change icons for any program or folder pinned to the taskbar has never been built into the Windows operating system. But like most problems experienced with Windows, there’s a workaround available to bypass the issue. In this case the problem is incredibly easy to overcome, as you only need to unpin the program, change the icon through the desktop, and then re-pin it to the taskbar.

Windows 7 only allows you to change icon files if you are currently logged into the operating system with an administrator account. If you run into an error message while trying to change the icon, navigate to the “Shut Down” option in the “Start” menu and click “Switch User” to switch over to an administrator account.

To get the process started, right-click the icon on the taskbar that you want to change and then select the option labeled “Unpin this program from the taskbar.”

Unpinning a Shortcut

Check to see if you already have the program’s shortcut positioned somewhere on your desktop. If the shortcut isn’t already there, navigate to the program or folder in the “Start” menu. Click and drag the icon over toward the desktop until the “Move to Desktop” option appears underneath the image. Release the mouse button to move the shortcut to the desktop.

Moving Shortcuts to the Desktop

Right-click the shortcut and click the “Properties” option to bring up a new window with another list of options.

Opening Shortcut Properties

Click the “Change Icon” button, which is positioned underneath the “Comment” heading and to the right of the “Open File Location” button.

The Change Icon Button

Scroll through the list of available icon images and click the picture you want to use. Click “OK” to save your selected image. If instead you want to use a custom image saved on your computer, click the “Browse” button and locate the file’s location on your hard drive. Double-click the name of the file to select the icon and then click “OK.”

Keep in mind when using custom images that only files that end in the “.ico” file extension can be used as icons. If you have a GIF or JPEG image you want to use, you will first need to convert it to the ICO format, which can be done by using a free online conversion tool such as ICO Converter [1] or iConvertIcons [2].

Selecting A New Icon

Click the “Apply” button at the lower-right corner of the window to change the shortcut’s icon to the selected image.

The Apply Button

Right-click the shortcut again after the icon has been successfully changed and select the “Pin to Taskbar” option to return the program to the taskbar.

Pinning to the Taskbar

If you ever want to change the icon again, simply repeat the process of unpinning, modifying the icon file, and then re-pinning.

~ Ty Arthur