How Can I Change the Icon for a File Extension or File Type?

It is very easy to change the icon associated with a File Type once you learn the trick. Below I’ll show you how to change the icon for the Text file type. Windows will let you do this, but it’s not often easy. I recommend that you try out a small free stand-alone program called “Default Programs Editor” that makes it simple to change the icons for file types.

Default Programs Editor (DPE)

You can download DPE here. (requires Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5)
If you don’t want to or can’t use .Net Framework, then this freebie, File Association Editor, will also work for you.

DPE will download as a zip file. You’ll need to extract the contents of the zip file to a folder of your choice. Start the program by double clicking Default Programs Editor.exe. Then click File Type Settings.


Choose the Icondialog.


Use the search field to find the file type you want. In this case I typed in txtto find the file type for text files.


It will show the current icon associated with Text files. Click the Browsebutton to select a new icon.


Now it shows the location of the current icon. Click Browseonce more, to go to an icon file or library you need. I selected the shell32.dlllibrary which is in the Windows\System32 folder.


Just for fun, I chose the red circle with a crossbar through it.


Click the Save Iconbutton and you’ll see this message.
The settings for Text Documentwere successfully changed


Finally, click Doneand you’ll be able to see that all your chosen files have a new icon.


Here’s what my text files look like now.


I don’t think I’ll be keeping this icon for my text files, but I hope you get the idea.

Be careful out there and have a nice day.

Published by

Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

  • Idan

    It works a way better than any other programs, thank you! It’s easy and fast – now I’m having customized almost all frequently used icons. ♥!