Seeing the same icons on our computer every day is boring. We need a change from time to time in order to have a better experience. And changing the icons is free and easy. All you need to do is to find new icons, know the correct dimensions and know how to change the icons. But don’t worry. All three things will be explained in this article.
How to find many cool icons for free?
All you need to do is go to either findicons.com or iconfinder.com. These two websites are loaded with tons of free icons. Currently the first one has 313 284 and the second 165 127 of them.
They both have a search bar and both offer different sizes for most of the files. Another awesome thing is that we can choose to download the file as .ICO or as .PNG. All these features will be very useful to us later in the article.
Which are the correct dimensions?
I did some experiments and I found out the best dimensions for each are in Windows 7. Basically in order to have a smooth and nice image quality we need the exact pixel size as the area it self. This means:
- Desktop icons (on small size setting): 32x32px
- Desktop icons (on medium size setting): 48x48px
- Start Menu (first page): 32x32px
- Start Menu (inside all programs): 16x16px
- Taskbar (use small icons is checked): 16x16px
- Taskbar (use small icons is not checked): 32x32px
- Windows account picture: At least 48x48px
As you can see we need a different size depending on the way we have set up Windows. This does not seem to be true however for the account picture. I tested different sizes and they all looked the same as long as they are above 48x48px. There is another thing we should know here and this is that the file type cannot be .ICO for the account picture. So here we will download a .PNG file and for everything else we need .ICO files.
Read: Microsoft Shortcut Key
Let’s do this!
First you need to decide which icons you want to change. It will be best to make a list on a peace of paper or in a text file so you know what to search for. Then go to one of the websites I mentioned above and find the icons you like. Download the right size and file type for each area.
When you are done, make a folder somewhere on your computer where you will put all the files you just downloaded. You can separate the different sizes in different subfolder if you like. You must not move or rename this folder in the future so pick a good place where it will be safe.
Once you have your folder with all the files the only thing that remains is to change the icons. Keep reading to see quick instructions for doing just that for each area in Windows 7.
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Change a desktop shortcut or a start menu icon
First you need to keep in mind that some shortcuts that are made automatically when you install a program don’t allow this. For example when you install Skype an icon appears. But this icon cannot be changed. So you actually need to make a new Skype shortcut and then it will work.
And here are the instructions to change a desktop shortcut icon (not for folders or files) or a start menu icon in Windows 7: Right click on it -> Properties -> Change Icon… -> Browse… -> Find your folder with the icons -> Choose an icon by clicking on it -> Open -> OK -> OK.
Change a taskbar icon
In Windows 7 you can pin shortcuts to the taskbar. But once you pin them you can’t change their icon. So first you need to make a new shortcut on the desktop and use the method above to change the icon. Remember to use a size according to your taskbar icon settings this time. It will look bad on your desktop but once you pin it on the taskbar it will be perfect.
Read: How To Enable Desktop Slideshow In Windows 7
Change the Windows account picture
As we said earlier here we need a .PNG file with any size (above 48x48px). To make the change do the following: Right click on an empty area on the desktop -> Personalize -> Change your account picture -> Browse for more pictures … -> Find the image and click it -> Open.
This is a guest post by Nikolay from Chat4o (en.chat4o.com). There you can find a lot of useful information about Skype related issues. One of the articles is about changing the Skype shortcut icon. Check it out.