How To Use Icons
Note: This whole article currently assumes you’re using XP, though much of it will work on other Windows OSes.
There are several methods of changing icons. The simplest is using a program like Icon Packager ($14.95) or CandyXP (free, see below), in which you can simply drag your new icon over the kind you want to replace, and then apply. This allows you to change your icons system-wide, on the go. What’s even more convenient with most similar programs is that you can save your current setup as a package, (a .ip in Icon Packager). Simply double clicking the package will load all the icons for you.
IconPhile is a similar program that is also recommended. After you click to install it, it should be located in Start>Programs>Accessories>IconPhile.
Note These programs will not work with many shell replacements, including Litestep. If using one, you’ll have to change the icons manually as described in the ResHacking section (below).
How to Change Icons with CandyXP
CandyXP is a free program that can be used to change your icons. First you’ll need to Download CandyXP and save it to My Documents (or a folder where you’ll be able to find it). Once the file has finished downloading, open up My Documents (or the folder where you saved it to) and unzip the candyxp-v0.1.6.zip file (see How To Unzip A File). Then double-click the CandyXP.exe file to open the program.
To replace an icon, you simply need to drag an icon from the icons you have downloaded onto the one you want to replace in CandyXP.
ResHacking program icons
Another shortcoming of the aforementioned programs is that while they can change most all system icons (those in your shell32.dll), they can’t change all of your program icons. In order to do this you’ll need to “reshack”, using a program called Resource Hacker, often simply referred to as ResHacker.
In order to change a program icon with this, you’ll need to open the program from the browse menu. In the menus in the left panel, find ‘Icon Group.’ Browse through the numbered sub folders to find the program icon you’re looking to replace. Once found, you can simply either right click the icon group in the left pane (1033) or select action when it’s highlighted, and then select “Replace Resource.” A new dialogue will pop up, where you can browse for your replacement icon. Click Replace, save the file, and reboot the program. The changes should go into effect immediately.
ResHacking shell32.dll icons
As previously mentioned, you’ll be unable to replace system icons using said programs if you’re running an alternative shell, like litestep. You can still change these icons using ResHacker though, by loading shell32.dll, usually found in your system32 folder. Much like changing your program icons, find the specific icon(s) you want to replace in Icon Group, select and change them. The difference, however, is that Windows won’t allow you to save the .dll replacing the current one. For now, save it in a different location. You’ll need a program called Replacer, which safely allows you to replace in-use system files, like shell32.dll. The directions are pretty self-explanatory, just click and drag the original file into the prompt, followed by the replacement one which you just saved elsewhere. For more important .dll’s, like shell32, you’ll need to restart to see changes.