How to Change Icons on Windows 11: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

Changing icons on Windows 11 can give your desktop a fresh look! Whether you want to personalize your system or just make it more organized, this guide will show you how to do it. With a few simple steps, you can replace boring default icons with ones that match your style.

How to Change Icons on Windows 11

Changing icons on Windows 11 is easy and lets you customize your desktop to your liking. Here’s how you can change icons for folders, shortcuts, and system icons step by step:

Step 1: Right-click the Icon You Want to Change

Locate the icon you want to change (folder, shortcut, or system icon) and right-click on it.

Right-clicking will open a contextual menu with several options. This is your gateway to customization. For folders and shortcuts, you’ll find the "Properties" option. For system icons, you might need to go through the Settings app.

Step 2: Select "Properties" from the Menu

Click on "Properties" from the contextual menu that appears.

The Properties window provides different tabs where you can tweak various settings. For changing icons, you’ll mainly be focusing on the "Shortcut" or "Customize" tab depending on what you are altering.

Step 3: Go to the "Shortcut" or "Customize" Tab

Navigate to the "Shortcut" or "Customize" tab in the Properties window.

In this tab, you’ll find a button labeled "Change Icon." This button is your gateway to a library of default icons, but you can also browse for custom icons if you have them.

Step 4: Click "Change Icon"

Click on the "Change Icon" button to open the icon selection window.

A new window will pop up showing several default icons. If you have your own icon files (usually .ico format), you can click "Browse" to find and select them from your computer.

Step 5: Choose Your New Icon

Select the icon you want from the list or browse for a custom one and then click "OK."

After selecting your icon, clicking "OK" will take you back to the Properties window. Here, you’ll see a preview of your new icon.

Step 6: Apply the Changes

Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your changes and close the Properties window.

Once you hit "Apply," your icon will immediately change to the new one you’ve selected. If it doesn’t, you may need to refresh your desktop or restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

After completing these steps, your selected icon will be updated, reflecting the new look you’ve chosen. This makes your desktop not only look better but also feel more personal.

Tips for Changing Icons on Windows 11

  • Backup Original Icons: Always save a copy of the original icons in case you want to revert to them later.
  • Icon Packs: You can download icon packs online that offer a cohesive look for all your desktop icons.
  • Consistency: Try to maintain a consistent theme or color scheme to avoid a cluttered look.
  • High Resolution: Use high-resolution icons to ensure they look good on all screen sizes.
  • Icon Format: Ensure your custom icons are in .ico format for compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change system icons like Recycle Bin or This PC?

You can change system icons by going to Settings > Personalization > Themes > Desktop Icon Settings.

Can I use PNG files as icons?

No, you need to convert PNG files to .ico format before using them as icons.

Do the changes affect all users on the computer?

No, icon changes are specific to each user profile on the computer.

Can I revert back to the default icons?

Yes, by going back to the Properties window and selecting "Restore Defaults."

Why don’t my new icons appear immediately?

You might need to refresh your desktop or restart your computer for the changes to take effect.


  1. Right-click the icon
  2. Select "Properties"
  3. Go to "Shortcut" or "Customize" tab
  4. Click "Change Icon"
  5. Choose your new icon
  6. Apply the changes


Changing icons on Windows 11 is a simple yet effective way to make your computer truly yours. With these straightforward steps, you can easily replace default icons with something that better fits your style. Whether you’re sprucing up your desktop for better organization or just for the fun of it, this small tweak can make a big difference.

Remember to backup your original icons and opt for high-resolution options for the best results. If you run into any issues, refer back to the FAQ section for quick solutions.

So, fire up your creativity and start customizing! A personalized workspace can even boost your productivity. If you found this guide helpful, share it with friends looking to add a personal touch to their Windows 11 setup. Happy customizing!