How to Change the ICON of an EXECUTABLE file

Change Icon of an EXE FileSome times it becomes necessary to change the icon of an executable file so that the file gets a new appearance. Many of the tools such as TuneUP Winstyler does this job by adjusting the Windows to display a custom icon to the user. But, in reality if the file is carried to a different computer, then it shows its original icon itself.

This means that in order to permanently change the icon, it is necessary to modify the executable file and embed the icon inside the file itself. When this is done the executable file’s icon is changed permanently, so that even if you take file to a different computer it show’s a new icon.

For this purpose I have found a nice tool which will modidify the executable file and embed the icon of your choice into the file itself. ie: The tool changes the icon of the executable file permanently.

How to Change the Executable File Icon?

Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to use this tool to change the icon of any EXE file:

  1. Go to www.shelllabs.com and download the trial version of IconChanger and install it (Works on XP, Vista and Win 7).

  2. Run the IconChanger program from Start -> All Programs and you should see an interface as shown below:

    Change EXE File Icon

  3. Now you will see a window stating that “Choose an object whose icon you want to change”. Click on the “OK” button.

  4. Now select the executable file for which you wish to change the icon.

  5. Icon changer will automatically search for all the icons on your “C:\ drive” so that you can select any one of those. If your desired icon is not shown in the window, you may paste the path of your icon file in the field which says “Search icons in” so that your desired icon gets displayed.

  6. Select the ICON of your choice and click on Set button.

  7. Now a popup window will appear and ask you to select from either of these two options.

    • Change embeded icon.
    • Adjust Windows to display custom icon.
  8. Select the first option (Change embedded icon). You are done. The icon gets changed.

I hope you like this post. Pass your comments in case if you have any queries or clarifications.

66 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 5, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Cool,thanks for the info,was looking for something like this


  2. zenith
    December 13, 2008 at 9:56 AM

    Great but need more.


  3. Srikanth
    December 13, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    @ zenith

    What more u need? If u have ny problem share it…


  4. Saj
    December 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM

    Icon changer is cool application but it has a problem.
    It changes icon of the exe, but when I minimize the exe, it shoes previous icon in the taskbar.

    Any suggestions for this?

    Regards,
    Saj


  5. Srikanth
    December 30, 2008 at 7:42 PM

    @ Saj

    Restart the system and try…

    make sure you select the option (Change embeded icon) while changing the icon


  6. me, comming with problems
    January 12, 2009 at 1:15 AM

    it doesn t works i tryed but doens t works i pressed change embeded icon and it doesn t works im on linux …


  7. Srikanth
    January 12, 2009 at 6:29 AM

    @ me, comming with problems

    It only works on Windows and not on Linux..


  8. sushant
    February 20, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    hats offto u srikanth


  9. Aghaamou
    April 6, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Very Thanks…


  10. Neel
    April 7, 2009 at 3:24 PM

    hello srikanth i am using Torbo C++ to compile .c file however i am not able to change the ico nof the generated .exe file ?? which compiler do you use ???


    • Srikanth
      April 8, 2009 at 3:22 PM

      @ Neel

      You need to use a 32-bit compiler to change the icon of the compiled executable. I guess you are using a 16-bit compiler…


  11. MrNeoDark
    May 15, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    It’s great.. tnx bro.. :-)


  12. karthi
    May 19, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    good think…… but i can’t change c prog .exe file icons…


    • Srikanth
      May 21, 2009 at 6:55 AM

      @ karthi
      You need to compile C progras in 32-bit compiler to change the .exe icon. I suppose you’re using a 16-bit compiler.


  13. karthi
    May 19, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    sorry i got it…. sir


  14. Bhargavi Goswami
    July 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    Thanks, its so easy and useful.


  15. maui
    July 20, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    Great stuff…


  16. soumik
    July 22, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    very usefull application…thnx…keep it up…


  17. Neolite
    October 12, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    Thanks for sharing nice information.


  18. Abhijeet
    November 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    I have not tried but i know it will work becouse you are genious


  19. d_a_r_k
    December 5, 2009 at 8:30 PM

    First of all thank you for this awesome tool, but I’ve encountered a problem when i try to change icon for a large .exe file. It doesn’t seem to change even after rr
    any suggestions?


  20. Pavan Somu
    December 16, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    Nice tool. Thanks for sharing.


  21. h@ckfreak
    January 19, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    hi!!!!! sir i am following your site and i want to know how did you do this i mean is their any institute which teaches this if yes then sir please tell me or if you can mail me please sir i will wait for your mail


  22. Aristide
    January 28, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    sorry, i read your guide to make a trojan horse that occupys disk space, but i am afraid of damaging my computer because im a noob, can you help me plz?


  23. victor
    February 13, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    wonderful!!


  24. nid1123
    March 2, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    hi it is nice tool.
    can u tell me the direct website to download the
    linux operating system ? please tell me.


  25. sashank
    March 4, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    nice and coll,hot and spicy tricks want some more….
    hats off


  26. Dhaval
    April 1, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Thnx yar


  27. Whit3
    April 19, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    thanks helped a lot man :D


  28. anku
    May 1, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    hiee…. srikant
    m new to ur site n’d it’s very much interesting…..
    thnk’s 4 sharing ur knowledge…
    can u let me know which book i must refer in order to make viruses….
    in c or c++ n’d also 4 creating d desktop applications???


  29. shan
    May 28, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    hai srikanth
    i liked ur creativities bt how can i change a 16bit compiler to 32 bit compiler.


  30. shreeprakash
    July 4, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    hai sir,

    will this work in win7


    • Srikanth
      July 5, 2010 at 6:28 AM

      @ shreeprakash

      It should work on Win 7 32-bit edition. But not sure about 64-bit.


  31. pinky
    July 18, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    thanks dude grt work.


  32. Sh@r@n
    July 28, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Great work sir……….im ur fan…….but can u give some more detail explanation of the logic (c code)………..not for this one……all.


  33. Arpit
    August 10, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Many thanks, Srikanth.. I love you


  34. Rakesh (Roorkee)
    August 29, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    This worked Indeed.

    I am waiting for further tricks.


  35. Lowen
    September 1, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    i must confess that this site has been of great benefit to me as a visitor. i’m luking 4wrd 2 becoming one of u guyz. how do i register?


  36. Ølars
    November 22, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    Worked on many exes, but some exes dont work!

    When i run the program an alert prompts me:’Not a valid win32 application’.

    I have choosed ‘change embedded icon’
    I have not a trial.

    What to do?????!


    • Srikanth
      November 23, 2010 at 9:56 PM

      @ Ølars

      The exe file must be a Win32 application, that means it should be 32-bit only. You get the above error only if the executable file is not of 32-bit (may be it is 16/64 bit).


  37. n33r0
    February 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    You cannot change the icon of an executable file if it has been compressed. When I say compressed, I mean packed like UPX exe packer and not archived like zip or rar.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executable_compression

    Therefore, not all executables’ resources like icons can be changed by resource editors like Icon Changer.


    • Srikanth
      February 24, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      @ n33r0

      Thanks for your input :)


  38. san
    February 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    thanx………..
    to share useful information.


  39. ajboy
    February 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    nice tools.. it works like shooting star..it helps me alot


  40. Anju
    March 8, 2011 at 6:12 AM

    Thanks


  41. snn546
    April 8, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    hi, i’m running win7 x64.
    i’m not able to change the icon for VLC application. it keeps givin me the error that
    “cannot open vlc. close any program that might be using the file”
    i’ve tried restarting the pc and closing everything, but stil it dsnt work. any ideas??


  42. sunny
    July 2, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    really its work thank U frinz


  43. Mahesh M. Kadam
    August 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Hi thanx for this cool application but the window did not poped up (Point No 7)as u said and it can be used for only 3 changes. And when u uninstall it; it reverse all changes. Any help for this


    • Srikanth
      October 24, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      @ Mahesh M. Kadam

      Use the full version of the software so that it should work fine…


  44. Token
    October 24, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    When I want to change an icon of EXE file…it warns can not change some icon(s)… please help me.


  45. Pondo23
    November 3, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Nice work,i was looking for this since 2008 finally am there thanks for your effort…


  46. zubair
    November 5, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    i want to change the icons back to its earlier position, now what shall i do?
    also u doing a commendable job…


  47. Rohini
    February 23, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Hai Mr.srikanth , not only this but also every informations given by you are very useful to every one who are in my level. I realy say thanks for providing the basic knowledge about virus, ip address detection,etc.,


    • Srikanth
      February 24, 2012 at 12:31 AM

      @ Rohini

      Thanks you for your feedback :)


  48. rahul
    March 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Does it work for win7?


    • Srikanth
      September 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      @ rahul

      Yes it does work for Win 7!


  49. akash
    April 29, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    hi bro,please can you tell me what turbo compiler,c+ and all those stuff means,send it in email,jst tryin to create virus,trojan but couldnt pliz help yaar


  50. ashish rana
    July 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Hii
    frnd
    can u please tell me that does it also works in windows 7.
    plz reply me fast


    • Srikanth
      September 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      @ ashish rana

      Yes it works!


  51. ipod889
    July 22, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    Hi, I can’t find the “Change Icon” button in the right click menu. It works for non-exe files but for some reason it wouldnt for exe’s. Can you please help me?


  52. sofi_mukhtar
    October 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    hiii sir,
    i tried that icon changer but it didn’t work with exe files and asks “can’t change some exe files” somthing like that.
    please help me…


  53. Ararsa
    October 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Thanks great idea. But how can i named my file to .exe after i create my virus in quincy2005 c++ compiler?


    • Ishaan
      November 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      Use ‘File Renamer Basic’..

      @Srikanth Thank you for the info. Much useful to me. Works with Windows 8 too ! :)


  54. Chan
    February 19, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    Thank you .. this is great program !!


  55. love hacking
    March 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    hello…gogi bro,
    when i follow the step by step procedure as u have written. in the end it shows the message “icon cannot be changed” whwt to do


  56. Ashwini
    June 1, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    great job !!