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Guide: Changing the Start Menu icons in Windows XP

By brian0918 ยท 5 replies
Mar 1, 2007
  1. Guide: Changing the Start Menu system icons in Windows XP

    How to change the XP system Start Menu icons, such as Search, Hep & Support, Run, etc

    This is several years out of date, so it may not still work. Let me know what should be changed and/or if there's an easier way to do it now:

    This is for those using Classic Start Menu. For the XP-style start menu, see the bottom of this post.

    Here's how to change the Start Menu icons (Run, Help and Support, Search, Settings, Favorites, Programs, etc...) in Windows XP. I don't know if this has been posted anywhere before. Oh well, here goes:

    First, you will need Resource Hacker:

    as well as ArtIcons Pro (because it supports 16 million color depth icons):

    If all you have is an image file that you want to use:

    1. it has to be 16x16, 32x32, or 48x48 in size
    2. if yours is a different size, open it in ArtIcons Pro and it'll start out by letting choose what size to resize it to.
    3. Save the image file as an icon (Just File > Save as)
    4. Proceed to step 2 of next part

    If you have an icon file in mind already:

    1. Open the icon file in ArtIcons Pro
    2. On the right hand size, you will see a column with at least 1 image and text next to it, e.g. "32x32 256"
    3. Make note of the dimensions and color depths of each one.
    You will need to make 1 of each of these:
    48x48 32bpp
    32x32 32bpp
    16x16 32bpp
    48x48 16M
    32x32 16M
    16x16 16M
    48x48 256
    32x32 256
    16x16 256
    48x48 16
    32x32 16
    16x16 16

    That's a total of 12. Check which ones you will need. If you need 48x48's, and you already have a 48x48, right click that one, and go to duplicate. Repeat as many times as you need. It's the same thing for 32x32 and 16x16.

    If all you have is 1 size, or just 1 icon on the right, then just right click it and duplicate as many times as you need (for a total of 12).

    4. Then, right click each icon individually (except the ones that you already had in the file) and click Convert.

    The Sizes you need to convert for are:

    The Colors you need to convert for are:
    16 colors
    256 colors
    True Color
    True Color + Alpha

    When all is said and done, make sure have 12 files, with one of each of the Sizes and Color Depths that I listed under step 3.

    5. Now, save the icon file, and exit ArtIcons Pro

    6. Go to your Windows\system32 directory

    7. Make a backup copy if shell32.dll, and another copy called "shell32 edit.dll"

    8. Run Resource Hacker, Open "shell32 edit.dll"

    9. Click the + next to Icon Group

    10. Now, you have to decide which Start menu Icon it is you want to replace. On the left you see a long list of numbered folders. The folders you want to pay attention to are:

    #322 - Favorites
    #323 - Search
    #324 - Help and Support
    #325 - Log Off...
    #326 - Programs
    #327 - Documents
    #328 - Run...
    #329 - Turn Off Computer...
    #330 - Settings
    #331 - Hibernate

    Pick the folder you want, then click the icon group inside it (the only thing inside it).

    11. Go to Action > Replace Icon...

    12. Click Open file with a new icon. Choose your icon file. Then click Replace.

    13. Save your shell32 edit.dll

    14. Restart your computer in SafeMode (hit F8 a million times as it's starting up.

    15. Go into explorer, and to Windows\system32

    16. RENAME shell32.dll to "shell32 original.dll" and RENAME "shell32 edited.dll" to shell32.dll

    17. Restart your computer.


    for xp-style:


    Items in the right section have icon setting in the registry at HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID. Clsid values there have an underlying "DefaultIcon" key, where you can set the path to your icon. Here's the values:
    {1A9BA3A0-143A-11CF-8350-444553540000} - Favorites
    {2559a1f0-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} - Search
    {2559a1f1-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} - Help and Support
    {2559a1f3-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} - Run...
    {7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E} - Network Connections
    {D20EA4E1-3957-11d2-A40B-0C5020524153} - Administrative Tools

    And some are at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mic
    {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} - Control Panel
    {2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D} - Printers and Faxes
  2. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    How i change XP icons

    Right click an icon,select propertys.
    Click Change icon.
    If you want some icons i can send you thousands in dll format.
    Small zip file.606 KB (3000) and 303 KB zip file.
    Too big to attach here.
  3. brian0918

    brian0918 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not talking about the program shortcuts in the start menu. I'm talking about the system icons that I listed in my post: Favorites, Search, Help and Support, etc (read the post).
  4. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    I see

    Is this any help or are you just posting your way.
    This is my way.
  5. brian0918

    brian0918 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Your way only works for folders and program shortcuts. My way works for the Run icon, Search icon, Help & Support icon, etc... all the system icons.
  6. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    Cool guide. I changed the search icon. The only problem was when I changed it back; I wasn't sure if I had the correct path in mind (for the default icon). I did what I remembered, and it worked (fortunately!). I was just hoping that entering an invalid path (if it was wrong) wouldn't crash this computer.

    If I can just get those CLSID's memorized...:D
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