Windows allows you to quickly change folder icons – you just need to open the folder properties window and select the related option in the Customize tab. Nevertheless, if you want to change the icon of a file type in Windows, there is no stock option for doing this.

If you’re wondering why would you need to change the icon of a file type in Windows, you should know there are plenty of reasons to do this. Maybe you just don’t like how the default icon looks for a certain file format or you are using a custom file format that has no icon. Either way, it is possible to change the icon of a file type in Windows, and it’s pretty easy too.

How to change the icon of a file type in Windows

To begin with, you will need a new icon to replace the old one and it should be in ICO format. You can find free icons to download on sites like Easy Icon and Icon Archive. For the purpose of this guide I will change the icon of TXT files, so I just searched for “file” on Easy Icon and downloaded an icon I liked.

After you download the icon, you will need to use a free and portable app in order to change a file type’s icon with ease. The application is called FileTypesMan and since it’s portable you just need to extract the .exe file and double-click on it in order to run it. Wait for a couple of seconds so it loads all existing file icons.

You could manually scroll through the list of file types, but the easiest way to find a specific one is using the app’s search option.

In the Find dialog, type the file extension you’re looking for then click on “Find next”. You may need to click on “Find next” a few more times to get to the file you need.

After you find the extension, right-click on it and select “Edit selected file type” from the context menu.

In the Edit File Type window, copy the default icon path and save it somewhere – this is useful in case you ever want to go back to the default icon. Then, click on the Browse button and navigate to the ICO file you just downloaded or just choose one of the available system icons.

When you’re in the folder where your icon is stored, select it and click “Open”.

In the Change Icon window, select your icon and hit the OK button.

Once you do that, all files that have the selected file extension will have the new icon displayed.

If you ever decide you want to go back to the default icon, repeat all the steps above, but replace the existing icon path with the old one you saved earlier.