The folder icon in Windows operating system has been more or less the same since the release of Windows Vista. In fact, Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 use the same set of icons introduced first with Vista, and the new Windows 10 also carries the same set of icons.
PC users who love customizing Windows might want to change the default icon of a folder in Windows operating system. Having a unique folder icon helps you quickly identify the folder you are looking for, especially if you have tens of folders with the default color and icon. Take, for example, if you want to quickly identify the folder that you open very often, you can replace the default folder icon with a custom one.
The beauty of Windows operating system is that it’s highly customizable with or without the help of third-party applications. Ever since the days of Windows XP, Windows operating system has an option to change the default folder icon without the help of third-party tools but very few users have used this handy feature.
While there are plenty of transformation packs out there to quickly change the color or style of folders, we recommend not using them as most of them are not very easy to remove. And if you want to have a different color for your folder, you can use free programs such as Folder Colorizer instead.
Here is how you can change folder icon, for free, without the help of third-party applications.
Customizing default folder icon
Note 1: This method is applicable to all recent versions of Windows, including Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
Note 2: Changing the icon of a folder will not change the icons of other folders. For instance, changing the icon of New Folder 1 will not change the default icon of New Folder 2.
Step 1: Navigate to the folder that you want to customize by changing its default icon.
Step 2: Right-click on the folder and then click Properties to open the Properties dialog.
Step 3: Switch to the Customize tab. Under Folder Icons section, click on the button labelled “Change Icon” to select an icon for your folder. And if you have a custom icon and want to use the same, simply click on the Browse button and navigate to the location where the custom icon is located. Select the icon and click Open button.
Note that icon file must be in .ico format. You cannot select or use a picture file folder icon without converting it to .ico format. There are many free tools and online services out there to convert your pictures into icons (.ico).
Tip: You can download hundreds of free folder icons by visiting DeviantArt website and searching for folder icons.
Step 4: Finally, click OK button and then click Apply button to change the icon of the folder.