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Windows 10 icons. Where are they located? In which files and folders?

Whether you want to change the default icon of a certain folder or the icon of a shortcut you have created, you might wonder where you could find new icons. While there are lots of websites that offer custom made icon sets, you might, however, prefer to use icons that are already found on your Windows 10 computer or device. In this article, we show you where the icons are stored in Windows 10. If you want to find all the default Windows 10 icon files, read on:

How are Windows 10 icons stored?

Icons are usually stored inside ICO files. However, ICO files have a big disadvantage: they can hold only one icon. Windows 10 has lots of applications, folders, files, and shortcuts, and many of them have their unique icons. If Windows had an ICO file for each icon it uses, that would make for a considerable number of icon files.

To resolve this problem, instead of using ICO files to store icons, Windows uses DLL files. The main advantage of a DLL file is the fact that it can hold multiple icons inside. As a matter of fact, you could compare an icon DLL file with a library of icons. When you want to change the icon of a particular file, folder or shortcut, you can just set its icon location to point to a specific DLL file, and a specific icon from it.

Most icons from Windows 10 are stored inside DLL files. In the next section, we show you where these DLLs with icons are found in Windows 10.

Where are Windows 10’s default icons located?

We tried to organize our list of default Windows 10 icons, both by their DLL files location and by taking into consideration the primary purpose of the icons found inside the DLL files. Next, you can see our list of locations from Windows 10 where you find .DLL files containing icons:

1. %systemroot%system32imageres.dll

The imageres.dll file contains many icons, used almost everywhere in Windows 10. It has icons for different types of folders, hardware devices, peripherals, actions, and so on.

Icons stored in the imageres.dll file

2. %systemroot%system32shell32.dll

The shell32.dll file also has lots of icons used in various parts of Windows 10. Together with imageres.dll, shell32.dll hosts one of the largest icon collections. Inside it, you can find icons for internet, devices, networks, peripherals, folders and so on.

Icons stored in the shell32.dll file

3. %systemroot%system32pifmgr.dll

Pifmgr.dll contains some old-style icons that were found in older versions of Windows, like Windows 95 and Windows 98. In it, you can find funny icons that depict things such as a window, a trumpet, a ball, a wizard hat, and others. 🙂

Icons stored in the pifmgr.dll file

4. %systemroot%explorer.exe

Explorer.exe has a few icons used by File Explorer and its older versions. The first icon is the default icon used by File Explorer, but the next ones were used in older Windows versions for things like printers, folders, actions, messenger apps, mail, and others.

Icons stored in the explorer.exe file

5. %systemroot%system32accessibilitycpl.dll

Accessibilitycpl.dll has a set of icons that are used mainly for the accessibility features in Windows 10. It has icons with people, mouse cursors, a magnifying glass, a mouse and a keyboard, and so on.

Icons stored in the accessibilitycpl.dll file

6. %systemroot%system32ddores.dll

Ddores.dll contains icons for hardware devices and resources, such as speakers, headphones, screens, computers, remotes, and gaming pads, mice and keyboards, cameras, printers and so on.

Icons stored in the ddores.dll file

7. %systemroot%system32moricons.dll

Moricons.dll is another file that contains old-style icons, used by Microsoft in old Windows versions. Most of the icons here are about MS-DOS programs, but you also have icons for old programming languages such as Turbo Pascal or FoxPro.

Icons stored in the moricons.dll file

8. %systemroot%system32mmcndmgr.dll

Mmcndmgr.dll is yet another file with vintage icons, which we believe were designed mainly for computer management related settings. Among others, it includes icons for networks, folders, authentication, time, computers, and servers.

Icons stored in the mmcndmgr.dll file

9. %systemroot%system32mmres.dll

Mmres.dll has a few icons with various audio resources, like speakers, headphones, microphones, and a webcam.

Icons stored in the mmres.dll file

10. %systemroot%system32netcenter.dll

Netcenter.dll has a few icons for network related settings and features.

Icons stored in the netcenter.dll file

11. %systemroot%system32netshell.dll

Netshell.dll contains icons for all kinds of network connections and associated hardware or technologies.

For instance, inside it, you can find icons for Bluetooth, wireless routers, and network connections.

Icons stored in the netshell.dll file

12. %systemroot%system32networkexplorer.dll

Networkexplorer.dll another .dll file with a few peripherals such as phone, router, a printer or a fax machine, and some network-related icons.

Icons stored in the networkexplorer.dll file

13. %systemroot%system32pnidui.dll

Pnidui.dll has icons for network related settings (Ethernet or wireless status, network locations, etc.). Most of the icons here are transparent white, so you have to select them to see what they look like.

Icons stored in the pnidui.dll file

14. %systemroot%system32sensorscpl.dll

Sensorscpl.dll has a few icons for different kinds of sensors. While most of them look similar, their details indicate things like temperature, power, wind etc.

Icons stored in the sensorscpl.dll file

15. %systemroot%system32setupapi.dll

Setupapi.dll has icons used for the setup wizards of various hardware devices. It has screens, peripherals, hardware components, connectors and plugs, gaming pads, and others.

Icons stored in the setupapi.dll file

16. %systemroot%system32wmploc.dll

Wmploc.dll contains multimedia icons used for media devices, music and video files, folders, CD and DVD discs, and so on.

Icons stored in the wmploc.dll file

17. %systemroot%system32wpdshext.dll

Wpdshext.dll has icons for some portable devices such as cameras, phones or mp3 players, and a few battery indicators.

Icons stored in the wpdshext.dll file

18. %systemroot%system32compstui.dll

Comstui.dll includes various classic icons from older versions of Windows.

It has icons with light bulbs, mail, printers, documents, telephones, fax machines and so on.

Icons stored in the compstui.dll file

19. %systemroot%system32ieframe.dll

Ieframe.dll contains the icons used by Internet Explorer for its shortcuts, buttons and menus.

Icons stored in the ieframe.dll file

20. %systemroot%system32dmdskres.dll

Dmdskres.dll contains icons only used for disk management.

Icons stored in the dmdskres.dll file

21. %systemroot%system32dsuiext.dll

Dsuiext.dll includes icons for network services. It has icons with servers, people, printers, office buildings, authentication services and so on.

Icons stored in the dsuiext.dll file

22. %systemroot%system32mstscax.dll

Mstscax.dll stores just a few icons used for remote desktop connections, with computers, notifications, and security certificates.

Icons stored in the mstscax.dll file

23. %systemroot%system32wiashext.dll

Wiashext.dll has a few icons for various imaging hardware devices, like scanners, cameras, photo and video cameras, and a few similar icons.

Icons stored in the wiashext.dll file

24. %systemroot%system32comres.dll

Comres.dll contains a few icons that depict a user, a folder, a pencil, and some actions.

Icons stored in the comres.dll file

25. %systemroot%system32mstsc.exe

Mstsc.exe holds a few other network related icons but also includes other icons like a speaker, a microphone, and a Windows 8 logo.

Icons stored in the mstsc.dll file

26. actioncentercpl.dll, aclui.dll, autoplay.dll, comctl32.dll, xwizards.dll, ncpa.cpl, url.dll (all in %systemroot%system32)

All these files contain icons; however, many have only one icon inside or just a few, so we decided to mention them all together. They have icons used in Windows 10’s Action Center, some error and info icons, an autoplay icon, some user icons, and websites icons.

Icons stored in the xwizards.dll file

How to use the icons stored inside a .DLL file

Icons stored inside .DLL files cannot be copied and saved elsewhere, at least not unless you use a special app that can extract icons from .DLL files. However, you can use any icon stored inside such a file, to set it as the icon used by a folder, a library or a shortcut. If you need guidance on how to change the icons associated with your shortcuts, this tutorial helps: How to change the icon of any shortcut in Windows. Just copy and paste the path we provided for the DLL that interests you, in the field named “Look for icons in this file.”

Change the icon of a shortcut

If you are not satisfied with the icons found in Windows 10, then you might want to look at other places to find icons: 7 sites where you can download free desktop icons for Windows 10.

Do you know any other DLL files with icons from Windows 10?

As you have seen, Windows 10 has lots of icon sets that are built-in. Depending on what kind of icon you need, it is a good chance that you’ll find it inside one of the DLL files that we have listed. Do you know other built-in icon locations from Windows 10? If you do, do not hesitate to share them with us, and we promise to update this article as soon as possible.


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