Don't Be Boring - Change those Icons

The Effects tab in your Windows Display Settings allows you to change the size and color of your icons and smooth the edges of screen fonts. To find the Effects tab:

Click on your Start menu and select Settings.
Click Control Panel.
Double-click Display.
Choose the Effects tab.


Does your screen font have jagged edges? Click "Smooth edges of screen fonts" for a more polished appearance.


Now you're ready to personalize the look of your desktop icons or make them larger. If you view your desktop as a webpage, make your icons disappear by choosing "Hide icons when the desktop is viewed as a Web page."

If you want your icons to look their best, choose "Show icons using all possible colors." Using a lot of colors and large icons takes up more memory. Uncheck these settings if it seems to take a long time to refresh your desktop.


Check "Show window contents while dragging" to see what's in a window when you move or size it. Leave the box unchecked if you want to see what's behind the window. You will only see the window outline.

You're probably used to accessing your favorite files and programs using the sliding menus in Windows. Sometimes animation happens before certain menus pop up. Use the Effects tab to turn on and off these animations for windows, menus, and lists.

Did you know you can customize Windows with large icons without taking the screen resolution to its lowest setting? This is a great feature for people who like to have the maximum screen resolution without having to worry about going blind from reading small text on icons.

Give your eyes a break and make your icons larger by following these directions:


Single-click the Windows Start button, move your pointer to Settings, and single-click Control Panel.

Double-click the Display icon and select the Effects tab in the Display Properties dialog box.

Under Visual Effects, place a checkmark in the box next to "Use large icons."

When finished making your changes, hit Apply and watch your new icons appear before your eyes.

If you're tired of staring at the standard desktop icons, don't despair. You can easily change your icons. My Briefcase doesn't have to look like a briefcase; change it to look like something else.

Follow these directions to get started:


Download an icon library or a program to extract icons from .dll and .exe files. A good place to find one of these libraries or programs is at Hotfiles.

After you've downloaded an icon library or found a replacement icon, make a note of where it is located on your hard drive.

Follow these directions to change icons:


Click the Start menu, choose Settings, and then choose Control Panel.

Double-click the Display icon.

Select the Effects tab from your Display Properties dialog box.

Single-click the Icon you'd like to replace from under Desktop icons and click Change Icon.

Choose the replacement Icon from the list and click OK. If you'd like to select an icon that isn't listed, click Browse and navigate to an icon in your icon library. Click Open and select OK.

If you want to create your own icon, read this article.

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