At some stage we have all probably tried to change the icon of an .exe file, only to find out most of them cannot be changed. There has always been the option to just make a shortcut and change the icon from there, however, that’s just a quick workaround. If you’re looking for a solution to change the original file icon, you'll find a solution below.
As Windows does not come with a built-in option to change the icon for .exe files we are going to have to use an alternative. That is where Resource Hacker steps in, you can do a Google search for Resource Hacker or just grab it from the link provided: Resource Hacker Download.
Once you have downloaded and installed Resource Hacker, open the Windows File Explorer and locate the folder on your computer that contains the specific .exe file you wish to change the icon for. If you have been using a shortcut for the program, you can quickly access the folder by right-clicking and choosing the option Open File Location. If the shortcut is located in your start menu or down on the Taskbar, you will have to hold down shift as your right-click.
Now that you are in the right place, right-click on the .exe file and and select Open Using Resource Hacker. This option was added to the menu when we installed the program.
Note: If for some reason you wish to go back to the original stock standard icon or have issues with the new icon, it is best to make a copy of the .EXE. You can either use the shortcut keys Ctrl + C and Ctrl + P to cut and paste or use the right-click option.
With Resource Hacker now open, choose an icon from the left hand menu, when you have selected one, go to the top menu row choose Action, then scroll down to the option that says Replace Icon. Now that the Replace Icon menu is in front of you, click Open File With New Icon, this will allow you to choose a custom icon, just keep in mind the file format for the new icon must be either of the following DLL, RES, or ICO. ICO are the easiest to find if you are Googling a new replacement icon.
With the selection process completed, you can pick the icon you wish to replace from the right-hand menu. There will generally always be more than one option here, however, as a guide, the first icon at the top of the list is the main icon. But it is worth double checking just in case. When you know you have the correct icon, it’s just a case of hitting the Replace Button.
After being sent back to the main window, you will notice the folder for the icon has had a lot of different size variants added to it. You can completely ignore this as no changes need to be made to the size and scaling of the icon. Congratulations you can now close Resource Hacker, as you exit the program you will be required to save the changes you have made. If you do not, the .exe will revert back to its default icon.