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I have an application that is currently utilizing a generic icon. I want to customize it. A shortcut to the application is placed on desktop by default. There is also an icon in the tray. I am somewhat rather clueless how any of this works - can a single .ico file contain multiple icons? What sizes are deemed to be standard for a Windows OS? Do I just need one large-sized icon that scales to smaller dimensions by the OS? Please advise.

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closed as off topic by Joey, BBlake, slhck Nov 9 '12 at 13:35

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thanks for the pointer, although it's from stackoverflow, so I suspect my searching did not yield anything on superuser –  electroglow Nov 9 '12 at 13:14
I've closed this since it's more about programming and has a good answer on SO, so no real point in migrating. –  slhck Nov 9 '12 at 13:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A .ico file can indeed contain several sizes and colour depths. Common sizes you should support:

  • 16 × 16 (this is for small icons, like in the notification area, toolbars, task bar with small icons selected)
  • 32 × 32 (the default large icon size, used in the task bar or start screen for example)
  • 48 × 48 (default size for icons on the desktop)
  • 128 × 128 (large size, e.g. in use in the Games Explorer or when you zoom in Explorer)

Optionally you can also supply other sizes. If a size is requested that isn't avaiable the next-largest one will be used and scaled.

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