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I am using Windows XP. I am tired of looking at the folder icons in Windows XP. I changed the color depth to 256 colors and the folder icons in Windows Explorer changed to the flat - windows 95/98 style icons. I loved them!

is there a way to tell windows explorer to show those flat old style icons for folders? without going to 8-bit?

Note: I am okay with going down from 32-bit, but 8 is way too low to work with.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is no way to tell Windows Explorer to show the old flat-style icons. The reason for this is that the icons are all packaged together, and will use the highest bit-depth available (see this article for more details).

One possible way to get around this would be to use a third-party utility, and them attempt to find similar icons made by a third-party, or manually create an icon package from the Windows icons.

If you do go with the third-party route, I suggest you give this icon pack, this one, or this one a shot.

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I couldn't find a package with similar icons to Win98 in WinCustomize. However, with IconPackager, you would be indeed able to choose which icon to use for all components. So there is a way for you to choose all of them, one by one. – Gnoupi Jan 18 '10 at 16:27
Hi, the three icon packs you suggested have the icons I want. I will try to apply them using IconPackager. Thanks :) – Senthil Jan 19 '10 at 5:54

I'm not %100 positive what you are asking but in Display Properties, under the Appearance tab, the Windows and Buttons pull down includes Windows Classic Style.

This works at any color depth but is this what you are looking for?

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No, I think he means only about the icons, not the window style. I was thinking about it too, but changing this won't change the icons, they will remain XP style. – Gnoupi Jan 18 '10 at 15:00
Hey Dennis, yes you didn't get my question. What you said will change the visual style of the UI elements in windows. I want to change the yellow folder icons shown in windows explorer into the old style ones. – Senthil Jan 19 '10 at 5:50

If you can obtain the icon, in the form of a .ico file or the shell32.dll from Windows 98, you can do the following:

Open registry editor and add a string value with the name "3", containing the path of the icon file, in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

This will override the 4th icon of shell32.dll (because the first icon has an index of 0), which is the folder or directory icon, with an icon of your choice.

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You can easily change My Computer, My Documents and Recycle Bin icons:

Open Start -> Control panel -> Display -> Customize desktop...

Display Items window should apear. Select the item whose icon you want to change and press Change icon... button. Select the icon you are looking for.

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The original poster was specifically asking about folder icons in Windows Explorer. Being able to change My Computer, My Documents and Recycle Bin icons is great, but this doesn't answer the question. – Andi Mohr Jan 6 '14 at 13:32

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