In my user profile folder, I have Downloads, Documents, Pictures, etc.. the normal folders that come with the standard user account on Windows 10.

My issue is, when I right click and select View > Details, the icons for the folders are not file folders, so Documents folder in details view is a Document and the Downloads folder has an arrow pointing down as an icon. When I attempt to customize it, it won't allow me to do so. The only way I can get the folder icons is if I select View > Content or View > Medium icons. Is there a way in details view to have folder icons, like that of Windows XP/7?

I don't mind if I have to edit the registry, but I would like a solution that isn't potentially dangerous, and I want to avoid external tools.

What I want is what is pictured here.


Sometime after Windows 7, Microsoft changed the icons for these folders to not look like folders at small size. A single icon file can hold multiple images to accommodate different sizes and color depths. The icons for most system things are stored inside DLL files as resources, identified by numbers.

If you want to restore the Windows 7 icon, you'll need the DLL version that came with Windows 7. The relevant one is C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll. Copy it from a Windows 7 computer to somewhere on your Windows 10 machine's hard drive. Do not overwrite the version in the system directory of the new computer. (There are various sites that let you download Windows DLL files, but I'm not sure how legal or safe that is.)

Now we need to make Explorer look in our alternate file. Special folder properties are kept in desktop.ini, a hidden/system file. For example, the one in the Documents folder looks like this:


Here we see that its icon number from imageres.dll is 112. Alter both the IconResource and IconFile lines to point to where you put the Windows 7 DLL. Also change the IconIndex line to use the same number as the IconResource line.


You can make a copy of desktop.ini first, or comment out lines by starting them with ;.

Repeat the procedure for each folder whose icon you want to change. Here's what it looked like for me after I only did the Documents folder:

Documents has the old icon

The change may require a logoff/logon cycle to take effect.

  • I have the Windows 7 installation disc, can i get the dll from there? – user741283 Jun 26 '17 at 19:49
  • @QueenSvetlana Yes, though it's inside a WIM archive, specifically \sources\install.wim on the disc. You would need to copy that file off the disc, mount it (probably read-only), copy the file out of the mount folder, then unmount the WIM. – Ben N Jun 26 '17 at 19:51

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