In IE 9 you have the ability to click and drag an open browser tab to the Windows 7 taskbar and pin the shortcut to the taskbar.

This has the effect of creating a pseudo-application experience where the shortcut can have it's own custom jumplist and is not grouped with other IE 9 browser tabs on the taskbar.

Windows uses the "shortcut icon" or "favicon" defined in the HTML for the icon on the taskbar. If no shortcut icon is defined, then the generic IE shortcut icon is used.

If you have a bunch of these shortcuts pinned to the taskbar that don't have different icons it can be confusing to the user which is which.

Can you change the icon of a pinned IE 9 web application? And how do you do it?

4 Answers 4


Start with the site already pinned and no instances of IE running.

Open the folder:

%appdata%\microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\Taskbar

Launch notepad and drag the pinned icon from the folder into notepad.

The InternetShortcut section should have two entries (IconFile and IconIndex). If they do not exist they can be added. A DLL or ICO file can have multiple embedded icons. The IconIndex number is used to determine which embedded icon to use.


Save the changes and close Notepad. At this point the icon change is done, however, the taskbar won't refresh automatically.

To refresh the taskbar:

Cut and paste the shortcut to the desktop. If the icon does not remove from the taskbar, right click and select "unpin..."

Double click the shortcut on the desktop (this forces IE to read the .website format and refresh the icon).

Drag the desktop shortcut to the taskbar and delete the desktop shortcut. The new icon should be shown.

  • For a preview of icons (and their index) contained in the Windows 7 shell32.dll go here: img145.imageshack.us/img145/6536/win7shell32dllicons.jpg
    – mbursill
    Mar 21, 2011 at 18:58
  • Sounds promising. Does the IconIndex start with 0 or 1? I haven't made the icon refresh yet and am wondering if this is the problem.
    – RunnerRick
    Mar 21, 2011 at 19:07
  • I see from your comment that the IconIndex starts with 0. In any case, I have followed these steps, but have been unable to make the icon refresh. Did you leave out a step? I'm running Windows 7 SP1, maybe something changed with the service pack.
    – RunnerRick
    Mar 21, 2011 at 19:23
  • @Rick I'm also using Win 7 SP1. Making the change to the file is easy (make sure you only have one IconFile and one IconIndex entry), but getting the icon to refresh is a bit cumbersome. Make sure you are remembering to run the shortcut once copied to the desktop, before re-pinning. It seems the Windows shell will cache the old icon until IE re-reads the .website file.
    – mbursill
    Mar 21, 2011 at 19:38
  • 1
    As a reply to @mbursill: To use a local icon, use the format like this: [InternetShortcut] URL=google.com/dictionary IconFile=C:\Users\Name\Icons\dictionary.ico IconIndex=0 "\" for a local directory instead of "/". And be sure the "IconIndex" equals "0" [zero] (like above). To refresh, simply open the shortcut in IE9. (Close and re-open if you already had it open).
    – user83811
    May 31, 2011 at 15:41

I too had trouble getting the notepad edited .website file to update the icon, so here is the method that is foolproof for me from SevenForums.com:

You can change the icon of pinned websites, but it's a bit of a hassle and a bit technical. Apparently in the pre-release version of IE9 it was simple, but they removed that functionality for reasons I've not been able to discover. The pinned shortcuts are located in:

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Find the shortcut you want to change the icon on, and change it's filename extension from ".website" to ".url" Note that the ".website" extension will not show up in Windows Explorer, so you'll have to use a CMD box or other method to change it.

When it's renamed, you can right-click the shortcut and change it's icon. When you're done, you'll need to change the filename extension back.

The new icon will not appear on the Taskbar until the icons are refreshed, or the icon is unpinned & repinned. I find the easiest way is to right-click and UNPIN then right-click and PIN while in the Taskbar folder mentioned above.

  • 1
    This is the best answer. for those of you who don't know your way around the command line that well. In windows 7 cd %appdata%\microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\Taskbar and then rename yourshortcut.website to yourshortcut.url
    – Cynapse
    Mar 29, 2015 at 3:30
  • In Windows10, unfortunately, the ability to view/edit the extension on internet shortcuts is disabled from the Explorer view (even when Show Extensions is enabled). Thankfully, @Cynapse command line suggestions works perfectly.
    – kmote
    Aug 7, 2017 at 17:07

How to Change Pinned Website Icons in IE9


This site let's you build your own icons if you don't like the options: http://www.xiconeditor.com/

  • The solution discussed in the link refers to the website tab of the pinned shortcut properties dialog. This worked for the IE9 beta but in the final release the website tab is no longer visible.
    – mbursill
    Mar 21, 2011 at 17:44

Right-click on the Desktop and select New -> Shortcut. Browse to C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe and select OK. Leave one space after the quotation mark and paste the URL you want to make the shortcut point to. Select Next, give name to the shortcut and select OK. Right-click on the shortcut and change the icon. Drag the new shortcut to the taskbar and Pin it.

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