Some icons in my Windows 7 (desktop) have these strange borders:

I tried changing the size, and it seems to be disappearing at some point (around 48 or even 32px.). Changing between Small-Medium-Large on right-click context menu doesn't change the size of this icon, it stays small, and the border remains in place.

I want that icon to be as large as those three on the right are (I can easily change their size by CTRL+mouse wheel, and they always stay clean and sharp).

The strange thing is - that icon is 128x128px.. so I thought it would work until it reaches that 128px maximum size. But it works another way, very weird. Knowing that *.ico file may contain different sizes, I've opened it in Photoshop as 128x128px, and saved it as a different *.ico file. And the damn thing still doesn't want to work.

Is it possible to solve this (instead of changing the icon to another one?)

odd looking icons

2 Answers 2


Your .ICO file needs to have a 256x256 layer to be able to be zoomed above 'medium' and not have that border.

That layer may have to be RGB/A as well, but I'm not 100% on that off hand.

Here's some good information on the changes to Windows Icons in Vista.

  • 1
    aah you're right! i thought that resolution is chosen depending on the actual icon size, and now it seems it just takes the largest (256x256) and uses it.. i've also noticed that some icons which had that 256x256 layer didn't open properly in Photoshop, it looks like that - i.imgur.com/UKjIv.jpg . though in Axialis IconWorkshop that layer shows as 256x256. and just for fun i've opened a 128x128 *.ico in photoshop and resized it into 256x256, and now it changes size and doesn't have that weird border.. so thanks for your help! Jun 2, 2011 at 8:58

It means that the icon does not really exist. To prove that, right click on the icon and try to change it. It should throw a "Windows cannot find the file..."

  • hm, i dunno, it's a folder (i just removed it's name), and i'm changing the icon by right-clicking and selecting a file in "change icon" dialog. it's in a folder, with other icons (some of them work well without that border, thought they're the same size and have the same extension).. Jun 1, 2011 at 21:55
  • Is it throwing an error, or not? I believe what is happening is that there a cached version of the icon file that windows will not grow beyond what it had before.
    – soandos
    Jun 1, 2011 at 21:59
  • hm, no.. it doesn't says anything about any error. i also tried renaming it or creating a copy, or changing it for another icon, which worked, and then back to that one (thought it's not the only one having this issue).. :( the only time it does work is when all icons' size is reduced back to smaller size (though it says "medium" in right-click menu), like 48..or maybe 32 px.( Jun 2, 2011 at 7:26
  • jeez, i guess i've tried everything :( i tried additional settings (like in older Windows versions, now it goes under personalisation-window color-open classic appearance properties..) and changed icon size from 32 to somewhat larger (64px), and it only extended the space between icons, but not their size (all of them).. the funny thing is - it's pretty obvious, that the icon looks like it has been resized from larger size (it has those rough edges etc.). uh i can't sleep. Jun 2, 2011 at 8:23

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