Since Windows can only handle 15 icon overlay identifiers and the rest get ignored I though I can move the ones I want to the top and only have the ones I need.

In terms of Tortoise SVN it's very easy to find out which icons you're ruling out since the names are relevant. Say, I know the name 1TortoiseModified is relevant with the following overlay:

enter image description here

However, the Dropbox overlay are called "DropboxEx1", "DropboxExt2" and so on. We got 8 of them and I wanted to know which ones are relevant to which ones then I make sure I am not ignoring the important ones with this renaming strategy I've adopted.

enter image description here

Obviously the ones after 333SharingPrivate are going to be ignored since they already hit the 15 mark.

  • I removed dropbboxext 5-8, they are new in 2.11 and only show a red X. Sep 10 '14 at 4:16
  • it's good to know that they are useless. Or better way to say, less of a use if there are more important things to show. But any idea what are the 1-4 are for?
    – Mehrad
    Sep 10 '14 at 4:22
  • 1-4 show the normal sync status (file is ok or syncing) Sep 10 '14 at 4:24
  • 1
    yes, I think 2 are for folders and 2 for files. Sep 10 '14 at 4:27
  • 1
    And now it's 2017 and 10 Dropbox icons... -.-
    – Egan Wolf
    Jan 27 '17 at 8:17

I went through and enabled/disabled each Dropbox Shell Icon Overlays and found the following results below on Windows 7 x64 and Dropbox 2.10.30.

The 8 icon overlays are as follows:

| Icon Overlay | Color (Icon) | Status                                    |
| ------------ | ------------ | ----------------------------------------- |
| DropboxExt1  | Green        | Synced!                                   |
| DropboxExt2  | Blue         | Sync in progress                          |
| DropboxExt3  | Green (lock) | Synced! (locked file)                     |
| DropboxExt4  | Blue (lock)  | Sync in progress (locked file)            |
| DropboxExt5  | Red          | Sync not happening                        |
| DropboxExt6  | Red (lock)   | Sync not happening (locked file)          |
| DropboxExt7  | Gray         | A file/folder isn't syncing               |
| DropboxExt8  | Gray (lock)  | A file/folder isn't syncing (locked file) |

There are not separate overlays for files and folders. Disabling one of the overlays above will affect both. The 4 primary status icons described in this Dropbox help doc are 1, 2, 5, and 7. Overlays 3, 4, 6 and 8 are duplicates of the primary 4, but for locked files. (Thanks BeingInquisitive)

NirSoft's ShellExView is a handy tool to enable/disable Shell Icon Overlays without needing to mess around in the registry. Windows will apply the first 15 Enabled overlays.

If you prefer the manual approach, you can still rename or delete the entries under


Note: For either approach you have to kill/restart the explorer.exe process(es) for the changes to take effect.

  • 1
    I am more than happy to mark your answer as the right one. My answer was based on what information was available and certainly I didn't go into the trouble of enabling/disabling every single one of them to find out. Thanks for the good work.
    – Mehrad
    Oct 16 '14 at 23:56
  • 1
    If I could upvote this answer every time I came here after Derpbox updated their wretched client Danny A would be winning this site.
    – CAD bloke
    May 30 '18 at 7:01
  • As of July 2020 there are two new entries (DropboxExt09 and DropboxExt10, which are for SmartSync ("Mixed state" and "Mixed state locked")
    – Szak1
    Jul 21 '20 at 11:49
  • For those who are tired of editing regedit after every major Dropbox update please check out my idea dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox-ideas/… Aug 25 '20 at 11:36

The main icons are as Danny A say. The others are pairs of the main ones for locked files. The full list is:

  1. Synced! - (green)
  2. Sync in progress (blue)
  3. Locked: Synced! (green + lock)
  4. Locked: Sync in progress (blue + lock)
  5. Sync not happening (red X)
  6. Locked: Sync not happening (red X + Lock)
  7. A file or folder isn't syncing (gray minus)
  8. Locked: A file or folder isn't syncing (gray minus + Lock)

DropboxExt1 - 4 are relevant to show the status of the folders and files (OK or in-sync mode). 5 - 8 show a red icon to show an error. I disabled 5-8, by deleting them from the registry and this works fine for me.

enter image description here

  • To be explicit, am I to understand: DropBoxExt1 - Ready Folder, DropBoxExt2 - Syncing Folder, DropBoxExt3 - ReadyFile, DropBoxExt4 - Syncing File ? If we wanted to clear some ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers then the Ready Folder and Ready File could go. I think this is becoming the default for Microsoft OneDrive (SkyDrive) now.
    – Sun
    Oct 14 '14 at 16:49
  • DropBox uses the same overlay for files and folders, the difference between the pairs 1/3, 2/4, 5/6 and 7/8 is the additional đź”’ padlock for locked files, see this answer Jan 24 '17 at 7:02

I have installed Dropbox, OneDrive and GoogleDrive. Overlay icons for all three applications were not working fine. Some icons were not showing. I was interested to show at least two icons for all three applications. Because these icons are most common.

  1. Synced! - (green)
  2. Sync in progress (blue)

So I changed my registry settings so that at least these two icons should work. To achieve this I have changed the order of overlay icons in registry.

I have made changes in following registry key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > CurrentVersion > Explorer > ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers

enter image description here


The Top-Rated response was from 2014, and now it is 2019. Nearly five years later, we have 10 icon overlays now, up from 8 back in 2014.

The latest 2019 shell icon overlay descriptions are listed below: (See Photo)

enter image description here

The information in the photo above is correct as of Jun 26, 2019, verified with DropBox Advanced Support team via email inquiry. For continuous updated version, please see the Wikipedia page for a List of Icon Shell Overlays: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Shell_Icon_Overlay_Identifiers

FYI: I also want to correct a misconception, there is 15 icon overlays alloted, but effectively only 11 icons available for other programs, because Windows System reserves 4 for itself. (15-4=11) according to official Microsoft support website. (archive URL) So only the first 11 icons ordered are listed, the rest are ignored.

  • 1
    OMG I hoped that this will be solved by now but fuck it, what's a decade in the life of Windows. Dec 15 '20 at 19:13

from https://www.garethjmsaunders.co.uk/2015/03/22/managing-overlay-icons-for-dropbox-and-tortoisesvn-and-tortoisegit/#comment-277952

There is an even more permanent solution to this problem:

– go to the registry key ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers
– right click > Permissions… > Advanced
– now disable inheritance, take ownership of this key and check “Replace all child permission..”
– Once you are the owner of the key you can permanently remove OneDrive / Dropbox or whatever keys you do not need.
– to secure this key from future edits make it read-only for the SYSTEM user.

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