Icon Packager

Monday, March 23, 2015 by Kevin_Walter | Discussion: Skinning

Has it really been 5 years since this application was updated? 

I was actually under the impression that I was running an old version with 5.10, but it looks like that's the most recent version of the program. The copyright for the version that I'm running covers 1999-2010.

That would mean there hasn't been an Icon Packager update since what, the implementation of live folders for Windows Vista and 7?

Also, after poking around with icons for quite some time over the last several days (and spending quite a bit of time working on the same icon package earlier last year), I noticed that some of my original suspicions seem to be incorrect about why Icon Packager is incapable of changing ALL of the icons used by Windows. 

I used to think the reason why a lot of the icons used by the UI weren't able to be changed because of the fact that they're packaged in .dll files located in system32. For instance, the infamous shell32.dll. I thought you guys avoided messing with shell32 because it is a system file and changing it can tend to prove difficult.

However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that many of the icons that you CAN change with IconPackager are, in fact, packaged in .dll files. For instance, many of the icons such as the ones for the Control Panel and the shortcut icon (among others) are in a file in system32 called imageres.dll. It's the exact same type of file as shell32.dll... so why is one able to be changed and the other isn't?

Though, if I'm keen on how Icon Packager works, it doesn't actually edit those files at all, does it? I'm guessing it applies a "skin"... intercepts the call from Windows when it needs to draw an icon and replaces it with whatever Icon Packager is set to use.

If this is the case, is it just an issue of not being able to find or otherwise change the calls for the eye-sore icons that can't be changed by Icon Packager?

I sincerely hope a new version of IP is in the works for Windows 10... or at least planned. 

Reply #1 Monday, March 23, 2015 6:31 PM

I'm guessing it applies a "skin"... intercepts the call from Windows when it needs to draw an icon and replaces it with whatever Icon Packager is set to use.


changing icons in Windows is traditionally done by altering registry keys. usually via a third-party frontend like Icon Packager.

http://www.virtualplastic.net/html/icn_reg.html (this is old, so newer Windows versions might have other keys)


or, when you want to do a complete change, reshacking which has become more common in the last decade.

Reply #2 Monday, March 23, 2015 6:40 PM


I wonder if the shell32 icons are changeable with registry keys...

Reply #3 Monday, March 23, 2015 6:54 PM


some of the limited number of icons that can be changed via the registry might be located in shell32.dll. that's all.

use Icon Packager for what it is capable to do. don't expect more functionality or bug fixes. if you are lucky, they might happen even today ... or they might not happen at all.



Reply #4 Monday, March 23, 2015 7:54 PM

Just out of curiosity  Kevin , are you using the "Package builder" function button to create your packages or are you going through the user Interface and changing the icons individually and then "saving as" a package ?  I don't know why, but when I create my own personal packages, the latter method seems to work way better for me than the Package Builder method.    -- Ace --

Reply #5 Monday, March 23, 2015 9:20 PM

Yeah, I'm moving through the main interface and changing the icons of each category as I get them made, and then saving the package.

The "Package Builder" seems counter-intuitive. 

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