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How to Change Icons Embedded in EXE Files

When changing icons, ensure the replacement icons are the same size and have the same number of colors as the original (e.g., a 16x16 4-bit icon cannot be replaced with a 32x32 8-bit icon). If you encounter a mismatch error when attempting to replace an icon that appears to be the same size and bit depth, the source icon likely has a different color depth (24-bit and 32-bit icons can look very similar).

Why is this important? The icon size and color depth in an EXE file are fixed, and there are typically multiple icons within a Windows executable. When Windows displays a main application icon, such as for a desktop shortcut, it selects an icon based on specific criteria rather than the first one it finds. Carelessly swapping out icons of different sizes or color depths can result in visual artifacts.

Steps to Change Icons with Resource Tuner

1. Open your EXE or DLL file in Resource Tuner and expand the Icon Group folder.

2
. Select the icon or the icon group you want to change and click the 'Add or Replace Icon within Icon Group' button in the button bar.

Change icons with Resource Editor

3. You wil see the following dialog. Click the 'Open' button and select your desired icon file on your disk. The file format should be either .ICO or .PNG.

Change icon of EXE file

4. Check only those items in the 'New items' list you want to be added, select the action to perform and press the 'OK' button.

5. Select 'File' 'Save File' to save the changes you made to your EXE or DLL file.

 

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Resource Tuner runs on all versions of Windows from 11 and 10 through 8, 7, Vista, XP, and 2000.