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Solved How do I customize live folder icons in Windows 8.1?

papilio

New Member
I got it to work on Windows 7 though I don't remember exactly how. And to some extent they would come and go.

But I've just finished installing 8.1 and have most of the visual style finished, just the live folders to go and I'd rather not buy one of the apps just to do it.

I'm sure this has been well explained somewhere, can anyone point me to a reliable tutorial?

I've tried:
Resource Hacker to put the new icons in the imageres.dll file,
Adding the registry keys as shown at Change Windows 8 icons trough registery - OS Customization, Tips and Tweaks - Neowin Forums .

These steps seem familiar to me from doing it with Windows 7, but I can't get them to change over this time.

TIA for any help!

- papilio
 

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aph

Member
Member
Changing the icons inside the exe/dll file should work, that's the method IconPackager (which doesn't support Windows 8 officially) uses and it still works on 8.1.

I just used it to change the live folders and it seems to access C:\Windows\SYSTEM32\imageres.dll and C:\Windows\SYSTEM32\NetworkExplorer.dll, 4 and 2 times respectively.

Note this functionality isn't in the trial, but the file trace should help.
 

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papilio

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Thanks aph! Since posting I got the trial of IP, it does claim to work on live folders ... I made a small IP file with just the live folder icons and tried to apply it without results, so you must be right about the trial not having the capability. The new live folder icons do show up in my modified imageres.dll file itself, but I must still be missing something. I'm pretty sure that when I got them to work on Windows 7 I didn't do anything to the NetworkExplorer.dll file.

While I mentioned in the post doing also that registry hack, on 7 that bit didn't appear to be relevant as running sfc /scannow, wiping out the modified imageres.dll file, killed the custom live folders (but not other custom folder icons) until I again replaced the modified file.

I'll keep playing around, thanks again!
 

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papilio

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To add something to the last post ... I just took a look at the registry, it turns out that IconPackager did make these modifications there as well.
 

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System One

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    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
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papilio

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How odd ... this morning the new Live Folder icons just stated showing up! Not all folders but most of them, though I'm not recognizing the pattern as to which are or are not. Gradually more and more are changing over.

Does anyone know what's happened here?



Thanks!
 

My Computer

System One

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    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
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    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
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    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
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    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
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Did you download a bunch of .ico files & are now trying to use them to change folder icons ?

A picture---

screenshot_232.jpg
 

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papilio

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Did you download a bunch of .ico files & are now trying to use them to change folder icons ?

I've got quite a good collection of icons from Deviantart, most icons are a breeze to apply but Live Folders seem to be quite tricky, what works for one person may not work for another. I've applied THESE as my live folders.


My desktop,

Image33.jpg
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
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    Laptop
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    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
    CPU
    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    ADATA SP610 [Hard drive] (128.04 GB)
    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
    Browser
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I believe if you want folders to change {like empty folder/folder with something in it} the .ico's need to be in a .dll file.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Gateway
    CPU
    AMD K140 Cores 2 Threads 2 Name AMD K140 Package Socket FT1 BGA Technology 40nm
    Motherboard
    Manufacturer Gateway Model SX2110G (P0)
    Memory
    Type DDR3 Size 8192 MBytes DRAM Frequency 532.3 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics
    Sound Card
    AMD High Definition Audio Device Realtek High Definition Audio USB Audio Device
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    Name 1950W on AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x76
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    Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x768 pixels
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papilio

New Member
I believe if you want folders to change {like empty folder/folder with something in it} the .ico's need to be in a .dll file.

Yes, I used ResourceHacker to modify the Live Folder icons (livefolder_back, livefolder_front, livefolder_data) in the C:\Windows\SYSTEM32\imageres.dll file. It appears somehow to have worked, just as it should ... I'm now mostly quite curious as to why it took a couple of days before they finally began showing the new icons. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
    CPU
    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    ADATA SP610 [Hard drive] (128.04 GB)
    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
    Browser
    Fiirefox 35
    Antivirus
    Avast

aph

Member
Member
How odd ... this morning the new Live Folder icons just stated showing up! Not all folders but most of them, though I'm not recognizing the pattern as to which are or are not. Gradually more and more are changing over.

Does anyone know what's happened here?



Thanks!


I've seen the exact same behavior, of the modification being made but not showing up until a reboot or some other time. It is just those 2 files and the other things you tracked down, just that it takes a little while to apply.

You can try clearing the contents of C:\Users\Rod\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer that pertain to the icon cache. I see about 12 files as well as a folder called IconCacheToDelete, but I would personally just wipe the entire contents of the main folder.

Post back if you find a working solution!
 

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aph

Member
Member
Did you download a bunch of .ico files & are now trying to use them to change folder icons ?

I've got quite a good collection of icons from Deviantart, most icons are a breeze to apply but Live Folders seem to be quite tricky, what works for one person may not work for another. I've applied THESE as my live folders.


My desktop,<snip>

I see you're using Clear 3.0 Glass. I had that going for a while but it just got to be too much transparency for me for daily use. I have AeroGlass so I applied a huge blur radius and that helped a bit, and also applied a fake "reflect" image of pure black to darken up the theme beyond the levels it would allow. Maybe I need to play with it some more but I'm back to my old desktop.

Here's what it looked like at the time (after the blur but before the black reflect image):

Screenshot-2015-01-16-10.25.32.jpg
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro/Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
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papilio

New Member
I'm pretty sure you hit on its being related to the iconcache*.db files. These are what my own Explorer folder contained ...

Image101.png

I was able to delete about half of the relevant files, the others were said to be in use by Explorer. I tried Unlocker on those, it said that no locking handles were found so I selected delete and was told by Unlocker that deletion was successful, yet they remained. I don't know but perhaps they were indeed deleted and immediately replaced.

I switched the Live Folder icons in the imageres.dll file from the green to the blue versions, performed the above actions once more and watched for changes. Whereas the first time I modified the file it took a couple of days (during which the PC was rebooted numerous times) before any changes showed up, with this latest modification many folders immediately displayed the new blue icons after deleting those iconcache*.db files which I could, while some remain green.

It appears that the change is now occurring to folders as their contents are modified, either by myself or the computer.


Thanks for passing on the tip!
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
    CPU
    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    ADATA SP610 [Hard drive] (128.04 GB)
    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
    Browser
    Fiirefox 35
    Antivirus
    Avast

papilio

New Member
aph, your last post showed up after I'd posted my own reply ... anyway, personally I guess I'm pretty comfortable so far with the transparency and blur level I'm getting, as long as my wallpaper is relatively featureless. I'm actually using Aero Glass for Win8.1 for much of the transparency effect on the windows frames, but also Full Glass for the actual window transparency ... maybe that's the difference. But I do like the degree of blur you're getting very much!

I'm having some application compatibility issues with 8.1, despite their claiming to be fine running on it. If I don't get the solutions to those problems it looks like I may resort to heading back onto 7 in the end.


Here's hoping you find what works for you!
 

My Computer

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  • OS
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    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
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    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
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    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
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    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
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    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
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I changed the Explorer Taskbar icon & it took a while to show up.
A mystery.

screenshot_232.jpg
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
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    System Manufacturer/Model
    Gateway
    CPU
    AMD K140 Cores 2 Threads 2 Name AMD K140 Package Socket FT1 BGA Technology 40nm
    Motherboard
    Manufacturer Gateway Model SX2110G (P0)
    Memory
    Type DDR3 Size 8192 MBytes DRAM Frequency 532.3 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics
    Sound Card
    AMD High Definition Audio Device Realtek High Definition Audio USB Audio Device
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Name 1950W on AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x76
    Screen Resolution
    Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x768 pixels
    Hard Drives
    AMD K140
    Cores 2
    Threads 2
    Name AMD K140
    Package Socket FT1 BGA
    Technology 40nm
    Specification AMD E1-1200 APU with Radeon HD Graphics
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    Extended Family 14
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    Extended Model 2
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    Instruction
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aph

Member
Member
I'm pretty sure you hit on its being related to the iconcache*.db files. These are what my own Explorer folder contained ...

56843-how-do-i-customize-live-folder-icons-windows-8-1-a-image101.png


I was able to delete about half of the relevant files, the others were said to be in use by Explorer. I tried Unlocker on those, it said that no locking handles were found so I selected delete and was told by Unlocker that deletion was successful, yet they remained. I don't know but perhaps they were indeed deleted and immediately replaced.

I switched the Live Folder icons in the imageres.dll file from the green to the blue versions, performed the above actions once more and watched for changes. Whereas the first time I modified the file it took a couple of days (during which the PC was rebooted numerous times) before any changes showed up, with this latest modification many folders immediately displayed the new blue icons after deleting those iconcache*.db files which I could, while some remain green.

It appears that the change is now occurring to folders as their contents are modified, either by myself or the computer.


Thanks for passing on the tip!

To delete them all you can type:

Code:
[B]ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
cd %localappdata%
del /f IconCache.db
cd Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
del /f *
del /f IconCacheToDelete\*
shutdown /r /t 0 /f[/B]

The last command will restart the computer. Alternatively you can press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to bring up the session menu and restart from there.

You may be able to get away without a restart by hitting Ctrl+Shift+Esc to bring up Task Manager, and from the File menu, Run, type in "explorer" and hit enter. Just a note, don't run explorer from that elevated command prompt or problems will crop up with it being inaccessible by certain processes and creating high integrity files that will later be inaccessible.
 
Last edited:

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  • OS
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papilio

New Member
Thanks aph, I'll give it a shot. All of the Live Folders have converted to my custom icons by now, with about 75% having already gone from the green to the more recent blue version. Even if your commands aren't perhaps required at this point, I'll doubtless be doing more of this so it's very helpful info to have on hand.

I'd love to be as conversant in using the command prompt as you are! And a huge thanks for notifying me about potential trouble in running that from an elevated window, I nearly always do. Is that generally a bad practice?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
    CPU
    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    ADATA SP610 [Hard drive] (128.04 GB)
    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
    Browser
    Fiirefox 35
    Antivirus
    Avast

aph

Member
Member
Thanks aph, I'll give it a shot. All of the Live Folders have converted to my custom icons by now, with about 75% having already gone from the green to the more recent blue version. Even if your commands aren't perhaps required at this point, I'll doubtless be doing more of this so it's very helpful info to have on hand.

I'd love to be as conversant in using the command prompt as you are! And a huge thanks for notifying me about potential trouble in running that from an elevated window, I nearly always do. Is that generally a bad practice?

Yup. There are lots of implications, but you're essentially running Explorer in Run as Administrator mode.

That means, for example, you won't get UAC prompts in that mode. All apps you launch from the desktop, a folder view or the start menu will run elevated automatically, which is obviously a bad thing.

And don't worry, my cmd-fu comes from 20 years of using it, and probably 90% of that time wasted. You're better off without that kind of esoteric knowledge.
;)
 

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papilio

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LOL Esoteric or not, it implies a considerably deeper knowledge of the OS than I'm ever likely to have ... and I envy that!

I should perhaps have elaborated a bit, once the PC is set up I do run on a limited user account, not under the administrator account. So under that circumstance the command window usually needs to be Run as Administrator, is that correct or not? Likely the truth is sometimes yes sometimes no, but I'd have a good deal of learning to do before I'd know when to do which. ;)
 

My Computer

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  • OS
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    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inc. Dell System XPS L702X
    CPU
    2.00 gigahertz Intel Core i7-2630QM
    Motherboard
    Dell Inc. 0C6YV7 FAB1
    Memory
    12GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
    Sound Card
    NVIDIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor (17.1"vis, January 2010)
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    ADATA SP610 [Hard drive] (128.04 GB)
    WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0 [Hard drive] (500.11 GB)
    Browser
    Fiirefox 35
    Antivirus
    Avast

aph

Member
Member
Running the cmd window under Administrator is required for the commands you need to run, I was talking about restarting explorer after the taskkill command. If you run it from Task Manager it restarts under a proper medium integrity security context, but if you run it from the elevated cmd window by typing "explorer" and pressing enter, it will launch under high integrity, which is the undesirable security context. Restarting avoids that by launching it via the normal startup process.
 

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    Razer Naga 2012
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