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Q: Desktop Shortcut Icons ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Desktop Shortcut Icons
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: adessociao-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 29 Oct 2004 12:01 PDT
Expires: 28 Nov 2004 11:01 PST
Question ID: 421759
How can I change the desktop shortcut icons to the original
picture/color/shape they were at first?  They have all changed to the
blue E for Internet Explorer, I guess. Is it possible to reverse
whatever happened and get them to stay the way they were to start with?

Request for Question Clarification by aht-ga on 30 Oct 2004 16:33 PDT
If we assume that this isn't the result of a maliscious program, try
this to see if it fixes things for you:

1. Go to Control Panel>Display and select the Appearance tab.
2. Click the "effects" button.
3. Select "Use large icons" (or unselect it if it is already
selected), then click OK.
4. Click "OK".

The icons on your screen should be reloaded, based on whatever source
file each icon is supposed to be using.

If they are all reloaded as the Internet Explorer icon still, then
something has redefined all of your desktop icons to use the wrong
source file. You can examine the icons (right-click on them, and
select Properties, then "Change Icon" to see what the source file is
supposed to be). If they are all referencing iexplore.exe, then you
have no choice but to manually search for each of the original icon
source files.

Try the above steps, and let me know if it helps fix the situation for you.


Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Question by adessociao-ga on 30 Oct 2004 20:46 PDT
Don't know what I'm supposed to clarify, but here's what happened. The
Control Panel suggestion changed nothing.

When I did the right click on the shortcut icon itself, Properties,
Change Icons, it said "Looke for icons in this file: 
I went to Browse and thousands of unintelligible groups of letters
and/or numbers appeared, such as "1033" and "fmifs.dll".

None of this means a thing to me and no way am I going thru all of those.

Do you think if I deleted the shortcut icon, went back to the site,
and sent to desktop as icon again, it would work?
Or, is this whole question of mine an impossibility?

Request for Question Clarification by theta-ga on 30 Oct 2004 21:20 PDT
Hi adessociao, 
   Could you please clarify whether the shortcuts in question are for
websites only, or also for the various applications you have
installed? Your reply above suggests that this problem occurs only
with shortcuts to the various websites, and not with shortcuts to
applications. If this is the case, then there is a simple reason for
it, otherwise, we might have to delve deeper.

Clarification of Question by adessociao-ga on 31 Oct 2004 06:44 PST
I believe all my shortcuts are to websites--such as Google, Yahoo,
this page, etc.  There is only one that's an application (if I'm
understanding this word correctly) and its icon hasn't changed.  Does
this help?
Subject: Re: Desktop Shortcut Icons
Answered By: theta-ga on 31 Oct 2004 09:29 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi adessociao-ga,
   The problem you are facing is a common one as far as URL shortcuts
are considered. Whenever you create a shortcut to a website, or add it
to your IE Favorites, Internet Explorer downloads an icon file named
'favicon.ico' from the website. It is this icon file that contains the
icon you see on your shortcuts.
   Unfortunately, Internet Explorer stores this icon file in the
Temporary Internet Files folder itself. This means that whenever you
clear your Temporary internet files, or after a set number of days
when IE clears the folder, the icon file is lost. As a result, since
Windows is no longer able to find the custom websites icons, it
reverts to the default Internet Explorer icon.
   The simplest way for you to solve this problem is to use PC
Magazine's FavOrg utility:
           - PC Mag: Clean Up Your Favorites

   This utility scans your IE Favorites list and downloads the
'favicon.ico' files for all the websites present in it. It stores
these icons in a folder other than the temporary internet files one,
so the icons are not lost when you empty your internet files.
   Since this utility works only on shortcuts in the Favorites folder,
there is an extra step involved if you want the shortcuts on your
desktop. First, add the website to your Favorites list. then, run the
utility to download and store its icons. Once this is done, you can
drag these shortcuts from the Favorites list to anywhere you want.

       - Custom URL Shortcut Icons Lost


Hope this helps.
If you need any clarifications, just ask!


Google Search Terms Used:
    website shortcut icons changed

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 31 Oct 2004 12:51 PST
this isn't a clarification but just a way to let you know a couple of things.
1  I'm on the verge of a meltdown at the thought of doing this.
2  Can't do it until, at least, tomorrow.
3  I'm a couple of steps better than a complete beginner, so be patient.

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 08:59 PST
Well, I can't do the link you provided unless I join or buy a subscription.
So, that's out.  Am going to try the second link's suggestion.  Will
give it a go for one of them and, if it works, I'll go the whole 9
yds.  But, have to wait until later today or early tomorrow.

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 09:52 PST
I just tried what that second link said to do.  I typed, the yahoo
example it gave, but:  1.  if the red Y was supposed to be in the
address bar, it wasn't
2. the red Y appeared on a clear page all by itself   3. i did the bit
about Save Picture

BUT, when i right-clicked on the shortcut, there was no Change
available to choose.  Dead end.

I think this is a lost cause unless i'm not following/understanding
that article's directions and did something incorrectly.
Any suggestion or should we forget it?

Clarification of Answer by theta-ga on 01 Nov 2004 10:24 PST
Hi adessociao-ga,
  It's too soon to talk about giving up :) Try out the following and
see if it helps solve your problem.

  While the latest version of FavOrg (1.4) requires a subscription to
download, an older version (1.2) is still available for free:
              - Favorg 1.2
  As for the manual method, you are supposed to right click the
website shortcut and choose "Properties" from the menu. In the dialog
box that appears, switch to the "Web Document" tab. Click the "Change
Icon..." button present there. This will popup another dialog which
will allow you to browse for and select the saved icon file. Then
Click Ok a couple of times, and you should be all set!
Hope this helps.
If you require any clarifications, just ask!

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 12:08 PST
Will try both of your suggestions.  Don't know if this means anything,
or not but, when I clicked on my Favorites, the 2 icons in front of
the names were now the icon of the sites themselves.  How to get them
from there to the desktop shortcut--forget it.

As I said at the beginning, will try what you've offered and let you know.

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 12:18 PST
Wait a minute.  You say to right click the website shortcut (what's on
the desktop, right?) and then Properties.  At what point do I do this
right click?

The article said to right click on the shortcut and choose
Change--which mine doesn't have.  So, you're saying to forget about
Change and choose Properties instead?

Before all the right clicking, should I follow the article directions
about first typing in the address bar the name of the site with that
special ending?
then do Save Picture As, and finally, the Properties bit?   

At this point, do you even know what I'm saying/asking?

I hate all things computer.  Am going to end up in a padded cell.

Clarification of Answer by theta-ga on 01 Nov 2004 14:51 PST
Hi adessociao-ga,
   Lets see what I can do to keep you out of a padded cell.  :)
Getting your website to have permanent icons is a two step process:
Step 1:  Save the icon on your computer
        - You have already done this successfully I believe :)
        - In your browser's addressbar, type in the domain of the
website, followed by the text "favicon.ico"
          For example, if you want the icon for the Yahoo website, the
address to type is "". Similarly, the
Google icon can be found at "://".
        - Once you type in the address specified above, a page will
load containing only the icon for the website.
        - Right click the picture and choose "save picture as.."
        - Save all the icons in a central folder, say "My Documents\My Icons"

    Now you have a permanent copy of the icon. The next step is to
associate it with the shortcut.

Step 2: Associate the icon with the shortcut
      - Right click on the website shortcut on your desktop
      - From the popup menu that appears, choose "Properties"
      - In the dialog box that appears, switch to the "Web Document" tab.
      - Click the "Change Icon..." button present there.
      -  This will popup the Change Icon dialog which will allow you
to browse for and select the saved icon file.
      -  Then click Ok a couple of times and exit all the dialogs.

And thats all(!) you have to do. :) I am hoping however that the
FavOrg utility will help you avoid all this work.

Hope this helps.
If you need any clarifications, just ask!

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 16:29 PST
Okay, the download of the older link you gave me is complete.  The box
showing it's complete has at the bottom Open, Open Folder, Close. 
What the h--- do I do now? The list of Favorites hasn't changed
icon-wise.  How will I ever find the file where all the whatevers are?
 You ended your entry of yesterday with "you can drag the shortcuts
from the Favorites list anywhere you want."

At this point I'm in limbo; where's the file with the icons?  how do I
access them?  how do I do what you said in that sent. just above (the
dragging bit)?
How do I put the icon with the shortcut?

I can't stand this any more. I'm driving you to drink; I'm more
intelligent than you'd ever guess from our dialog here. I'm lost. 
Wanna quit?

Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 01 Nov 2004 17:06 PST
Now that the download is complete and I await your reply as to whether
that lousy box should be Open, Open Folder (WHAT FOLDER?), or Close--I
got to thinking (always seems to do important things in reverse)--can
I try it manually as you directed even tho it's been downloaded? Or,
would that wreck something?

You've got to be wishing how you'd never picked this stupid question
to answer, and/or that you had a brilliant asker.  Sorry

Clarification of Answer by theta-ga on 01 Nov 2004 23:29 PST
Hi adessociao-ga,
  Us GA Researchers are here to help you find a solution to your
problem, no matter how long it takes. So, quit beating yourself up
over this. :) We'll get through it together.
  To answer your second question first, you can try out the manual
method anytime. It will not interfere with the working of the FavOrg
utility in any way.

  Moving on to the utility download, lets go through the process. You
clicked on the file download link on the webpage, and a dialog popped
up asking you to select the folder to save the file in. Once you did
that, the file download started. Once the download completed, you were
shown a dialog with three options,  viz. 'Open', 'Open Folder..', and
  Now if you click the 'Open Folder' button, the folder in which you
had earlier chosen to save the downloaded file, opens. For eg., if you
had chosen to save the file in your 'My Documents' folder, then
clicking this button will open your 'My Documents' folder in a new
window. You can then open the downloaded file from there.
  If, on the other hand, you chose to click the 'Open' button, Windows
will try to open the file you downloaded. Since it is a zip file, it
will open with any zip extractor application you have installed, such
as WinRar( or WinZip (
  Once the zip archive is opened, you will see that it contains
multiple files, but the only one you are interested in is the
'Setup.exe' file. Just double click this file and the FavOrg utility
should install. Once the utility is installed, you can then use it to
fix your icons as described in the articles I linked to earlier.

Hope this helps!
Try out the above steps and let me know what happens.
If you need any clarifications, just ask!


Request for Answer Clarification by adessociao-ga on 02 Nov 2004 07:47 PST
okay, i redownloaded the FavOrg and Saved in Document all over the
place 'cause I've done it so many times.  Then I wen to rarlabs and
clicked on the free trial download (will I have to buy it at some

What happens?  another bloody box appears asking "Do you want to Run
or Save this file?"
If I ONLY understood computer language!

Since I don't know which to choose, I'm writing you again!  This is
ludicrous; we'll both die of old age before this is done.  Sigh

Clarification of Answer by theta-ga on 02 Nov 2004 16:07 PST
Hi adessociao-ga,
   You may not need to install Winrar at all if you have some other
zip extraction utility installed on your system. Just double click on
the downloaded FavOrg zip file, and if it opens up in a new window,
then you dont need to install anything. Just start the setup.exe file
included in the zip archive and follow the instructions given before.
   If on the other hand, you need to install Winrar, just select the
'Run' option when the 'Run or Save' dialog appears. This will download
the Winrar setup and run it automatically. Once you install winrar
successfully, you can then double click the downloaded FavOrg zip file
and run its setup.
Hope this helps.
If you need any clarifications, just ask! :)
adessociao-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
You've been very patient with me and your step-by-step directions were
excellent. Can't thank you enough.

Subject: Re: Desktop Shortcut Icons
From: neeraj_kumar-ga on 29 Oct 2004 22:43 PDT
which windows version are you using right now? 98/ME/NT/2000/XP ?

Subject: Re: Desktop Shortcut Icons
From: adessociao-ga on 30 Oct 2004 07:39 PDT

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