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How to Change File Type Icons and File Types

A File Type is a file extension such as ".txt" that is associated with an Icon and a program that opens it.

Do you have the wrong file type Icons, or is Windows unable to find the program to open a File type? Maybe you just want to customize Windows!

Did you ever get a message like "Windows cannot find Ccdialer.exe, this program is needed for opening files of this type."? This happens because a program that you uninstalled or moved was not found. The program made itself the associated program to open the file type.

If you get the message "Windows cannot find Program.exe", this means that the value set in the Registry to points to the program used to open the file is empty.

Maybe you have all your JPG files displaying the Windows default Icon. This problem is fixed the same way as you would fix File types. You are also able to customize the Icon and/or the program used to open a File type. But never alter the EXE, COM, BAT File types.

This problem is rather easy to repair, it is simply understanding how Windows opens a file and knows what Icon to display for that file type.

Let's say you are getting the message I stated above when you try to open a ZIP file, but it says AOL.exe instead of Ccdialer.exe. You probably had AOL installed and switched to a new Internet Service Provider and uninstalled AOL. So you can make this repair very easily, do it one of three ways.

Option 1: This is the easiest way to make the repair, but you cannot customize the Icon. You need to locate a ZIP file in the Windows Explorer. Holding the Shift Key down right click the ZIP file, this will tell Windows to offer you the "Open With..." option in the context menu. Now select the program you want to open the ZIP file with, I use WinZip, so I would select Winzip32.exe. If I did not see Winzip32.exe in the list displayed in the "Open With" window, I would do a browse to find it using the "Other" button. Once you find the program you should place a check mark in the "Always open with" box before clicking OK. Now all your Zip files will always be opened by WinZip and all ZIp files will display the WinZip Icon.

Option 2: For the second option I am going to use the TXT file type so everyone can follow. If you start System Sentry ( one of our software utilities) and click on the "Extension Association" tab, then click on "Load Extensions", System Sentry will display all the listed File types in it's window.

Using System Sentry , click on the File type TXT, it is displayed as ".txt". System Sentry will fill the four windows with the current values for the appropriate Keys. The first window will display the "Current Key Value", which is the default value setting for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.txt. The second window will display the Key which the first window points to, which should be "txtfile". This Key is HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfile and it's default setting is "Text Document", however its value is unimportant here, but the SubKeys are not. The txtfile Key should have at least two SubKeys, "DefaultIcon" and "Shell". The DefaultIcon default value is displayed in the third window of System Sentry and it should be "shell32.dll,-152" (in Windows ME). The Shell SubKey has at least one more SubKey, "Open". And the Open SubKey will have at least one more SubKey, "Command". The default value is displayed in the fourth Window, which should be "C:\WINDOWS\NOTEPAD.EXE %1" You can edit anyone of these windows simply by clicking on it and making your own edits.

Option 3: You can open RegEdit and make all the changes you wish manually following the Key pointers I showed you in Option 2.

Now the other items you need to know is that the " %1" in "C:\WINDOWS\NOTEPAD.EXE %1" tells Windows to start NotePad with the parameter of the file you want to open. The Parameter " %1" is the same as you typing in the Start/Run box "C:\Windows\Notepad.exe C:\Windows\Network.txt" if you wanted to open the Network.txt file. Also note that some DLL files contain Icons and not all Icons inside of a DLL will use the "-" as in "shell32.dll,-152", before there number.

Now lets have some fun, Lets change all the JPG File Type Icons to a text file Icon. In System Sentry click on the ".jpg" in the left Window. Now click on the Icon Window, the 3rd window, and enter in the popup window shell32.dll,-152. This could be entered as C:\Windows\System\shell32.dll,-152, but since the file is within the Windows Folder the complete path is not required. If we wanted to make the Icon the Recycle Bin Icon, we would enter "shell32.dll,31" without the quotes. Notice that there is no "-" for the Recycle Bin Icon. Now you are going to ask me why, I do not really know why. If the Icon does not work without a dash, I add a dash, that's my system. To have the Icons change, you may need to restart the computer. If you get the Windows Default Icon instead, then you need to add or remove the dash or the file Icon is incorrect. You can also replace a Icon from a DLL file to an individual Icon such as C:\MyIcons\Thisicon.ico


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