Use Custom Icons for any drive in Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 15, 2007
Updated • Apr 15, 2014
Windows, Windows tips

Setting up custom icons for your hard drives, cd, dvd and removable drives can be an excellent way of visualizing the contents of the drives and helping you identify them better when you are using the operating system.

Windows offers a way to change icons of folders but no obvious way to change the icons of drives connected to the operating system. I would like to highlight two methods that enable you to change drive icons in Windows.

The first one makes use of an autorun.inf file in the root folder of the drive. This works of course only for hard drives and not for CD or DVD drives because you can't put files into their root.

Autostart for those drives has to be enabled as well because Windows does not process the autorun.inf file in the root of the hard drive if that feature is disabled.


A good software to check if Autorun is enabled is Microsoft Powertoys which can enable Autorun if it is disabled.

Create a new textfile, rename it to autorun.inf and add the following content to it:


Download.ico is the icon that is placed in the root of that drive so make sure it matches the name of that file. You can name it anyway you like as long as both names are the same. This is an excellent method because it is path independent as you can see. This means that you can add an icon to removable drives as well and the icon would show on any computer running Windows that you would connect it to provided that autorun is enabled.

custom drive icons

The second method is working only on the computer it is applied to. This one works however 100% of the times which means that you can change the default icon for all drives even CD or DVD drives and even the floppy drive.

  1. Tap on the Windows key.
  2. Type regedit and hit enter.
  3. Go to the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\DriveIcons
  4. Create a new key that contains the drive letter of the drive that you want to change the icon for. Create a subkey DefaultIcon and set the value to the full path of the icon that you want to use for this drive.

It would be really nice if a software would exist that could simply add custom icons to any drive that you select. Do you know of such a software?

Add custom icons to Windows drives
Article Name
Add custom icons to Windows drives
How to exchange the generic drive icons with custom ones on Windows.

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Wisewiz said on November 16, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    A little program called E-Icons, by Giovanni La Sala will let you assign custom icons to drives. Be careful to get the program from a trusted site. It’s shareware, but it runs free for 30 days. (Most people just use it once to customize all of their icons, and then uninstall it. If you want to change icons from time to time, you should buy it.)

    I use it on every new computer to change the system icons to ones that I want. I change the yellow closed folder-open folder icons to sharp grey 3D ones, for instance. One click and every file folder that was yellow is now my grey one, and new folders I create will be, too.

  2. crabm said on October 6, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I use WinBubble to customize drive icons.
    It’s FREE!

  3. Olly said on December 6, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I love features where the comments are more helpful than the actual article. Turn on autorun? Er, no thanks! It’s on by default, but every savvy Windows user has it turned off.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.