TileIconifier: make Windows Tiles prettier

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 29, 2016
Updated • Sep 29, 2016

TileIconifier is a free portable program for devices running Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system that enables you to make program tiles displayed in the operating system's start menu prettier.

If you have worked on a Windows 10 system before you may know that two types of tiles may be displayed in the start menu.

First application or UWP tiles which usually are custom made and look quite good, and then desktop program tiles which usually look quite bad.

The reason for this is that Microsoft extracts the icon used by these programs and displays it as a tiny version in the center of the tile.

TileIconifier review

windows 10 menu

As you can see on the screenshot above, the tiles look extremely bad especially when displayed as medium sized tiles. The only tile that looks different is the Microsoft Edge tile, and the main difference is the custom background color that the tile uses.

Lets take a look at the same start menu after using TileIconifier for a couple of minutes. The only icon that was not modified in any way was the Edge tile, as TileIconifier can only be used to customize desktop program tiles.

windows 10 start menu tiles

TileIconifier is a powerful program but it makes basic operations easy as pie. Simply download, extract and run the program on a system running Windows 10 to get started.

The program lists all shortcuts -- of desktop programs -- in the interface on start. The table lists additionally whether the icon has been customized already, and whether the program is pinned to Start.

If you want fast results, select one of the program shortcuts, and click on the "medium icon" tile on the right of it afterwards.

This opens a new menu that you use to select a new icon for the image. At least one icon is displayed there by default usually as the program extracts icons from the executable file automatically.


You can select that icon then right away, or select a custom image or different file to extract icons from.

TileIconifier displays the optimized icon as a medium and small tile automatically in its interface then. You may change the appearance in several ways:

  1. Zoom in or out of the icon using a slider.
  2. Move the icon.
  3. Pick a custom background color for the tile (instead of the default blue-grayish color that Windows 10 uses).
  4. Disable the foreground text (usually the application's name).
  5. Change the foreground text from light to dark.

Once you are satisfied with the changes hit the "tile iconify" button to apply the change to the icon.  There is also a handy reset button in case you need to start over.

Repeat the process for any desktop tile displayed in the start menu. The process should not take longer than a minute per icon, usually less unless you take your time customizing the icon.

Closing Words

TileIconifier is an easy to use yet powerful program to make Windows Tiles linking to desktop programs prettier on machines running Windows 10.

It is one of the easiest programs of its kind thanks to the automatic extraction of program icons which you may use as the new tile icon.

If you use the windows 10 start menu, and not one of the many alternatives such as Classic Shell or Start10, you may find the program useful.

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  1. matey said on October 28, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    This is awesome. Any chance of large tiles being implemented?

  2. JDZ01 said on January 17, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Works nice and easy.
    But… sometimes after PC-restart all my changes/edits are gone, and I have to remanage it all-over again…

  3. Mykou said on October 1, 2016 at 11:40 am

    one of the best modern app customizer :



  4. sludgehound said on September 29, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Main thing would be if still can retain decent size of text. Can’t rem what icons mean since don’t use Start very much. Big blue IE I’d know but a worker’s helmet and such geez, but guess choice of dark text would help to show through icon. Thanks for article.

  5. Don said on September 29, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I can’t wait to try it. I recently used Greenfish Icon Editor to create custom icons for some shortcuts to scripts (batch, VBS, Powershell) and shortcuts to apps with parameters (like a particular sync job). It’s been fun but also time-consuming.

    I’ve been annoyed that the UWP app icons look so much better than the desktop app icons – mostly because they’re bigger.

    1. Don said on September 30, 2016 at 4:47 am

      I tried TileIconifier and was disappointed. I have several shortcuts to the same executable; but each has different parameters. For example, the executable is AutoHotkey.exe, and the parameters are different ahk scripts. When I used TileIconifier on one of the shortcuts, it changed the icon for all of them. I want a different icon for each shortcut, and I have different icons, and I tried to set each shortcut to the appropriate icon, but all shortcuts ended up with the last icon I set.

      The way it does custom shortcuts is complicated. There’s a folder with several files, including a vbs program that the shortcut runs, and a subfolder with more files. If I create all my shortcuts with TileIconifier, I will be able to have a different icon for each shortcut. At the moment, I don’t think the bigger icons on the Start menu is worth the complexity.

      I would like to simply make the icon of all desktop apps expand to fill the tile, particularly the small tile, like the UWP apps. Anyone know a way to do that?

      1. Don said on October 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        Thanks for your efforts, Jonno!

        It annoys me to no end seeing all that wasted space on each tile on the Start Menu. My guess is this is another example of Microsoft pushing their UWP apps – to the detriment of most users of their product!

        So, I am reconsidering using TileIconifier. Of course, the difficulty is replacing the 50 or so organized tiles on my Start Menu. Maybe I’ll start with just the tiles that would most benefit from a more visible icon.

      2. Jonno said on September 30, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        Hey – Developer here..! Saw I had a spike of views on the tool and saw this review. Sorry to hear it’s not working well for you. Unfortunately this is a limitation of the way Microsoft implements the VisualManifest metadata to produce this icon. It was due to this I added the Custom Shortcut option in the first place, to provide a work around, as a visualmanifest is strictly one setting for one executable.

        Yes, it’s a little complicated behind-the-scenes, but I hoped the interface would obfuscate the confusion and make it a little easier to use. If you have any suggestions, I’m happy to listen and try and help..!


  6. Thorky said on September 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Great tool, thanks. :)

    Best results I got with an iconsize of +15%.

  7. kalmly said on September 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Die, tiles. Die.

    1. mic said on September 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      no no! because 2D is modern, you know

  8. Neil said on September 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you.
    Had seen others but were overly complicated for use. This looks much simpler.

  9. Dave said on September 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Very nice. And good job on uninstalling ImgBurn. BurnAware ftw :)

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