When customizing Windows 10, it's easy to forget about the icons in your system tray. Whether an app icon is ugly and out of date, or you'd rather all use a unified design, it is possible to add a new coat of paint.
We are going to show you how to change the icons on the system tray in Windows 10. Note, however, that these instructions only work for traditional desktop programs, not apps from the Microsoft Store.
How to change system tray icons in Windows 10
To change an icon, you should pin it to the system tray first so that it stays nearby after you close it. Otherwise, you'll have to repeat this process every time you open the app, which is a waste of time.
Just open an app (you can easily find it from the Start menu) and it will show up in the system tray. Once it's there, right click on the icon and choose Pin it to the system tray to have it with you all the time.
Now you can change the icon that appears on the system tray. Right click on the program again and you'll see a list of options that differ depending on the app. over File from taskbar, you should see the app name again. Right-click this name for another list of options and select properties There.
This will open a window to the properties window of the program on the page abbreviation Tab. Click there Change icon Button down. In the new window you can select a new icon for the program in your system tray.
Some apps like Google Chrome have alternative icons here to choose from in a gallery. You can choose any of these if you want. Otherwise click Search to find a new icon on your PC. When you are satisfied, click OK twice to save your changes.
To easily remove the custom icon in the future, just right click on the app and select File from taskbar. If you pin the app again, the default icon will be used. Be careful not to accidentally loosen it or you will have to repeat the above process.
If you don't see the new system tray icons
After making this change, the new icon may not appear in your system tray. In this case, right-click on an empty space in the system tray and select Task manager, or press Ctrl + Shift + Escapeto open this utility. When you see the basic interface, click More details below to view the entire window.
On the Processes Tab, find Windows Explorer In the list. Right click on it and choose Start anew. This will close and reopen the Explorer process, meaning your taskbar and other Windows items will briefly disappear.
After the restart, your icon should be updated. If you still don't see the new icon on your system tray, sign out and sign back in to your account or restart your PC to force an update.
Where can I get custom Windows system tray icons?
If an app doesn't have built-in extra icons, which most programs don't, you can't just change the system tray icon. And chances are you don't have proper icons just lying around on your computer.
Fortunately, it's not difficult to find and use cool icons online. Check out our list of the best Windows 10 icon packs for some ideas to get you started. This allows you to grab a bunch of similar icons so that your taskbar has a consistent theme.
If none of the icon packs work for you, it's pretty easy to convert each image into an ICO file that Windows can use as a program icon. Follow our guide on Customizing All Icons in Windows for more information on how they work. It also tells you how to change the desktop shortcuts and other icons.
How to change the start icon in Windows 10
We've looked at how you can change the icons for any program pinned to your system tray. However, there is one important icon that you can't change by default: the Start button. That Windows staple looks flat in Windows 10, but if you prefer something else, you can turn to third-party tools.
Check out the best start menu replacements if you want to change the start button. These not only offer a completely new start-up experience, but can also change the appearance of the start symbol. You can opt for an older start button look or try something new.
If you'd like to make more changes to the taskbar, check out our full guide to customizing the Windows taskbar. There you will find out how you can hide or adjust the standard symbols if necessary. In most cases there is no way to change this like the app icons above, but you at least have one way to customize them.
Change your system tray icons for a personalized desktop
While it's a little touch, custom system tray icons make your Windows computer feel unique and fresh. Whether you want to apply a custom color scheme or use unique icons, all it takes is a little time and effort.
There are many ways to customize your system tray. So you don't have to stop with personalized icons.
Image source: SSilver / Depositphotos
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About the author
(1711 articles published)
Ben is the Assistant Editor and Onboarding Manager at MakeUseOf. He quit his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. For over seven years he has been a professional writer covering technical tutorials, video game recommendations, and more.
By Ben Stegner
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