The Greening Of IE5x

I checked the rule book and it says nothing about a monochromatic scheme being mandatory. I’ve simply done it on a whim. You can do anything you like of course, and I encourage you to do just that. Think of this as food for thought. The great thing about this is that it’s so easy to do in Internet Explorer 5.x.


  1. Launch Internet Explorer and right-click one of your favorites. It can be located on your Links bar as shown above, or in your favorites drop-down menu itself.
  2. Choose Properties from the context menu, and then click the Change Icon… button.
  3. Click the Browse… button and then navigate to your Icons directory as described previously. Select the icon you want and you’re in business. Once set up this way you are no longer at the mercy of those fickle Favicons in your browser’s cache.

The Greening Of IE5x Part II

Let’s take that a step further. What about all those other favorites to which you haven’t assigned a custom icon? The ones using the default Internet Explorer URL icon. What if you could change all those? Well, you can of course, or I wouldn’t be asking irritating rhetorical questions. This is where I’m going with this:

This time we have to take a more wholesale approach to get the job done. The instructions listed below apply to Windows 2000, but this can also be done in Windows 98 and the steps are very similar.

  1. Close all your programs, including Internet Explorer.
  2. Launch Windows Explorer and click Tools/Folder Options… from the menu bar.
  3. Click the File Types tab and scroll down to URL (Microsoft HTML Document 5.0 in Windows 98) in the Registered file types: window.
  4. Highlight URL (again, Microsoft HTML Document 5.0 in Windows 98) and click the Advanced button (Edit… button in Windows 98).
  5. Click the Change Icon button, select the icon of your choice, click OK twice, then Apply (or Close) and you’re done.

This technique can be used to change the default icon for many file types, but use it with care. Leave important system files alone, best not to tempt fate.

The Rainbow Coalition

The regulations do not stipulate that all folders must be beige. Not only can you change the color of all your folders, you can, with the help of some of the little tweaker programs listed above, change individual folder icons. The image below is from my world famous Blue Period. All master artists suffer through such phases while traveling along the path to greatness. This doesn’t explain why I had a blue period, but I get chicks when I tell it that way.

The easiest way to accomplish this little trick is to use E-icons, though several of the utilities listed above will do the same thing. E-icons makes it very easy to change any single folder icon, specific system folder icons or all normal folders at once. All you have to do is click a button and then choose the replacement icon.

But it doesn’t end there. E-icons allows you to change the icons for drives, including your CD-ROM and floppy drives, removable drives such as a ZIP drive, and even the icon for a RAM drive. Amazing. It can also change the icons on your Start menu (see below) and for special icons like the shortcut overlay, sharing overlay and “Entire Network” icons.

See the Temp and Utils folders below with the little hands holding the folders? That’s what my modified versions of the sharing overlay looks like, the standard one is blue. It’s a cinch to extract the blue overlay icon from C:\WINDOWS\System\Shell32.dll (icon number 29) and then do some quick retouching with any of the icon editors listed in this article, then just save it as your own custom version. Alternately, you can use one of your own design or one of the freely available versions. The second image below shows Scrow’s version of the sharing overlay as well as some of their great icons. It’s an excellent example of what you can do when you omit bilious green things from your overall design scheme.

All this is stuff that can be done with E-icons, Active Icons and Microangelo. Just launch the program of your choice and look over the features available. When you combine the customization capabilities of these softwares with Windows’ own quite powerful standard options, you can create a very attractive working environment.


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