Windows 10 marks the biggest departure from the “traditional” Windows look so far. It boasts flatter graphics, a more minimalist design, and reimagined system menus.
Just a few vestiges of the classic Windows design remain; the Control Panel and some system tools being the most prominent examples. Clearly, it won’t be long until Microsoft completes its overhaul.
But the new design isn’t to everyone’s taste. Sure, you can apply themes and skins that’ll make Windows look more like the releases of yesteryear, but what about the icons themselves?
How to Use Icon Packs
Some icon packs come with their own installers and setup instructions, some need third-party tools like Icon Packager or 7Conifier, and others just provide a bunch of DLL, EXE, or ICO files for you to save on your system.
Once you’ve got the icons installed, sometimes you’ll need to change them manually. To do so, right-click on a folder or file and select the Customize tab.
Next, navigate to Folder icons > Change Icon and use the Browse button to point at wherever you’ve saved the icon.
Once you’ve selected it, never relocate or delete the ICO file. Doing so will cause the icon of any files using it to revert to the Windows-wide default white rectangle.
The WinRemix Icon Pack is a fork of Daniel Ruiz’s Super Flat Remix. Folders are only available in a mid-tone green, but they look fantastic. On each folder is an icon so you can make them content specific, and there’s also a blank option.
Installation is slightly more complicated than for some other packs.
In the downloaded file, you first need to locate and run Reg Key. Now, head to Windows\System32, take admin ownership of imageres.dll, and rename it to imageres.dll.original. Then do the same with zipfldr.dll. It will protect your files in case you want to revert back to the originals in the future.
Next, paste the imageres.dll and zipfldr.dll from your download into the Windows\System32 folder. Lastly, rename Refresh Icons to Refresh Icons.exe and run the software.
Yes, you read that correctly. This icon pack brings the widely-praised macOS icons into Windows. They’re not quite the real deal (the developer has edited them slightly), but they are as close as you’re going to get.
In addition to the standard system-wide icons, the OS X Minimalism iPack also patches the icons for Chrome, Firefox, RegEdit, the calculator, Command Prompt, and Windows Media Player.
If you’ve spent any time using a Linux- or Android-based operating system, you might already be familiar with the Numix Project. It makes everything from themes and icons to apps and wallpapers.
This icon pack, available on DeviantArt, is the Windows port of their work. It includes blue, brown, and pink folder icons, as well as a wide variety of ICO files you can deploy elsewhere within Windows.
Like the OS X Minimalism iPack, it also comes with an iPack EXE file to help with the installation process.
4. Arc Icons
Arc Icons are a port of a popular Linux icon pack. They are made by the same developer responsible for the Numix Icon port.
The shade of blue you see everywhere in Windows 10 features heavily. Like other packs on this list, the icons take a flat and minimal approach to design. In addition to folder icons, you’ll find a Wi-Fi icon, a “translation” icon, a new Recycle Bin icon, and a wide selection of general multi-purpose icons.
These icons are incredibly easy to install. Just download and extract the ZIP file from DeviantArt. Within the extracted folder, you’ll find all the individual ICO files. Just copy and paste them all into the folder where you keep other ICO files, and they’ll be available in File Properties > Customize > Folder icons > Change Icon.
Fed up of boring “modern” icons? Why not try something radical and check out the Alienware Eclipse pack? If you’re a gamer with lots of garish peripherals, they’ll look spectacular on your screen.
As you can see from the image below, the designer combines electric blue and black to create a stunningly futuristic set of icons.
All the usual icons are there, including music, documents, picture, and video folders, the Recycle Bin, a gaming icon, and even a replacement icon for DLL files.
Warning: These icons were originally designed for Windows 8.1. They do work on Windows 10, but you might occasionally run into missing icons or other unexpected glitches.
Sticking with the unusual, why not decorate your Windows 10 computer with anime-themed icons? They’re only available for folders, but if you like the increasingly prevalent Japanese art form, you will love them.
Even better, the icons are specifically designed to display the most popular anime shows from the summer of 2017, meaning you’ll be right up to date if you install them today.
The pack includes Konbini Kareshi, Ballroom e Youkoso, Isekai Shokudou, and Owarimonogatari.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to download the whole pack at once. Use the link above to jump to the developer’s DeviantArt page, then follow the individual links in the description section.
The icons themselves come in the easy-to-use ICO format.
I will leave you with the Flat Color W10 IconPack. Like some of the other packs I mentioned earlier, it takes its design cues from Windows 10’s Fluent Design, but flattens out the colors and homogenizes the design.
For folders, the designer has used the same basic design with a content-specific icon laid over the top. There are also unique icons explicitly for music, video, and picture files.
Like the Anime and Arc packs, icons are supplied in a basic ICO format. You just need to make the desired alterations in each file or folder’s customization tab.
Which Icon Packs Do You Use?
I’ve shown you seven of the best icon packs that are available for Windows 10 right now. Hopefully, all users will be able to find something that appeals to them.
These packs should also give you an idea of the vast number of packs available. Even if you don’t like any of my seven picks, you should still be able to find something you like with a bit of digging. You’ll find some of the best icon repositories on IconArchive, DeviantArt, and IconFinder.
And remember, apart from customizing icons, you have plenty more ways to change the look and feel of your Windows 10 desktop.
Image Credit: Khakimullin Aleksandr via Shutterstock.com