Over the years, Windows has become a weird ecosystem, especially since Windows 8 was launched. Now, the operating system has different types of apps, ranging from legacy/Win32 to UWP/Modern apps. As a result, some apps allows us to change the icon of the apps pinned to the taskbar and some don't. To fix this problem, I've created a method that works regardless of what kind of app we want to pin to the taskbar. So please follow the steps bellow and if you have any questions, email me using the support address at the end.
This guide is compatible with Windows 8, 8.1, 10, 11.
STEP 1: CREATE THE SHORTCUTS FOLDER
- create a folder called "Shortcuts" in the root of your main drive. This is usually called "C:" so you'll end up with a path like this: "C:\Shortcuts"
STEP 2: DOWNLOAD THE 'WIN7APPID' TOOL
STEP 3: FIND AND COPY THE APP ID
- type "Windows Powershell" in the Start Menu and run the app
- maximize the Powershell window and run the following command: get-StartApps | Format-Table | Out-String -width 9999
- here we have two columns: Name and AppID
- you need to copy the AppID from the second column of the app we are looking for. A quick way to search the app is to right click on the titlebar of the window, then go to Edit > Find... typing the name of the app
- as an example let's take Netflix which has the AppID: 4DF9E0F8.Netflix_mcm4njqhnhss8!Netflix.App
STEP 4: CREATE A CUSTOM SHORTCUT
- in our "C:\Shortcuts" folder, right click and select New > Shortcut
- paste in the location field the following command, replacing YOURAPPID with the AppID you copied at STEP 3:
- in our Netflix example we have this command:
- then click Next. Then type a name for our shortcut, in our example type "Netflix", and click Finish
STEP 5: CHANGE THE SHORTCUT APPID
- now we need to change the shortcut's AppID to match our application ID
- to do this, go to your "C:\Shortcuts" folder and in the address bar type "cmd" to open the Command Prompt window
- now run the following command, replacing "YourAppShortcut.lnk" and "YOURAPPID" with the ones of your app:
Win7AppId1.1 "YourAppShortcut.lnk" "YOURAPPID"
- in our Netflix example we have this specific command:
Win7AppId1.1 "Netflix.lnk" "4DF9E0F8.Netflix_mcm4njqhnhss8!Netflix.App"
STEP 6: CHANGE THE SHORTCUT ICON
- right click on the shortcut and select "Properties" then click the "Change Icon..." button
- then click the "Browse" button and select your custom ICO file
- click OK, then OK again to close the Properties
STEP 7: PIN THE SHORTCUT TO THE TASKBAR
- the last step is to pin the shortcut to the taskbar
- to achieve this, you can either right click on the shortcut and select "Pin to taskbar" or just drag and drop the shortcut to the taskbar
- if you want to change the icons of the pinned shortcuts, first Unpin then from the taskbar and then go to your "C:\Shortcuts" folder and follow again STEPS 6 & 7
- for some reason, sometimes the old icons get stuck on the taskbar. Luckily there's a solution for this. To refresh the taskbar icons tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut and enter the following command without the quotes "ie4uinit.exe -show" and then tap Enter. If this doesn't work, restart the Windows Explorer process from the Task Manager
- to get the taskbar icons pixel-perfect sharp, you need to increase the size to 48px, which is their native resolution. In order to achieve this, you can either use StartAllBack in Windows 11 (Go to the Taskbar section and switch the Icon Size to L) or 7+ Taskbar Tweaker in Windows 10 (Enable w10_large_icons in Advanced Options)
And that's it! Now you can enjoy some awesome custom icons on your Windows taskbar. And if you found this guide useful, make sure to check out my CUSTOM WINDOWS THEMES HOW-TO GUIDE.