Hard drive icon Windows

We explain how to change the icon for your hard drive, and why it might not be showing the standard icon.

QUESTION I have recently installed my hard drive in an external USB caddy. I have done this on several occasions without issue, but this time although it has installed correctly and I have copied several files onto it, the hard drive icon in 'Computer' is nothing like the normal hard drive icon.

Is there anything I can do to correct this?

HELPROOM ANSWER I’m assuming your external drive is the one labelled as “SAMSUNG (J:)”. It looks as though you have copied some software, possibly by Samsung, onto the drive.

Often installation software comes with its own icon which can replace the default drive icon to help you identify which drive contains your installation software. If you have ever created a bootable USB flash drive containing Windows installation media, you will see that the drive icon changes to reflect the fact that it is your installation drive.

You will probably find that if you delete this software or re-format the drive, that the icon returns to the usual hard drive icon. In any case, it’s nothing to worry about.

Windows stores icon information for your drive in a hidden file called “autorun.inf” which resides in the root folder of your drive.  To see it, you will need to have the “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option selected in your Folder Options.

If your icon has been changed, this file will contain a line starting with “icon=”. If you delete this line and save the file, the custom icon will be removed. However, you may not notice the change until you have unplugged the drive and re-connected it, preferably in a different USB slot or after a reboot.

There are vast numbers of free icon collections available online, which you can use to customise your drive and folder icons yourself. See also: How to change the colour of a folder in Windows 7

Copy the icon file of your choice onto your drive and edit the autorun.inf file so that the “icon=” line points to your downloaded file.

This will let you use any icon for your drive so you can easily tell your different USB drives apart at a glance from within the “Computer” view. This can be helpful if, as in your case, there are many drive letters to choose from.

If you wish, you can change most folder icons by right-clicking on it, selecting properties and then going to the customize tab. Here you can select an image you wish to use as your icon, or you can restore it to the default, by pressing the “Restore Default” button.

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