Windows XP actually makes it extremely easy to change (meaning replace the graphic itself) any program or utility icon you place on the desktop. We discuss how you change standard icons such as the My Computer and Recycle Bin icons in Chapter 4,"Creating Windows XP Themes from Scratch." So, let's focus on how you edit an icon you placed on the desktop for a particular program or utility.
Right-click the Desktop icon and select Properties from the shortcut menu. The Properties dialog box for that particular icon appears, as shown in Figure 2.4 (which is the Properties dialog box for a shortcut icon for the Windows Paint program).
Figure 2.4. Open the Properties of an application icon to change the icon graphic.
The Shortcut tab of the icon's Properties dialog box (shown in Figure 2.4) shows the target for the shortcut icon and provides the Change Icon button that enables you to select another graphic image to serve as the icon. Click the Change Icon button and the Change Icon dialog box opens, as shown in Figure 2.5.
Figure 2.5. Select a new icon or browse for an icon using the Change Icon dialog box.
Each application icon is typically part of an icon set (we talk more about icon sets and icons in Chapter 10,"Creating Icons and Mouse Pointers"). You can select a new icon from the icons provided in the Change Icon dialog box, or you can use the Browse button to locate a new icon that is part of an icon set or select a single icon Bitmap picture you have created or downloaded from the Web.
To select a new icon that is provided in the Change Icon dialog box, click an icon choice and then click OK. You can then close the Properties dialog box as well.
To select an icon you created or downloaded, click the Browse button in the Change Icon dialog box. This opens the Windows Explorer.
Icons are stored in icon sets that have the extension .ico in the filename. Single icons can be used in Windows but must be bitmap files with the extension .bmp.
All you have to do is navigate to the folder where the icon set or icon is stored that you will use as the replacement. After you locate the icon (or an icon in an icon set), click the file and then select Open. The icon or icons in the icon set appear in the Change Icon dialog box, as shown in Figure 2.6.
Figure 2.6. The new icon(s) in the new icon set appears in the Change Icon dialog box.
Select the icon you want to use, and then click OK. You can then close the Properties dialog box by clicking OK. The new icon appears as the shortcut for the application on the desktop.