disable icons in windows explorer

Posted on 2009-04-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
This question has been asked several times, but I still haven't seen a solution to the problem.

In windows Explorer in the right hand pane when in details view the filenames appear and (an hour later) the little icons appear depending on the file type.

I have no use for the little icon and the delay to load these icons is prohibitive if the folder has more than a few thousand files.

ID:20246766, ID:2343864, ID:14970782
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Expert Comment

by:Thomas Wheeler
ID: 24112912
I think you may be able to do this from the registry I will look. what is the purpose?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 24113067
I do not believe you can get rid of these little icons. However for each file type you can set the icon to the generic icon for DLL files. These load very fast. I hope this folder in question has only a few file do this (make a backup of each key that you change should you decide to revert)

The example I will use is *.exe files, you can apply it to each different file type.

To replace exe icons with a generic icon, follow these steps:
Change the DefaultIcon value for exefile from the default "%1" to something
else, such as the icon for DLL files.
1. Launch the registry editor. (Open the Run box and enter: regedit)
2. Open this key: [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\DefaultIcon]
3. Enter the path to an icon.
This is the generic icon for DLL files: %SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-154
You may need to restart to set the change.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 24113075
You can also do it through...
Windows Explorer..
Tools > Folder Options > FileTypes (tab) >
Select file type > Advanced > Change Icon
Choose an icon with no graphics from %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll
or create you own blank icon
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ID: 24114507
Hi Mr Wolf.

In this case the offending file type is a .html associated with FireFox. However, different folders have various file types.

I tried your suggestion of choosing an icon from shell32.dll, however it had no effect.

1. Changed associated icon
2. refreshed Windows Explorer (still uses original FF icon)
3. Checked associated icon again through advanced and it was still the one I chose from Shell32
4. Tried reboot
5. icons still have FF icon and very slow
6. Checked associated icon again to find it had was still mine from shell32.

Perhaps there is some integration with IE which is causing the performance problem???

Ideally, I would just like to get rid of the pesky icons. i don't need any of them. They're too small to read anyway.

ID: 24114524
Hi AirTop,

The purpose is to speed up folder refresh. I can't use a folder until all of the stoopid little icons have loaded which takes forever.

I need speed.

Expert Comment

ID: 24115652
High you need an ICO file editor program to manually customize the GUI of Windows
ICO files can be opened and edited by a number of applications including The GIMP, Irfanview, Pixelshop and Microangelo. Icons can then be applied to individual files and folders in Windows which allows users to customise their desktop and user interface
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

BigBadWolf_000 earned 250 total points
ID: 24116557
I don't believe you can get rid of the pesky icons :(
Try substituting all the file type icons with the blank (appears gray) icon in shell32.dll

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31568796
Hi BigBadWolf,

I tried your recent suggestion:
>> Try substituting all the file type icons with the blank (appears gray) icon in shell32.dll

Unfortunately that didn't work either.

Based on the fact that this question has been posted several times before and no-one has found a solution, I'm thinking that this code is buried deep inside the windows explorer .exe file. Which means I don't really have access to modifying it's behavior.

I'm going to close this question and award you the points as you made the greatest contribution towards finding a work-around.

There are a few other 3rd party file management programs out there which I may have to investigate if this becomes a show-stopper for me.

No doubt the question will come up again on the board...

Thanks to all.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 24120972
Yes I agree, its in the code not just a registry setting. I am sure there are 3rd party sw that does it faster.
Below are replacments for explorer>...
Hopefully one of them will give u an iconless file listing. or at least read and display file list faster
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 24122075
You can increase response time in windows explorer by increasing the Shell icon cache file size.

first clear cache....
To clear the cache sometimes all you have to do is resize the icons. Go to display properties>Appearance>Advanced
In the drop down menu, choose icon. Change the size and apply. The icons will change. The cache has been cleared. Change the size of the icons back to however they were originally.

regedit and navigate to...
Create a new REG_SZ (String Value) and name Max Cached Icons, give it value of 10000,
Close Registry Editor and reboot your computer.

Launch may be slow at first...navigate around your large file folders...close explorer...launch again...was there a speed gain? Pleas let me know.

I have tested this viewing the system32 folder and it seems faster...however i do not have a folder with a few thousand files to test

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