How to change the icon for a file in Windows 7

I am trying to change the icon associated with a.m4v file in Windows 7, but all I can find on the web is how to do this on a Mac. Is there a way to do it on a Windows 7 box?
G27Asked:
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G27Author Commented:
That's close to what I want to do, but I don't want to change the generic icon for all file associated with a particular extension, I want to change the icon for each individual file. For example. I have files test1.m4v, test2.m4v, test3.m4v, test4.wmv, test5.wmv, and test6.wmv.
I have the following pictures I want as icons:

test1.jpg is the icon for file test1.m4v
test2.jpg is the icon for file test2.m4v
test3.jpg is the icon for file test3.m4v
test4.jpg is the icon for file test4.wmv
test5.jpg is the icon for file test5.wmv
test6.jpg is the icon for file test6.wmv

These .jpg files are specific to each of their files. I would like to have the .jpg pictures show up as the icon for each file they are associated to. Does that make sense?
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aadihCommented:
Sorry I don't understand.

You could change the icon for only one file type, using file type manager, say the icon for m4v only. That is all m4v files will display the same icon.
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G27Author Commented:
Somehow iTunes changes each movie icon, depending on which movie the file is. It's the same with .wmv files if you download a digital download in Windows media format. I figure if companies can assign a different icon for each file, then we should be able to change the icon for individual files as well. So, my example is that if I have an iTunes digital download for Toy Story and Peter Pan, then each .m4v file will have a separate icon. If I look at each file in Windows Explorer, each file has the movie cover as its icon. So, there has to be some place where that image is assigned to that file. That is what I am trying to find. Where is that set so that it can be set or changed. Does that make sense. Sorry if I am making this more confusing than it is.
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n2fcCommented:
In order to accomplish your goal you would need to create your own CUSTOM file extensions...

For example, in your example above you have 6 icons (jpg files) for 6 different target files...

You would need to create NEW extensions (e.g. mov1 - mov6) and associate each to open with the proper opening program, and icon file with the File Types Manager utility...

This would, of course, present problems if these file are accessed by other systems or copied onto other systems!

Do you REALLY NEED to do this?
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aadihCommented:
Are you talking about thumbnails (for movie files)?  That can be done from withing view option settings in Windows Explorer.
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MaerosCommented:
While is it possible to set individual icons for things such as executable files (with the associated .ICO file, etc.), it isn't possible for individual movie files.  What you are seeing is a "preview" snapshot which is being displayed by Windows or the media player (ie. iTunes).  This is specific to individual OSes, the media player, and the file format.
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G27Author Commented:
It can't require new extensions, because again, using the digital download from iTunes, the movies have the exact same extension with different icons. aadih, not sure if icon is correct, but if I go into iTunes and view my files as "Large Icons", I see the cover of the specific movie, not a generic associated to the file. If this is a thumbnail, then they should say that I am viewing "Large Thumbnails" not icons, but it could be that they are not calling it by its real name. If it is a thumbnail, how would I associate a thumbnail to the file? I have created a movie file with extension .m4v, so when I browse Windows Explorer, I want to see my picture as the icon or thumbnail of the file.
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aadihCommented:
Display file icons on thumbnails will do what you want.  (Views options in Windows Explorer).
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G27Author Commented:
What is Views options? I am guessing I go into the View menu, but I don't see options there.
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aadihCommented:
Look at the picture here (ignore highlighting):

In Advanced settings:

http://www.geekpolice.net/t4008-reset-windows-explorer-folder-view-settings-in-windows-7 >
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G27Author Commented:
I actually already have "Display file icon on thumbnails checked. Do I want to uncheck it? If that is the case and I need to set my image up as a thumbnail, how do I make a picture the thumbnail of a file?
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aadihCommented:
Oops.  Yes, uncheck it.

Experiment with your settings.  No need for making any picture, etc., as far as I know.

Also see here (if need be):

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/11738-thumbnail-previews-enable-disable.html >
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> Somehow iTunes changes each movie icon, depending on which movie the file is. It's the same with .wmv files if you download a digital download in Windows media format.

I don't use iTunes, but my guess is that you're seeing the movie icon in iTunes, not in Windows Explorer. So it is not really the "icon" from a Windows file system perspective...it is simply an image in an app (in this case, iTunes). It is usually possible to change the icon of an individual EXE file with a resource editor (like ResEdit), but it is not possible to change the icon of an individual M4V or WMV file (and many others).

> so when I browse Windows Explorer, I want to see my picture as the icon or thumbnail of the file.

It will do this for M4V, WMV, and many other file types if you select Medium, Large, or Extra Large icons from the Windows Explorer view options:
view optionsHere's an example for an M4V and a WMV with Extra Large Icons selected:
extra large iconsIt is probably the first frame of the video, but I'm not sure. Regards, Joe
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G27Author Commented:
My videos have the icon or thumbnail, which I am guessing is from the first frame. It looks like the first frame, but if I look in Windows Explorer, and I look at the iTunes directory where my movies are stored, the individual movie files have an icon or thumbnail that is the same image as the DVD/Blu Ray cover. I know how to make my videos that are in iTunes show the cover of the DVD, but I haven't seen how to make it show up as the icon or thumbnail in Windows Explorer. I am working on what people have listed above, but so far nothing is working.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> if I look in Windows Explorer, and I look at the iTunes directory where my movies are stored, the individual movie files have an icon or thumbnail that is the same image as the DVD/Blu Ray cover.

What is the View setting in Windows Explorer when you're seeing this? Are thumbnails enabled or disabled?
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G27Author Commented:
I see the exact same thing for the movies I have downloaded from iTunes, but for the movies I have created, it just shows the first frame of the movie. It doesn't show the picture I want to associate with it. I don't know how iTunes does it, but I want to associate my DVD cover to my movie, Just like the rest of my iTunes movies.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Please answer these two questions:

In Windows Explorer, what is the View setting when you're looking at the iTunes files? Are thumbnails enabled or disabled?
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G27Author Commented:
If you are referring to the View tab in Folder Options, the checkbox "Always show icons, never thumbnails" is NOT checked. I used to have "Display file icon on thumbnails" checked, but after a previous commend, I unchecked it. Does that answer your question?
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
That answers one of the questions (the second one). The other question:
In Windows Explorer, there's a "Change your view" button on the right top, with a drop-down that has numerous choices...pointed to by the red arrow below:
change your viewWhen you click the drop-down, here are the choices:
view optionsWhich view option is set when you are able to see the cover art as the icon on a video file in Windows Explorer?
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pmitllcCommented:
I understand what you want to do, but I can't seem to find a program that allows you to edit the metadata of video files.

Not sure if this helps, but you could put each file in it's own folder and give the folder the custom picture.

Right click the folder, properties, customize tab, chose file, select desired picture, then click change icon, and restore defaults.

Folder with Custom Icon
Or, you could create a shortcut to the file and change the icon for the shortcut.  You would need to crop the image so that it is square and then convert to ico format (I used http://www.icoconverter.com/).
Shortcut method
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G27Author Commented:
joewinograd, I have the view set to Large Icons, but pmitllc hit the nail on the head. Yes, that is what I want to do, but my issue is that I will likely have multiple video files in the same folder so I would prefer to not create more sub folders. I could do the shortcut, but if I do that, I have 2 icons for every video and i would likely have to keep the originals in one directory and the shortcuts in a different folder so that the videos don't appear to be duplicates. Hopefully someone out there knows how to do this. Anyone?
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pmitllcCommented:
You can set the actual video file to be hidden by right clicking, properties, and checking the hidden box.  

To see the videos again, while in folder, push the alt key to bring up the menu.  Navigate tools->folder options ->view tab
select "show hidden files, folders, and drives."
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Yes, I understand exactly what you want to do. I didn't even mention the shortcut approach because I was sure you wanted to do it on the video file itself (the M4V, WMV, et al.), not on a shortcut. As I mentioned earlier, there are numerous tools that will do it for EXE files (and DLL files), but I don't know of one that will do it on video files.

Please post a screenshot in Windows Explorer (with Large Icons view) of an M4V or WMV file showing the icon that has the cover art. I'd like to see it. Thanks, Joe
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
I found a solution for M4V files, but it doesn't work on WMV files. There's an excellent (free) program called Mp3tag:
http://www.mp3tag.de/en/download.html

I thought it worked only on audio files, but turns out that it also works on some video files, including M4V files (I haven't figured out yet which file types it does and doesn't work on). When you run the program, you'll see this Tag Panel on the left (if it's not there, click View>Tag Panel – it's a toggle):
Tag PanelOpen your M4V file and then drag your cover art JPG file into the cover art square (pointed to by the red arrow in the screenshot above) and save the file. You'll then see this in Windows Explorer with the Medium, Large, or Extra Large Icons view:
Dark Knight M4V file has cover art as iconRegards, Joe
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G27Author Commented:
Thanks Joe! That worked perfectly! I really appreciate your help.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're very welcome! Happy to help and glad that it worked for you. Regards, Joe
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pmitllcCommented:
Definitely a good find!....I'm going to use it as well.
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