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How to change the icon for an external drive on Windows 10

An external hard drive often has a different icon than the internal drives. This is because the external drives provide their own icon and doesn’t rely on Windows 10 to give you one and these icons sometimes also highlight the manufacturer of the external drive. That said, you can always change the icon for an external drive to whatever you want.

Change external drive icon

Changing icons is easy. All you have to do is edit an INF file but you do need to find an icon to use. Any square image will do. It’s best to get a PNG if you can’t find an ICO file off the bat. You can use a web service like ICO Convert┬áto convert the PNG to an ICO file.

Once you have the icon, open the external drive. You should see a file called Autorun.inf. If it isn’t there, you can create it yourself. Open a new Notepad file and enter the following in it. Change the name of the icon file to whatever your own icon file is called. Save the file with the INF extension and make sure it’s called Autorun.

[autorun]
icon=\hard_drive.ico

Next, move the icon file to the root of the external hard drive. That’s about it. You now need to restart your system. Restarting File Explorer won’t do the job and neither will the ejecting the external drive and connecting it again.

Once your system restarts, the external drive will show up with the new icon. The icon will appear everywhere the drive can be accessed e.g., in File Explorer, and the navigation pane in File Explorer.

This will not apply to all external drives. The icon is changed on a per-drive basis because the icon file has only been copied to the one drive. Likewise, the Autorun.inf file has only been modified for one drive.

What you can do is copy the Autorun.inf file and the icon file from the external drive that you modified earlier and copy it over to other external drives. The icon can be changed any time; you will have to update the name of the file in the Autorun.inf file, and you will of course need to copy the new icon to the root of the drive as well. Don’t forget to restart your system.

The new icon, and all its information is stored in the drive so whenever you connect it to a different system, the icon you set for it will be used. This setting isn’t just for your system but for all systems that the drive connects to.

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