Scott Hanselman

Setting a Custom Icon for your External Drives in Windows Explorer

January 10, 2012 Comment on this post [25] Posted in Musings
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Ok, I like my icons. You arrange your desk perhaps, shuffle papers, I update things with totally unneeded icons. A while back I made, ahem, these awesome Visual Studio Command Prompt and PowerShell icons with Overlays because, frankly, pretty icons make life better.

I did these back in the day.


I even did a little one for the system menu, 'cause that's how I roll.


I just bought a nice 3 Terabyte Seagate USB3 External Drive that I'm very happy with, but I noticed that it had an awesome icon. This epic icon was was making my other drives jealous. This, of course, cannot stand, Dear Reader.

Ugly icons! Make it stop!

Easily fixed, friends.

Create a text file in the root of each drive called Autorun.inf with contents like this:


Any icon you like will do. You may need to reboot to see the changes. Now my externals are making my internals look bad!

Lovely Icons


About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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January 10, 2012 12:05
This epic icon was was making my other drives jealous. This, of course, cannot stand, Dear Reader.

Nice lines! haha :) You should have mailed Seagate for a change request to make an icon which is less epic.
January 10, 2012 12:45
the reviews for the drive on amazon look really bad, i would check out the claims that the drive fails early
January 10, 2012 13:54
January 10, 2012 16:25
You have so many drives :) (external, home server,...)

I still need an external drive to store my photos, important documents and a full backup of my comp.

One day i'll lose something, i can smell it.

January 10, 2012 17:37
Sadly, this doesn't work on Android phones, which delete the Autorun.inf file. Apparently, this is due to the security issues surrounding autorun. So much for my Droid Eye drive icon!

Is there a reason MS doesn't support/implement something like favicon, i.e. if an image file has a specific name then use it as the icon? How is Folder > Properties > Customize supposed to work? (It doesn't for drives.)
January 10, 2012 20:06
As a side note, don't forget to add higher res sizes to the icon so they scale nicely. I personally name all my drives after beer... Each tick mark of scale produces higher quality icon displays with more/different detail. Example: Rolling rock starts with just a horse head, then the bottle cap, then the full beer label at the extra large icon size. Probably way too geeky, but since I made them, it gives me a smile. Zoom In, Zoom out, Zoom In, Zoom out... Just like your presentations with scrolling through the windows with the quick keys - producing that kind of happy feeling.
January 10, 2012 23:07
where do you have the icons from? Cant find something matching for my HDD :(
January 11, 2012 0:00
You are cool. thanks I will now have some nifty icons
January 11, 2012 1:12
"Now my externals are making my internals look bad!"

You can change the icons of the internal ones too. See eg
January 11, 2012 2:06
I dig the one for the VS Command Prompt...
January 11, 2012 4:16
Awesome stuff Scott. I found a great icon for my Western Digital Elements drive at
January 11, 2012 6:23
awesome post.what surpriseed me is you have so many drivers -:). so cool.
January 11, 2012 18:09
If only it would support png files like the rest of the planet :)
January 12, 2012 15:09
Hey Scott,
This post reminded me Windows 98!
When I was much younger, I liked to change my hard drive's icons just by using this technique ;)
January 12, 2012 16:35
So, any way to do this for mapped network drives?
January 12, 2012 17:18
Haha, I found this trick several years ago.
Found it from the old CD disk, usually a CD disk contains an autorun.inf like below:
January 13, 2012 5:40
Great post Scott. Http://
January 13, 2012 6:34
I love it how really smart geeks (my tribe), do silly tech things that are so cool!
Tom Watts
January 13, 2012 8:36
Why not use a desktop.ini file instead of Autorun.inf?
January 13, 2012 16:35
with these updated icons, your 3TB drive looks much less impressive now ..
January 14, 2012 4:58
first world problem - resolved
January 16, 2012 9:28
That dint make any difference for my external drive. My external hard drive is being displayed as one of the internal drives. Not under the removable media. Any clue?
January 27, 2012 1:32
You don't have to restart. Just rename the volume, and that'll make it refresh the icon.
January 27, 2012 11:23
Hi friend,

Warm Greetings!

Today, I visited your website and found it to be very informative. I'm highly pleased to see the comprehensive resources being offered by your site. Kudos to you for the great work!
April 05, 2012 15:09
Some good Seagate GoFlex pics here:

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.