IconViewer: easily view or save icons in libraries or executables, straight from Windows Explorer


Have you ever wished there was an easy way to view and/or copy and save icons that reside in libraries or executable files? With IconViewer you can do this straight from Windows Explorer, by right-clicking properties on a file that contains icons (e.g. DLL, Exe, or ICO files) then going to the new “Icon” tab that IconViewer inserts in the file properties dialog.


IconViewer enables you to preview all icons contained in your files for all their different sizes, and to easily save individual icons to your desktop. IconViewer is free and works on both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.

To use: simply right click on your file then select the “Icons” tab. Scroll through your icons and use the buttons on the bottom left to save, copy, or change some options.

Supported filetypes: tested it successfully with DLL files, EXE, and ICO. Strangely, ICL files do not seem to be supported, which seems a very strange omission.

Wish list: support for ICL files, please.

The verdict: this program is great, whether you constantly work with icons or only occasionally. Makes me wonder why something like this isn’t built into Windows. I especially like that it works with 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows. The program can be made even better, however, if it also supported .ICL files.

Note, however, that IconViewer is geared more towards working with individual icons; if you need a tool that can handle icons in batch, you might want to check out previously mentioned BeCyIconGrabber, which I also like.

Version Tested: 3.02

Compatibility: Windows 95, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7; 32 bit and 64 bit.

Please note: download the correct file for your system. The program website seems to erroneously identify 64 bit systems as 32 bit systems, so make sure you find the 64 bit version if you have a 64 bit OS .

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 990K).

  • Howard

    Works ok but the install page misleading suggested I had a 32bit system and to install the 32bit version,, I installed the 64bit for my 64bit system.

  • sut

    Another useful tool for tracking down and saving icons that exist on your system is Nirsoft’s IconsExtract. Unlike Icon Viewer which only displays icons contained in individual files, IconsExtract scans files AND folders and displays all the icons (and cursors) contained therein. Comes in handy when you aren’t sure exactly which file contains the icon/s you’re looking for, so viewing all the icons in a particular folder can speed up the process. You can then select as many items as you like and save them as individual ICO files (or CUR for cursors). It doesn’t support saving as .icl groups. It’s a portable program so no installation required.


  • bartman2589

    As to why this functionality isn’t built into windows, I think it has to do somewhat with the fact that most icons are copyrighted by the creators/distributors and providing tools to allow individuals to extract these copyrighted icons from within files would likely encourage many to use these copyrighted icons in their own software illegally.

    But if the concern is to be able to change the icon for a specific shortcut I should point out that the functionality to use icons from .exe’s and .dll’s and other file types is already present in windows. In Windows XP all you need to do is to right click on the shortcut you want to change the icon for and choose ‘Properties’ then on the tab labeled ‘Shortcut’ click the button at the bottom labeled ‘Change Icon…’, this will allow you to either choose a standalone .ico file to use for the shortcut or to browse to an .exe or .dll or some other file type and choose a new icon from the ones embedded in that file. Not having access to Windows Vista or Windows 7 myself I have to presume that they also contain the same functionality (or similar) to allow users to specify different icons for their shortcuts. Windows XP (and other versions of Windows) even has a .dll file named ‘moricons.dll’ (abbreviation of ‘More Icons’) to allow users to be able to choose additional icons for their own use.

  • lumberjack666

    there is no support for .ICL files in W7 because .ICL files are mostly 16 bit NE dll files. W7 supports 32 bit libraries only (PE format – portable executable) whose images stored therein are PNG – therefor if you have ICL libraries and want to continue to use them or access them using new micro$uck operating systems, you need to avoid using ICL programs that write in 16 bit format & switch to one that uses 32 bit writing— basically you just open the ICL file with the updated icon – icl program and save it again — thereby outputting the old 16 bit file into a new usable 32 bit file that has PNG and PE support for the operating system…. i however will not recommend any such programs since the only ones i am aware of are proprietary for-profit programs and i am strictly against any and all for-pay proprietary software of any and all types. open source or no source. there is technically no way that one can copyright 1’s & 0’s as intellectually property no matter how cleverly or seemingly uniquely done – and any legality that supports this false mindset is an unlawful rogue entity. basically, if you do not want to share your stuff freely – never allow it to go public at all – especially on the internet – because once it is public – it is no longer yours — this has been true for scientists, artists and musicians since the dawn of time.