Free Icons – Come and Get Em!

Napoleon Dynomite!

It is no easy task to get your system decorated with nice icons but when you live in front of your computer, the way I do, you have the desire to look at something familiar, pleasant, and customized. No one is able to create the ideal environment quickly. There seem to be little road blocks at every turn. In this post I’m going to do my best to make it easy for you to get great icons on your desktop and avoid some of the hassles that I had to go through.

The first thing you need to understand about putting icons on your desktop is that you can’t use a .png file as an icon on XP or NT or any of the older Windows operating systems (like Windows 2000 or 98…). I don’t know why there are so many sites that say they have “free XP icons” but when you go through the site all you find are .png files. There is no secret XP feature that allows you to use .png files for icons, they have to be converted to .ico files. No problem, you would think that you could just convert these .png files to .ico files and all would be well but it isn’t that easy because your computer uses several sizes of the icon so you can view them in a variety of ways. For example, when you select ‘view’ from file manager and then select ‘list’, you are viewing a 16×16 pixle icon but when you ask to ‘view’ a ‘thumbnail’ or a ’tile’ it is a 24×24 pixel icon. Therefore, it is important to understand that a .ico file has several pictures bundled into it and when you convert a .png file to a .ico file it only saves it in one size and when you are working with your computer you’ll notice that you can’t see the image because it is either too small or it is to big and is cropped so you only see about 10% of the image. Therefore, you can either find the right .ico files (which already have several sizes in them) or find a program that will not only convert the .png files to .ico but will also create the different sizes you need. This post is dedicated to finding .ico files that already have the different sizes in them. In a later post, I will be reviewing icon conversion freeware and giving you a recommendation.

This is a post that will be updated as I find new sites. If you know of a site that has some great .ico files please write me a note in the comments section. Check this post often to keep up with the latest icon sites!

Pixelgirl has one of the best sites for downloading icons on the web. Cool Icons, well organized, save yourself some time and still get some great icons by starting at her site.

Another top site for downloading icons is the IconFactory. Everything is organized well, meaning that icons are bundled into zip files for you to download and the zips are clearly labeled as either .ico, .png,…

Icon archive has a mix of old icons and new but they are organized well so the icons are bundled into categories so you can download several at a time. This makes it easy to grab a bunch of icons at once and you can pick the ones you want after you unzip it into a file on your PC. You might get some single size files here but you’ll eventually weed out the ones that don’t work. This site is still worthy. has some good icons but you have to weed through them. They have over 4,000 icons but they don’t have them zipped up so you can download them all at once. They have them broken down into categories and if you see an icon you like you can download it. Not a bad site if you’ve got some free time on your hands and you want to look around but make sure you’ve downloaded some of the iconcocaspeak.png ‘sets’ first. Otherwise you’ll end up killing too much time on icons and it can be a drag.


Freeiconsweb has the nicest looking icons of all but you can’t tell what format you are getting until you download the zip. The site is organized well into categories and the icons are packaged up in zips for you to download but when you get the zip it might contain all .png files. I would say about 40% of the files on the site have .ico files in them. Just a heads up… it’s a littlecocablogs.png more work but there are certainly some great icons here if you have the time.


NoNags is a site that you can get a lot of value from very quickly but it is a confusing site and can cause some frustration the first time you go there. They have a subscription service and they offer you to either download directly from them (which will cost you 20 bucks a year) or you can download from the mirror sites they list for free. They have about 40 archives and some of them have over a 1000 icons in them. The icons are a bit older but there are some very cool icons if you are willing to spend the night looking through the zip files to pick out the ones you want.

If you go to the Shareware Connection and search for ‘free icons’ they have some great archives available as well. Same thing as nonags… large archives that you need to go through but also some great icons if you are willing to pick them out.

Now that you’ve downloaded all those great icons it’s time to find an easier way to apply them to your folders. Grafile has one of the greatest tools I’ve seen. I only recommend freeware and I’m using the free version of their ‘My Folder Free’ program. They also have a shareware version named ‘My Folder Pro’ but the free version does everything I need it to. After you install the program it puts an option on your context menu that allows you to define a folder where you keep your icons. When you select a file you can choose to bring up a drop down menu of your icons or you can pick to tag the folder (approved, secure, delete…) and you can create other options. The initial setup is a little cryptic (the GUI) but it doesn’t take long to figure out and once you’ve got the context menu working you’re off and running! This is the best freeware for associating icons that I’ve ever seen. It will replace iColor folder (previous post) as the top freeware in this category. So go download it and have some fun!


For those of you who have nice icon editing programs or who have some way to turn .png files into icons or if you are interested in animated .gif files, you might enjoy going to myspace icons. It is a staggering collection of thousands of .png and .gif icons.


2 Responses to “Free Icons – Come and Get Em!”

  1. […] Free Icons – Come and Get Em! « Today’s Best of Breed Has links to some hand picked free icons’ sites. (tags: icons) […]

  2. images photos…

    […]Free Icons – Come and Get Em! « Today’s Best of Breed[…]…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: