How Do I Change Install Folder Icons?

Asked by taurus on 2008-07-08

I downloaded a folder icon with a .png extension. How do I install it to make it my folder icon?

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To just change the icon of one folder right-click on it, go to the "Basic" tab, and then click on the icon. You will then be able to select a custom one.

To change the default icon of all folders, the only way I know of, is to change the actual icon for your current theme. These should be in /usr/share/icons/

taurus (taurusxz) said : #2

THomas, thanks for the reply. All I want is to change the default folder icons, system-wide. Where in the icons folder would I be able to do that?

Make the folder ~/.icons/Human
then make the folder ~/.icons/Human/48x48
then make the folder ~/.icons/Human/48x48/places
Put your PNG file in ~/.icons/Human/48x48/places/ with the name "folder.png".
If it doesn't update immediately press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace

Note: that's only if you're using the default "Human" icon theme. If you're not then then change "Human" to whatever the name of your icon theme is.
You can find this out in "System" >> "Preferences" >> "Appearance"
Click "Customize", then go to the "Icons" tab and note what your icon theme is called.

taurus (taurusxz) said : #5

Hi, Thomas. I went to my Home folder and unhid the hidden folder to reveal the .icon folder. However, I did all that you said and it doesn't work. What do I do now?

If you are sure that you have the correct name for the folder (i.e. "Human"), and you have a file that is a PNG file: ~/.icons/Human/48x48/places/folder.png then make sure that you hit Ctrl-Alt-Backspace, or restart your computer. If you do indeed have the corresponding icon theme selected for your settings as the folder that the file is in then there should be no problem. I'd double check the instructions versus what you did. And I'll try to think of a problem that could be causing this.

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) said : #7


Basically there are two sides to this:
  - application icons come with an application, the easiest way to change them would be to edit their launcher.
  - icons used by applications come with icon packs


  1. right-click on the menu .. choose edit-menus
  2. choose an application
  3. right-click, choose properties from the menu
  4. this will open a window with properties about the menu-option
  5. click on the icon in this window
  6. select a different icon


  1. right-click on a launcher in your panel (like firefox)
  2. choose properties
  3. click on the icon
  4. select a different icon

***** ABOUT ICON PACKS *****

The icons of an icon pack are stored in two different places:
  - icon-packs installed for all users are found /usr/share/icons
  - icon-packs installed for only you are found ~/.icons

You cannot change the files in /usr/share/icons unless you are in root-mode.


  1. open a terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal)
  2. type: gksu nautilus
  3. type your password
  4. now a file browser window will popup where you are in root-mode
  5. be careful about what you do to your files now
  6. go to /usr/share/icons/
  7. find your icons .. they often have them in several sizes
  8. copy your icon over the original one
  9. make sure they are the same size (each size is in its own directory)

Hope the info helps

Bhavani Shankar

taurus (taurusxz) said : #8

Bhavani, thanks for the reply. On the subject, **** USING A DOWNLOADED ICON **** of your last post to me, how do I know my downloaded icon is of the same size as the one in the directory? Also, there are different sizes of icons in the directory denoted by the following folder names, like, 16x16, 22x22, 24x24, and 32x32. In which folder should I copy it over?

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) said : #9

OK Replace the icon required in the 48x48 folder in the human folder


taurus (taurusxz) said : #10

Bhavani, I did what you said, and when I go into any folder, I have to increase the size of all the folders in order to see the folder icon I wanted to put up. That's the only way I can view my icon. But doing so means enlarging the icon and text, and it looks retarded. The old folder icon is still visible, nontheless, when I shrink the folders in size.

Also, I have a custom theme on my computer. You had asked me to replace the icon in the Human folder. I think it should've gone in the Custom folder. I had replaced the folder.png icon in the Places folder. Let me know if this is correct and what changes need to be done in order to get this issue resolved. Thanks,

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) said : #11

I mean its /human/places folder and you have to make sure they are the same size (each size is in its own directory)
so if its small then resizing is the only way or download a png with 48x28 pixels

taurus (taurusxz) said : #12

Bhavani, the icon is not small, it's actually large. How do I resize it to match 48x48? And, how do I make sure it's 48x48?

Also, like I've said to you before in my prior reply, I'm using a custom theme. I'm not using Human theme. So, would I then make this change to the Custom folder?

taurus (taurusxz) said : #13

Ok guys, I actually went ahead and installed an icon theme. I know I've been driving you guys crazy so I hope you all can understand. However, I go just one more question. How can I change icons for .mp3, .doc, .zip,

taurus (taurusxz) said : #14

Ok guys, actually, I got 2 questions for all of you:

1) How can I change icons for .doc, .mp3, .zip.,

2) I recently added a launcher of a program to my panel. The reason is because before the only way to launch the program was to type code in terminal. This was tedious. My question is, how can I add this launcher to the menu? I don't like having this launcher on my panel.

Again, I appreciate your input and all your help.

Answer to question 2: Right-click on the "Applications" menu button at the top left of your screen. Click on "Edit Menus". Window pops up, select the category, click "Add Item". For terminal applications make sure you select "Application in Terminal" when you go to make it's menu item.

taurus (taurusxz) said : #16

Thomas, that worked, thanks! Now, all I need is to get the first question above answered.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) said : #17

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