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get back the old desktop icons in Windows 11

Windows 11 has a different outlook from previous versions of Windows. Some users are interested in the new outlook while some others don’t. If you want to get back the old desktop icons in Windows 11, this post from MiniTool Partition Wizard could help.

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Since Microsoft announced Windows 11 on June 24, 2021, a variety of Windows 11 Insider Preview builds has been released and a huge number of users have upgraded their Windows 10 to Windows 11. On October 5, the final version of Windows 11 was released.

If you are using Windows 11, you might have noticed that the user interface and outlook are changed a lot, including the default desktop icons for the preinstalled Windows apps, such as This PC, Recycle Bin, Control Panel, etc. You can have a quick view of the changes through the following picture.

Tip: To learn more about what’s new in Windows 11, you can refer to our previous post: What’s Next for Windows: What’s New in Windows 11?

Windows 10/11 desktop icons

How to Show Desktop Icons in Windows 11

If you don’t see any icons on your desktop, you might have hidden them. To show desktop icons in Windows 11, you just need to right-click your desktop and check the option Show desktop icons.

Show desktop icons

How to Get Back the Old Desktop Icons in Windows 11

Now, let’s see how to get back the old desktop icons in Windows 11. If you don’t like the new design of Windows 11 desktop icons, you can try the following method to change default desktop icons.

An easy way to get back the old desktop icons in Windows 11 is to change the Personalization settings. It is easy to operate and here are the detailed steps.

Step 1: Prepare a USB flash drive and connect it to a computer that installs Windows 10 or an operating system of previous versions.

Step 2: Extract icons from Windows 10 or another operating system using a professional program, such as IconViewer:

  1. Download and install IconViewer on Windows 10.
  2. Press Win + E to open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\System32. Then find the imageres.dll file, right-click it, and select Properties.
  3. In the pop-up window, switch to the Icons tab. Then select the icon you want to use for Windows 11 and choose a size under the Device image section.
  4. Click the Save as icon (floppy disk icon). Then choose a location on your USB drive to save the icon file. Repeat the steps to save all the desired icons.

imageres properties

Step 3: Connect the USB flash drive to your Windows 11 computer. Copy the saved icon files from your USB flash drive to a location on your Windows 11.

Step 4: Press Win + I to open Windows Settings quickly. Then select Personalization in the left pane. In the left pane, choose ThemesDesktop Icon Settings.

Tip: You can also right-click your desktop and select Personalize.

go to Desktop icon settings

Step 5: In the pop-up window, select the icon you want to change and click the Change icon button. On the next page, click the Browse button and select the icon extracted from Windows 10.

click Browse

Step 5: Choose the icon you want to use and click Open. Then click OK.

choose icon

Step 6: Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

save Desktop icon settings

Now, check your desktop and you can use Windows 10 desktop icons on Windows 11.

Windows desktop

Please note that you might lose your icons if you delete the original icon files. When you want to use the default Windows 11 icons from the desktop icons, you can go to the Desktop Icon Settings, select the icon you want to change, and click Restore Default.

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