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Desktop icons can be customized

Today’s column isn’t very serious. I think it’s time we have a little fun.To understand what’s being discussed today, you’ll need to know what an icon is. Quite simply, an icon is a small picture on your computer screen that represents a program, file or folder. Icons make it easy to find what you’re looking for; double-clicking on them tells your computer to open a file, folder or program.Just about all PCs out there have the following three icons on their desktops: “My Computer,” “My Documents” and “Recycle Bin.”

Usually, these three icons default to some pretty boring images. What most PC owners don’t know, however, is that they can customize these icons to be whatever they’d like.And you guessed it: Today we’re going to learn how to customize these icons.First things first: You’ll need to find some cool icons on the Web that you’d like to use on your computer. Last week I felt like using some Charlie Brown icons, so I went to http://tinyurl.com/57kt3 and downloaded a set to my computer’s hard drive. (There are also Far Side, Star Trek, Rugrats, Star Wars and Monty Python icons available at this site.)Other Web sites offering tons of icons for free download include: http://www.iconbazaar.com, http://www.iconarchive.com and http://www.zeldman.com/icon.html. Save the icons to a place on your computer that you can find easily. Many people like to save their icons to their “My Documents” folder.

Others, like me, prefer to make an “Icons” folder on their computer and save all their icon downloads there.If you’re unsure as to how to download, save or open your icon files, there are some great (and concise!) step-by-step tutorials located at the bottom of the http://www.iconarchive.com Web site.Now that you’ve downloaded the icon files you’d like to use, head back to your desktop. Right click your mouse and choose Properties. Next, click the Desktop tab. Next, click the Customize Desktop button at the bottom of the window.The top box allows you to choose which icons you’d like to see on your desktop. In the box below, you can select an icon and then click Change Icon, which will allow you to browse to and select one of the new icons you downloaded.



To change icons other than My Computer, My Documents and Recycle Bin, follow these easy steps (provided by IconArchive.com): 1. Right click the icon you want to change. 2. Choose Properties from the menu. 3. In the properties dialog, press the Change Icon button to open the icon selection window. 4. In the icon selection window, press the Browse button. 5. Use the file selection dialog to locate to the folder that contains the icons you downloaded. 6. Choose the .ico file you want to use as a replacement and press Open. 7. Press OK in the icon selection window and on the properties dialog. If you’re interested in actually creating your own icons, I recommend using Cursorart’s IconForge (www.cursorarts.com) if you use a PC and MscapeSoftware’s Iconographer (www.mscape.com/products/index.html) if you use a Mac.Don’t settle for your system’s defaults. Be creative with your icons and have some fun!eRin pheiL is the owner of timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com). Based in Frisco, timeforcake is a creative Web and graphic design firm. eRin can be reached at (970) 668-0709 or e-mail at info@timeforcake.com.


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