How to Extract Icon Files (.ICO) from Windows .EXE and .DLL Files

This short guide will explain how to extract the icons that are stored inside of .exe and .dll files in Windows.

Using the free App GetIcons, you can extract the icon files (.ico) from any Windows program (.exe) or Dynamic Link Library (.dll). GetIcons works in all versions of Windows from XP all the way to Windows 10.

  1. Download GetIcons and extract GetIcons.exe from within the .zip file. It’s a stand-alone application, so just put it to a folder on your hard drive (I put it in C:\Program Files\ and then created a shortcut to it on my desktop). Double-click the program (or the short-cut to it) to start it up.
  2. a File Explorer window with an arrow pointing at geticons.exe

  3. As you’ll see, the interface is quite basic. For this example, we’ll extract an icon from the Windows file explorer.exe – although you can use any .exe or .dll file you wish. To find explorer.exe, start by expanding the menu for your C: drive.
  4. the main GetIcons app window

  5. Expand the Windows menu.
  6. an arrow pointing to the Windows entry in a list of folders

  7. Scroll down a bunch until you see explorer.exe and select it by clicking on it once.
  8. an arrow pointing to explorer.exe from a list of files and folders

  9. In the main panel you’ll be presented with a list of all the icons found inside of explorer.exe.
  10. GetIcons Windows app with icons files ready to extract

  11. Select one of the icons and then click the big Save… button found in the top row of the app. When the ‘Save As’ window appears navigate to the folder you want to save the icon file in, give it a name and click the Save button.
  12. extract and save icons in Windows

  13. And now that icon will be saved as an .ico file. Repeat the above steps to extract and save icons from any of your Windows exe or dll files. That’s it!
  14. File Explorer with an icon file that has been extracted from a Windows exe file

You can use your newly saved icon files with other Windows apps too by changing an app shortcut icon.


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1 thought on “How to Extract Icon Files (.ICO) from Windows .EXE and .DLL Files”

  1. I realize that I’m bumping a topic composed nearly 3 years ago, but this program remains relevant today and is really useful. I just downloaded GetIcons from the link provided above in the article (which is still alive) and used it on a Windows 7 64-bit machine with no problems whatsoever. It a portable program, so just run it from its extracted folder and start extracting icons. I browsed to the .exe for MozBackup and saved it’s icon without trouble. A very handy little piece of software, IMO. Cheers, Ross (original article author), for the find! :)

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