How to extract icons from EXE, DLL, OCX and CPL files

Want to get all the icons stored on your computer? Have you ever wondered where all those icons you see are actually located? Finding high-quality icons on your computer is difficult, mainly because programs store their icons directly in the EXE (executable file) file itself, which indirectly hides those icons from you.

In this article, I will mention several tools that you can use to extract icons from programs already installed on your computer. You can use these programs to save icon files as images or ICO files of various sizes.

IconsExtract

IconsExtract is a free program that can be used to automatically find icons stored in EXE, DLL, OCX, CPL, and other file types. You will be amazed at the actual number of icons stored on your computer after using this program!

The program is a standalone executable and requires no installation at all, which means you can easily run it on any computer! You can also filter your search by icons or cursors, by icon size, and even by color depth.

When you launch the program, you have 2 main search options:

Scan icons in files – For example: C:\Windows\system32\shell32.dll is the default value when the program is loaded.

You can manually enter the file name in the text field or select it in the dialog box by clicking the icon Browse files button You can also select multiple file names using wildcards (? and *).

In addition to files, you can scan a folder by clicking the icon Browse folders button If you check Searching for subfolders check box, all subfolders of the parent folder will also be scanned. For example, if you click Browse Folders, select C:\Program Files (x86)\, and then check the subfolders check box, you can search for icons in all files of all installed programs!

Scan icons in selected processes – This is a nice option that simply lists the currently running processes on your computer and allows you to select one of them to remove the icons.

Once the search is complete, you will find the icons displayed in the main window of the application. You can then save the icons to your ICO files by selecting the ones you want to save and then selecting Save selected icons from File menu.

icons extract search

You can also copy a single icon to the clipboard and paste it into another application by pressing the standard CTRL + C key combination. This will copy the standard 16×16 or 32×32 icon. If you want to copy a different size, double-click the icon, select a specific image in the properties window, and click Copy selected image.

icon sizes

BeCylconGrabber

I don’t know what happened to the funny name, but BeCylconGrabber is a useful little tool for grabbing high-quality icons from program executables. I like this program slightly more than IconsExtract because it has a nicer interface and a cleaner look. I don’t think IconsExtract has been updated since 2010, so it’s been quite a while.

In any case, this program is also portable and does not require installation. Just run the EXE file and you will get the main application window with three tabs on the left and a preview window on the right.

becylcongrabber

Under Directory You can go to an individual file and see icons for that particular DLL or EXE, etc. Let’s say I wanted a nice icon for Google Chrome, I would just go to the chrome.exe file.

extract chrome icons

As you can see, the preview window lists all the different icon sizes stored in this executable. To save an icon, click it and then click the Save button, or simply double-click the icon. You’ll get a customizable save dialog where you can save it as an icon with all different sizes and color depths.

save icons

If you want to save it as an image file, just click on Save as type and change it to BMP or PNG and then select the format. This way you can extract icons from a specific file. Now, if you want to scan all the icons in a particular directory, you click on the Search and then click on New search button

search icon

Select a directory, and then select whether or not to recursively search all subdirectories. The minimum number of characters means the least number of icons a file must have in order for it to appear in search results. The maximum value is set to 10,000, which should really be large enough.

high quality icons

If you don’t click anything to the left, you’ll be shown all the icons for a particular size that it found. You can also click on a specific file in the search results and you will only see those icons from that file. Finally, you can select an icon and then click selected button that will add it to your Favorites tab where you can easily access them without having to search again.

These are pretty much the two best apps that get quality icons from an app file. There are some other programs that work, but they only allow you to extract 16×16 or 32×32, which I find useless.

Now that you have your new icons, you can use them to create a custom icon for your flash drive. If you couldn’t find a good icon on your computer, you can convert your own images into icons and use them! Enjoy!

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