The windows taskbar ribbon is divided into three sections – the start button section on the left, task bar area in the middle, and the system tray on the far right. These sections are characterized by different icons. The start button is on the far left, while the task bar consists of icons that have been pinned and icons belonging to programs that are running. On the far right is the system tray that houses notification icons like network icons, sound icons and battery meter icons. Of the three, the task bar icons are the easiest to change. The start button and the system tray icons need a different strategy to customize.
System tray icons are embedded in .dll files in the system folder. This makes it harder to customize unlike the program icons. The start button uses a visual style in Windows 10, different from system tray icons. For this reason, the method to change the Windows 10 start button orb is different from the method used to change the system tray icons.
Changing system tray icons
Since system tray icons are embedded in the system .dll files, you will need to read these files, change ownership to allow editing and then change those icons. Here are the locations of the system tray icons .dll files.
- To change the volume icon you must modify the file SndVolSSO.dll found in C:\Windows\system32.
- To change the network icon (both LAN and Wi-Fi) you must modify the file pnidui.dll found in C:\Windows\system32.
- To change the battery icon you must modify the file batmeter.dll found in C:\Windows\system32.
There is one thing to remember though; the system tray icons have several icons that work together for the same purpose. For example, the sound icon has an icon for the lowest volume all the way to the highest volume level. In the same way, there is an icon for the lowest Wi-Fi signal to the best Wi-Fi signal. Error icons are also used to complete all types of signals and notifications. You will therefore need icons to cover all these information that system tray icons offer.
Since it is not easy to change system tray icons, the best way to do it is to use third party applications that can read the icon information and allow you to change those icons. It is a good practice to back up your system or create a restore point before trying to modify your system .dll files. Here is the best way to change your Windows 10 system tray icons.
Change System Tray Icons Using CustomizerGod
CustomizerGod is basically a program you can use to change hundreds of default Windows icons. With CustomizerGod, you can change original system icons with ease, without having to take system file ownerships. The current version of CustomizerGod for Windows 10 supports changing the Start button icon on the taskbar as well as changing various other icons on the taskbar like Task View, Cortana, Touch Keyboard, volume icon, battery icon, network icons and Action Center icons. You can use the application to read and save the icons on a windows operating system and use them on another OS.
- You will need icons that you will use to replace your default system icons with. One of the best places to download new icons would be IconArchive accessible from here. Icon files usually have an .ico extension but you can use PNG, BMP and even JPEG file types and apply the icon.
- Download the CustomizerGod application from here. If you are using the online/web-based installer, be careful. Make sure you uncheck any auxiliary installations otherwise you will install a lot of unnecessary programs on your PC.
- Install and Run CustomizerGod as an administrator (right click on the application executable or shortcut and choose ‘run as administrator’)
- You will see two panels, one on the right and one on the left. The left one shows the categories while the right hand side panel will show the icons in the selected category.
- The first thing you will need to do is take a backup of your system files. If anything goes wrong, you can use the backup to restore your system. To do this, click on the category you want on the left and then on the bottom right corner, click on the hamburger button (button with three lines stacked on top of each other)
- On the section that draws up, click on ‘All files’ (for all categories) or ‘Current files’ (for the current category), under the ‘Retake backup’ section.
- Alternatively, you can make a system restore point (Press Windows + R, type sysdm.cpl and hit enter. Create a system restore point under the ‘System Protection’ tab)
- To copy your icons so that you can use them on another system, select a category, and then click on the hamburger button on the bottom right corner. On the section that draws up, click on ‘Export Resources’ under the ‘items’ section on the far left.
- To change the volume/sound icons, click on the ‘Volume icons’ on the left panel. Take a backup if you haven’t. Click on the icon you want to change (double clicking will give you details). Click on the Change button at the bottom of the window and you will be asked to select the new icon files that you wish to use. Navigate to your icon and select it then click open.
- To change the network icons, click on the ‘Network icons’ on the left panel. Take a backup if you haven’t. Here you will find icons for your Wi-Fi, LAN and Bluetooth. Click on the icon you want to change (double clicking will give you details). Click on the Change button at the bottom of the window and you will be asked to select the new icon files that you wish to use. Navigate to your icon and select it then click open.
- To change the battery icons, click on the ‘Battery’ on the left panel. Take a backup if you haven’t. Click on the battery icon you want to change (double clicking will give you details). Click on the Change button at the bottom of the window and you will be asked to select the new icon files that you wish to use. Navigate to your icon and select it then click open.
- After you apply most of the customization, you will have to restart your Windows explorer for the changes to take effect. To do this from the app, click on the hamburger button on the bottom right corner. On the section that draws up, click on ‘Restart’ under the ‘Explorer’ section. You should now see your changes. Your might have to restart Windows if the changes are not effected
Despite the app being foolproof, it is necessary to take a backup just in case. . In case of any problem you can restore your system files from a restore point or using CustomizerGod under the ‘Restore Backup’ section. This is a freeware application so be careful of the auxiliary applications it might install.