Using ICL files

Hi guys,

I recently tried to change an icon using an icl file downloaded from [url]Miscellaneous Icons] but for some reason I can't get it to work. I've used it before and it worked fine... it still works fine on my USB version at work although I've not tried it on this machine.

What am I doing wrong...? I browse to the icl file and no icons appear. If I browse to another file i.e. C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe (as suggested here... Replacing icons using 'icl' and 'dll' files), then it works as expected.

Can anyone help me please...?



ICL files are really DLL files (without any program code in them; just with icon resources) and some are saved as 16-bit DLLs (I guess by tools which cared about compatibility with Windows 3.11, or just out of tradition?).

16-bit DLLs cannot be loaded on 64-bit Windows, so 16-bit ICL files won't work on your Win7 64-bit machine even though they worked on your XP 32-bit machine.

If you convert it to a 32-bit ICL file then it should work with both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows/applications. (It does not have to be 64-bit; it just has to not be 16-bit.)

Some icon editors will do this conversion for you. If you don't have a suitable tool, send me the .ICL and I'll convert it using Axialis IconWorkship (which I just checked is able to do the conversion).

Hi Leo,

Thanks for the reply, it all makes sense now.

The icl file in question is the one posted by Steve (Gus.icl) at the link above. This will be a one off request so if you don't mind converting it, that would save me finding/downloading/installing an icon editor.

Perhaps it would be worth adding to the link above as well.

Thanks again


Hi Leo,

Cancel the conversion... I've downloaded the trial version of Axialis IconWorkship and converted it myself. I presume you've purchased this already... is it worth the £££. I'll obviously test it myself over the next few days but your opinion is always worthwhile.



I've updated the version in the thread anyway, for anyone else who grabs it. Sorry I didn't realise you were talking about a file on the forum earlier; wasn't concentrating!

Axialis IconWorkshop is excellent and worth the money, IMO.

IcoFX is another good icon editor which is also free (you can donate it you like it but don't have to). I haven't used it myself, since I discovered it after I already had IconWorkshop, but it looks good from the website.

Something I find really handy with IconWorkshop (not sure if IcoFX has something similar or not) is being able to edit a template file of all the icon sizes (example screenshot) in Photoshop and then import it into an IconWorkshop icon in a single step. (Not sure if that works from anything other than Photoshop, which IconWorkshop can plug into. May not be useful if you don't have Photoshop, but maybe it works from any graphics program so long as it can do alpha channels.)

Thanks Leo. I'll settle for IcoFX for now as it seems to do all that I need to do (and it's free). Perhaps I'll consider upgrading to Axialis IconWorkshop if my requirements demand more. Thanks again.

By the way, I looked into this further and I was wrong about this being a 64-bit issue: It turns out that the code to load icons from 16-bit DLL/ICL files was removed in Windows Vista, including 32-bit versions.

(The icon editors which can load & convert 16-bit ICL files have their own custom code to handle them since they can't rely on the OS anymore. Since those tools can be used to quickly & easily convert the ICL files to the newer format it doesn't seem worth having Opus do the same.)